Team culture is vital when you are trying to bring together a group of people to work towards a common goal. We see this often in team sports, where the underdog that plays ’as one’ beats a team of superstars playing as individuals, each with their own agenda. This principle can be applied to business as well – particularly over the past year as employers and staff have had to pull together to ensure they can all weather the storm. So how do we build an exceptional workplace culture in 2021? Read on!
In years past, the physical office has been foundational to establishing a strong workplace culture – it’s an ideal place to have team members connect and learn from each other, build rapport through impromptu chats, and makes it easy to round up the team for morale-boosting huddles. This time last year, many workplaces had given no consideration to remote working, but that changed in a matter of weeks.
For many businesses, 2020 was a scramble to ensure they had the right tools and processes to allow their teams to work remotely. This year, with many employees having the choice to split their time between the office and working remotely, businesses are looking at how they can create a strong company culture while retaining flexibility.
Here are our tips for building an exceptional workplace culture in 2021:
Many managers weren’t confident their teams could stay productive while working remotely, but I think the past year has shown that we can trust our employees. The biggest key to productivity is making sure people are aligned and working towards common goals. This makes it much easier to stay focused on the task at hand – which is true in the physical office too.
With your team members likely to be choosing the style that works best for them, setting and working towards common goals can be the most critical aspect to building a successful team culture and ensuring that, wherever and whenever people are working, they understand the business vision and embrace the desired/mutual outcomes.
In the office, people naturally find ways to connect with colleagues from different departments. This exposes people to other parts of the business and helps them collaborate and gain insights into the operation, in turn, allowing them to become more invested in the business.
Look for ways to encourage this cross-departmental interaction in ways that is beneficial for people working remotely as well as in the office. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be done a number of ways. You could:
- Facilitate a cross-team training session, e.g. finance team trains marketing on financial KPIs
- Create cross-functional teams, e.g. designate a customer service rep to the product team
- Organise internal ‘hackathons’, e.g. combine members from different teams to work on an innovation that will help the business solve a particular problem
Focus on the people
The last year has been a grind for everyone, with most people dealing with some version of pandemic fatigue. It is important to make sure your staff feel supported. Ensuring they avoid burnout is crucial, so encourage them to take time to recharge, even if it’s just a couple of days, and find time during the day to step away from their desk for some exercise.
When trying to keep employees motivated, team leaders should project a ‘glass half-full’ disposition to staff – it’s hard to push forward without being optimistic about where it will take you. One thing I’ve found helpful is to share inspirational stories of others that have overcome huge personal challenges in life – this can shine a light on the steps that the person took to overcome these, but also puts in perspective that others have been in worse situations and survived, giving teams confidence that there is a ‘bright’ light at the end of the tunnel.
Business leaders and managers looking to build high-performing teams should focus on strengthening team culture. While team-building principles may remain unchanged, with many employers and employees opting for hybrid or flexible work patterns this year, leaders should consider how they can apply those in a way that will be effective for their organisation and for the overall health of the business.
Aligning the organisation around common goals, facilitating collaboration to keep staff engaged, and ensuring workers feel supported in their roles – and as people – are key. Every business is unique, but with these principles as your guiding light, you can look to create your own tactics that foster a strong culture and create a superstar team rather than a team of superstars.
Article sourced by Kochie’s Business Builders.