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January 19, 2024

Company Culture: How to Build an Effective Team

Building A Strong Company Culture Is Worth The Effort

It’s every manager’s dream to have a team that works like a well-oiled machine. Yet, these dream teams aren’t built overnight. Building an effective team and company culture is like growing a garden. You have to pull some weeds, and water the right flowers for everything to flourish. Most managers agree though, the payoff is well worth it!

Highly engaged teams achieve 21% more profitability than the average team. These teams will also experience a 41% reduced rate of absenteeism and 59% less employee turnover. Over the long haul, this can result in significant growth for the company. Not to mention, everyone wants to work on a team that has a good rapport and can align on workplace values. Being excited to collaborate with your team members each day is great for feeling excited and fulfilled by your work.

Having a positive team culture is critical for organizational success. As a manager, it is your obligation to help build that culture. Based on what we’ve seen in our work, here is a full breakdown of how you create a strong culture and effective team.

Key Elements of a Strong Team Culture

Before you start looking for ways to improve your team’s culture, it’s a good idea to do an audit of how the team is currently performing. Be sure to get individual feedback from your team members as well, since their insight for improving the team culture is a perspective you can’t see for yourself as a leader. Here are some key elements common among high-performing teams:

These characteristics are trademarks of effective teams and strong company cultures, so assess where your team is at, then look at some tactics for improving your team’s effectiveness.

11 Focus Points for Developing High-Performing Teams

Depending on where your team is at now, you can choose to focus on different points for improving culture and effectiveness. Maybe your company just went through a big change in management, and now your team needs more stability in their workloads. Perhaps a busy time of year means they’re expressing that they don’t get enough feedback on their performances. Each team is unique, so as a manager, you have to intuit what’s best for improving culture. As always, you should ask your team what they’d like to focus on too. Here are 11 common focus points you can start improving as a manager:

1. Shared Accountability

Accountability in the workplace helps ensure that everyone is going to comply with their responsibilities and do what they said they were going to do. As a manager, you need to make sure that you are being held accountable by your team, not just the other way around. Accountability also helps ensure people will get support when they need it. By checking in with others on their team, it creates the perfect opportunity to offer or ask for assistance while they are working towards a goal.

2. Effective Leadership

This means that managers and supervisors should be doing their best to be effective leaders, but it also means developing leadership skills in every member of your team. Coaching and developing team members to be effective leaders has a steep ROI. One related study found that investing free training by itself resulted in a 22% increase on productivity. When this training was combined with coaching, that percentage rose to 88%.

3. Clear Roles and Responsibilities

As the saying goes, “when you confuse, you lose.” When your team does not have clarity on their roles and responsibilities, it can result in a lot of wasted time, and not a lot of progress. Teams that are clear on their responsibilities, however, know exactly what they need to get done each day. They are able to be more innovative problem solvers, because they have a clear goal they are working towards. For this reason, managers will do well to consistently communicate with their team members what their responsibilities are (and what they are not), as well as reviewing job descriptions during feedback sessions. If your team works remotely, this point is especially recommended.

4. Regular Feedback

Feedback is an essential part of every healthy company culture. If you’re looking to increase the effectiveness of your team rapidly, increase the frequency of giving feedback. 43% of the most highly engaged employees are shown to get feedback at least once a week. Nearly 100% of employees have been shown to disengage from their work when they aren’t given any feedback at all. As a manager, be sure you’re asking for feedback from your team on your performance as well.

5. Collaboration

Collaboration is a key aspect of company culture that helps keep engagement high. When employees collaborate well together, they are able to reach new levels of innovation and problem-solving. Teams that collaborate well together also have an understanding of different working styles. Strong collaborators are able to work off of each other’s strengths and mitigate each other’s weaknesses.

6. Adaptability

Hiring adaptable team members or highlighting the value of adaptability with your existing team can be effective on many fronts. Being willing and able to change behavior in order to fit what’s needed is essential for teams that want to grow. Some companies and industries are subject to frequent change, but adaptable team members are able to adjust their approach in order to fit what’s needed in the current moment. Part of being adaptable in the workplace means you can easily absorb the suggestions and ideas of other people. Set an example of adaptability by taking the suggestions of your team and coworkers.

7. Shared Values and Norms

Although your team will likely have different backgrounds and individual values, that doesn’t mean that you can’t establish some values together. Co-creating some ground rules and identifying values for working together can be a great exercise that will build trust within your team. Try to do an exercise like this annually, so the team can establish standards for working together effectively.

8. Recognition and Appreciation

Validating the contributions of your team members is a great practice managers use to improve company culture. Simple practices like thanking people for their work, calling out wins in team meetings, and noticing extra effort will improve company morale. Some managers even establish a peer recognition program where employees can nominate each other for work well done. This practice can be used to help people feel validated in their work and create a stronger connection between team members.

9. Continuous Learning

Continuous learning helps keep your employees engaged and can foster a greater sense of fulfillment and interest in their jobs. Investing in developing your team members’ skills shows you value their growth and want to help them reach their full potential. Support continuous learning by bringing in workplace training programs, sending employees to conferences, hosting skills-building workshops, and providing budgets for online courses or certifications. As a manager, set an example of a growth mindset by being teachable yourself and always learning. This can help set the tone for continued curiosity and refinement in skills.

10. Conflict Resolution

Even in the most effective teams, disagreements are inevitable. Teams who have strong conflict resolution approaches are able to use disagreements as learning opportunities, and walk away with stronger cultures. Providing training on conflict resolution means that your team members will likely be able to handle resolutions without involving you at all. Foster open communication, so conflicts surface early before escalating.

11. Balanced Workload

Your team’s effectiveness and company culture will deteriorate if their workloads aren’t proportional to their bandwidth. Keeping a balanced and realistic workload will help prevent burnout. As a manager, you should watch for signs of burnout from an imbalanced workload. Fatigue, irritability, and a decrease in productivity may all be signs that your employee has been given more than they can handle. To help combat this, you can cross train your employees to handle different tasks. This way, no one will feel the pressure to remain at work because no one else can do their job. You should also evaluate tasks consistently, so they fit the employee they’re assigned too, without causing too much mental stress.

All in all, building a positive team culture will be critical for the success of your organization and the satisfaction of your employees. You will look forward to coming into work each day when the culture is strong and your team works effectively together. If you’re committed to building a strong team and culture, don’t just wing it. Check out our course that walks you through building a strong workplace culture.

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