Team Dynamics and Fostering a Healthy Environment for Teamwork
When your team dynamic works well, your company can achieve amazing things! But, getting the perfect team together and keeping their dynamic healthy and productive can be extremely challenging. Having a safe and healthy workplace is something every organization and company should be striving for. It’s arguably one of the most important elements in motivating and engaging employees.
Happy Employees Make for a Better Business
We’re not just talking about having a better day-to-day work life. We’re talking about the bottom line. “I believe employee happiness directly affects the bottom line,” says HR Practitioner Molly Bruner. “If employees are disengaged, don’t buy into the mission of the company, dislike their jobs, then their dedication and motivation decreases, their effort tapers off and they are less likely to put forth high levels of skill and interest into whatever their line of work may be. Decreased levels of effort lead to a decreased quality in their products, which leads to a decrease in customer satisfaction, which decreases the bottom line.”
Plus, happy and engaged employees are less likely to want to quit. Needing to regularly hire new employees, and training them, is much more expensive than keeping an employee long-term.
So, how exactly can you make an environment where team members are productive, happy, encouraged and accepted?
Begin with Hiring the Right Team Member
Take your time to hire not only the most qualified person for the job, but also someone who will complement your established teams. This sort of attention to detail and care in the hiring process can make a big difference in the candidate, employee, and team experience.
When we work together in teams everyone brings something different to the table. Teams that work well together know each others working style, communication style, strengths, and weaknesses. All of this should be kept in mind when adding a new person to the team. If you can find someone who meshes well with their personality and fills a needed gap in the team you’ll be much more successful overall.
Thoroughly Onboard Your Team
The on-boarding process should really start before the new employee is hired if you want to have successful employee engagement. Reaching out to potential candidates, showing interest in them as a person, and allowing them to see unique parts of the company throughout the hiring process helps get you set up for success.
When it’s time for the actual on-boarding process, make sure that it’s exciting, unique, organized and simple to start off their experience working with your company on the right foot.
Starting strong with each and every new hire helps you build a strong, positive company culture. Molly says “the more that you are engaging with employees from the beginning, ideally, that will spread throughout and impact other employees across the company.”
Depend on Leaders to Guide Team Dynamics
Strong leaders make for successful teams. Your leaders should be able to set clear expectations for their teams and be ready to provide support and resources as needed. But beyond the day to day activities of supporting their teams, leaders greatly influence their team dynamic. “There are a few key elements that are essential to creating a well functioning team: leadership, trust, and balance,” says HR Practitioner Jake Dufour. “Strong leadership will ensure members stay focused on goals and provide accountability. Trust among members allows for open communication, identification of problems and a safe space to foster innovative ideas. Balance is essential for everyone to have equal parts to play, and that team members’ talents are well distributed.”
Really great leaders know their team members strengths and weaknesses and utilize them to produce their best work. They do this while fostering positive communication between their team members and making sure that they are working together successfully. Leaders also need to be able to problem-solve and be able to identify potential issues in the team to head them off before it becomes a big problem.
Integrate New Employees with Their Team
Starting a new job is stressful for most people, and a changing team dynamic can cause some upset with your existing employees. We recommend that whenever you hire new team members to take the time to integrate them with the team from the very beginning. “There are a number of different assessments that companies can use to help with ensuring that teams are built strongly,” HR Practitioner Chris Freeman says. “The DISC Assessment and Meyers Briggs personality tests are great examples. As well, ensuring that you are hiring based on culture fit plays a big role in building a strong team.”
HR Practitioner Ashley Sorrells recommends for hiring managers or team leaders to set up one-on-one time with the new employee and each team member. “Send them to lunch, or to get a cup of coffee. Having that one-on-one time helps to develop a more meaningful relationship as people that will transfer over to the team dynamic.”
Make the Team Happy with Team Building Activities
The best team building activities are the ones that allow your team members to get to know one another outside of work. Anything from team lunches to happy hours (depending on company policies) can help to break the ice and allow teams to bond over something that isn’t related to their jobs.
Jake advises that employers don’t try the trust game, where you fall back and others have to catch you, as a team-building exercise. “You are essentially forcing people to 1) be uncomfortable, 2) be touched by everyone and 3) invite worker’s compensation claims - all of which are not condoned by Human Resources,” Jake says. “It’s important that team leaders have the emotional intelligence to assign activities that will benefit their unique teams. If an activity feels forced or inauthentic, it can undermine the entire purpose.”
If you’re hiring more than one new employee at once, it can help to create a new employee cohort. They can connect with each other while they’re experiencing the same new job experiences at the same time. We find that this encourages positive, lasting relationships and a better start to an employees life cycle.
Keep Up the Momentum with your Company Culture
Having a workforce of engaged, happy employees won’t happen if you just make their on-boarding process awesome. Molly says “it's important to maintain healthy relationships amongst team members so they can continue to be successful and productive together.” Lasting employee engagement needs to be an ongoing value in your workplace.
Building a culture of employees that eat lunch together, or grab a coffee together before work helps to maintain those positive relationships without feeling forced. Creating a sports team is another great way to have an ongoing team relationship in a positive environment outside of the workplace. This can increase teamwork outside the office that can benefit inside the office!
Creating great teams and establishing a healthy team dynamic is a must for all businesses. We know it can be a hassle to recruit and onboard the best candidates. Our team of HR Practitioners is well versed in recruitment and team dynamics which is why our clients trust us to help them hire the best employees for the job. Contact us today to set up a consultation to find out how HR can boost your business!