Creating a teamwork culture that allows every employee to thrive is more important than ever. Modern collaboration tools are ensuring it’s possible, even when employees are apart.
If the past few months have taught the world anything, it’s that people need to come together. When groups decide to work towards a common goal and forgo individualistic thinking – spectacular things can happen. Too much competition and superiority can quickly disrupt the balance.
It’s no accident that teamwork has become such a dominant focus in recent times. Open space offices, co-working spaces, no door policies. Companies have long been pushing to bring people together and remove any barriers to collaboration. Whether these changes had the desired effect is debatable.
One certain thing is that teamwork and collaboration are not always possible in person. Various situations can spring up that require people to work together, apart. Whether that is because of a mass movement to remote work, or because an employee can’t make it into the office – it’s a situation that regularly occurs.
Collaboration Tools for Teamwork
Many digital solutions focus on teamwork. In 2020, thousands of organizations adopted remote collaboration tools for the first time. With the choice between Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others, companies went for a variety of platforms.
Since then, Microsoft Teams has positioned itself as a leader in the field. With over 115 million daily active users, it’s becoming one of the most popular collaboration solutions.
At the same time, there are a lot of choices, and knowing which platform to invest in requires companies to make a few considerations:
What will employees use the platform for?
Some platforms focus on video calls and conferences. Others, like Microsoft Teams, take a more holistic approach.
How will the platform integrate with existing tools?
Teams has become a popular collaboration solution, mainly because so many organizations already used Office 365. Allowing companies to make the most of their Microsoft investment, Teams integrates seamlessly with other applications like Outlook.
For companies not using Office 365 solutions, it might be worth considering what value they could bring.
Where does the collaboration tool fit into the wider digital environment?
It’s time for organizations to think long–term, lots of businesses are making the move to remote work more permanent. While not every organization plans to shut the office just yet, hybrid work or combining remote and in–office presence is growing in popularity.
Teams is a powerful collaboration tool, which can help with managing a remote team and bringing people together. Nevertheless, it’s not a complete solution. For a complete digital workplace, it should be integrated with the company intranet.
Communication tools, like a company intranet, help build a culture
A corporate intranet is for more than just top–down communication. It’s a platform that allows employees to connect to the organization and feel part of something bigger. It allows employees to see, at a glance, what’s going on in the business. It should also help employees find other colleagues and departments – so that when people want to work together, they can.
It’s not enough to choose a collaboration and communication tool and expect teamwork to happen. Fostering a teamwork culture where collaborative efforts are encouraged requires the buy–in of everyone. For management to commit, they need to be convinced of the benefits teamwork brings and understand the barriers that can prevent it.
Importance of a Teamwork Culture
Employees who are actively engaged in the workplace bring invaluable benefits. From higher productivity to improved sales and increased profits, it’s something to strive for. Yet, most employees are not engaged, or worse, they’re actively disengaged. These employees take more sick days on average and have overall worse performance than their counterparts.
Teamwork has a positive impact on engagement. Employees who are part of a team are 2.3 times more likely to consider themselves highly engaged. With highly engaged employees corresponding to four times greater profits, any actions to improve engagement are worth investing in.
Working as part of a team has benefits that stretch beyond profits. Teamwork brings people together to share, interact, bounce ideas, solve problems, and help each other. It can help remove the sense of isolation impacting remote workers. Even employees who come into the office every day can feel lonely working on tasks alone.
Happy employees are productive employees. Achieve this by ensuring their needs are met. Build a company culture where employees feel part of something bigger and connected. A sense of belonging is one of the fundamental needs identified by Maslow. Maslow theorized that every human has needs that must be met to reach their full potential. Psychological needs including belonging, come just after basic needs like food and security. So, teamwork gives people a sense of belonging, satisfies an employee’s need, and helps them reach their full potential.
A teamwork culture correlates with increased productivity. One extensive study from HBR analyzed data from over 4,000 employees and 664 managers. The findings confirmed that a culture of teamwork leads to increased productivity.
At the same time, teams can’t be expected to be productive just by throwing a group of people together. Several barriers prohibit teams from reaching their full potential.
Barriers to Effective Teamwork
Spend 10 minutes watching any team sport and the importance of team goals is immediately clear. Sports teams usually have one goal, to win. Everyone knows what they are working towards and why. It provides motivation and a clear path, win one match, the next, and finally the tournament. In business, it’s the same.
While the ultimate goal might be ‘make a profit’, it’s not SMART. Yes, it’s logical but not Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic, and Timely. It’s not something employees can complete once, celebrate, and move on from.
Teams need to have measurable short-term goals that make working together worthwhile. Ultimately the goal should contribute to making a profit, but money is a weak motivator for most employees.
Likewise, the role of each team member is important. Imagine again a sports team, everyone has their strength, the position they play, and their role in defense. If no one knows where to play, the opponents will have a winning advantage.
In business, everyone should have their role, that plays to their strengths. If everyone does everything, in the end, nothing gets done or a lot of time is wasted.
Not having the Right Tools
Poor communication hinders teamwork. While there are strategies for ensuring effective internal communication they must be supported by the right technology. The most crucial step towards creating a teamwork culture is to provide employees with space where communication and collaboration can happen.
No Teamwork Culture
The number one barrier to teamwork is a company culture that doesn’t support group efforts. In many organizations reward systems are based on individual efforts. Commission, leader-boards, promotions are examples of reward programs that focus on singular achievements.
Encouraging people to work together should be an integral part of company culture. Recognize team endeavors and how employees‘ efforts contribute to the group results.
Providing All the Right Tools for Teamwork
Digital collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams are changing the way people work. By facilitating colleagues to collaborate in real-time, editing documents, sharing files, and more, Teams is revolutionizing the hybrid workplace.
The benefits of teamwork are evident and the barriers surmountable. Once a tool like Teams has been implemented, understanding these basics will be essential. The next step is to ensure the chosen tool can achieve its purpose – bringing people together. Yet, the danger is that once Teams is embraced and used, a lack of control and governance overwhelm the platform and end-users become frustrated.
Before it becomes an issue, get ahead, and control the Teams environment with a tool like Powell Teams. Offering governance, a range of templates, and improved search functionalities, teamwork can happen in an organized space.
Interested in learning more about how collaboration tools can help your organization?
Discover the hybrid workplace and the role of communication and collaboration platforms in keeping employees connected, in a digital world. Catch up on the Powell Software Digital Workplace recorded sessions.