Improve Employee Teamwork

Good teams do not happen by accident.  Teamwork can generate the much needed synergy for organizational productivity and efficiency.  Individuals can contribute significantly to activities, processes and programs established by organizations to generate productivity.  However, a key component to success for organizations is teamwork.  In many cases, a team of employees can achieve better and faster results than individuals.  There are psychometric techniques which include employee ability, preference and knowledge measurement, which can be used to improve employee teamwork.

Ineffective teams are time-wasting ventures that consume multiple resources including staff, equipment and money.  Under-performing teams can drain the resources and motivation of your organization.  Hence, how can your organization improve employee teamwork?  Our organization has studied and researched successful teams.  The concept of a highly effective team is not inaccessible and can be achieved by following proven steps as described below:

Step 1:  Determine the purpose and objectives of the team

Step 2:  Determine the roles and responsibilities of team members

Step 3:  Recruit team members

Step 4:  Understand communication styles

Step 5:  Provide progress meetings and reports

Step 1:  Team Purpose and Objective

Every team should have a purpose.  Many teams fail because there is no well-defined purpose for the team with which it can strategically align its activities.  Your organization can significantly improve teamwork by establishing a team purpose and corresponding objectives for newly created teams.  Measuring the abilities and attitudes of employees in a team can help create more cohesive teams in term of team purpose and objective determination.

Employee teamwork in already existing teams can also be improved.  Team members and other business stakeholders can revisit the purpose of the team, if any team purpose was previously defined.  Determine if this purpose still aligns with the current activities of the team.  The re-evaluation phase can also be used to validate the progress of the team from the perspective of achieving previously specified team goals. 

Step 2: Determine Roles and Responsibilities

Each member of a team should have a defined role and responsibility.  Psychometric trait tests could assist in determining what roles people should be assigned. Depending on the nature of the team or the functional expertise or capabilities needed to achieve the team’s objectives, some team members may have more roles and responsibilities than others. 

No matter the classification of roles and responsibilities, each team member needs to be clear on what their roles and responsibilities are and how each person impacts the success of the team.  However, psychological measurements are essential in better decision-making about teams.

Step 3:  Recruit Team Members

To improve employee teamwork, recruit the right team members.  By selecting the right individuals and departments within the organization, you increase the probability of effective teamwork and desired results.  For example, a marketer in the role of an accountant on the team would decrease team performance.  Using personality assessments can also improve recruitment processes.

As the roles and responsibilities are determined for the team, focused consideration should be given to each individual or group that can effectively deliver the desired business outcomes.

Step 4: Understand Communication Styles

Communicate! Communicate!! Communicate!!! This step cannot be over-emphasized.  Communication is a key component of effective and successful teams.  To achieve a common goal, employees in teams need to understand each other and the various communication styles that can exist in teams.  Even the smallest team can be comprised of individuals who communicate differently.

If a team has a facilitator, this individual is most likely tasked with the additional responsibility of understanding what kind of communication is needed and how to weave in the communication needs of the team with the different communication styles, individual preferences and personality traits of each employee within the team.  Personality traits can also impact communication.

Step 5: Progress Meetings and Reports

Checking-in is a great way to determine the progress of a team.  With well-established purposes and objectives, check points and milestones create a forum within which employees in teams can come together, de-brief, assess and determine the best way to take any needed subsequent actions.

Depending on the organization, various styles for check points can be developed.  Progress meetings are commonly used to gather all team members together.  Status reports may also be distributed to both team members and other stakeholders.

To avoid repetitive and fruitless patterns of ineffective teams, which are depicted by constant displays of chaos, confusion, a lack of trust and poor results, employee teamwork should be improved. Our organization understands the uniqueness of businesses and the various dynamics that can come into play as teams are assigned and organized.  Our use of psychometric assessments can help significantly improve employee teamwork.