RWA's CEO, Tom Wood, has a favourite quote, originally coined by John C. Maxwell: “teamwork makes the dream work”.
A strong team which works together is essential within any business. The benefits are far reaching and help with:
- Open communication
- Providing support to each other
- Producing ideas
- Varying a team’s skillset
- Achieving business goals through the division of activity
- Maintaining high levels of morale
Teams that do not work well together can lead to:
- Decreased productivity
- Low morale
- Stress and illness in individuals, leading to absence
- A lack of job satisfaction
- A high turnover of staff
- The loss of a common goal with individuals working for their gain rather than that of the business.
At RWA, the importance of ’team’ is always high on the agenda, and all employees are encouraged to play an active part, regardless of their role, department or location.
However, due to the physical distance between our Head Office staff and remote employees, it doesn’t always prove easy to build a team ethos by ‘getting everyone together’. But physical togetherness isn’t always necessary.
For example, we encourage open communication using an intranet forum, which allows any employee to raise any problems or questions to the whole of the organisation, which are then responded to by other members of the team that feel they might have the answer.
While an intranet forum is in no way a new concept, the extent to which they are used varies widely between organisations. At RWA, we also use the intranet to issue good news, sharing successes of individuals and employees. These successes are obviously about the business but also about individual’s accomplishments.
In addition to the intranet, we conduct weekly conference calls and schedule regular meetings, all designed to strengthen the team, build our collective understanding, and continually engage staff. Workloads are shared and discussed; no task is to be considered too menial, irrespective of position.
Employees are also encouraged to pick up the phone and talk to each other, whether that be about work or something else.
Creating an effective team is not all work, work, work. Each Friday, our staff go out for lunch together and spend time away from their desks talking about things other than the work place.
So what type of team do you want to build?
If your team is built of straw due to poor communication, structure and engagement, then it won’t take much to blow it over. Although each member of staff in a poorly built team may be individually capable, the quality of the work and its relevance to the business will be greatly diminished if conducted in isolation. Job satisfaction may suffer due to a lack of engagement and feedback, team disaccord may become apparent, and the slightest curve ball could bring any collective sense of team tumbling down.
However, a team built of bricks will withstand a hurricane. It may take more time and effort to nurture and maintain, but it will be time and effort well spent. Employees who consider themselves to be part of a team will find a sense of purpose and belonging, which will compel them to want to preserve the synergy they’ve established, and ensure that whatever comes their way, they remain standing.