How to Increase Team Spirit in the Workplace
Good managers understand the importance of team spirit in the workplace. Promoting a collaborative atmosphere helps to accomplish that goal, as well as ensuring that everyone understands where the company is going and that managers aren't creating hidden agendas. By promoting the development of team spirit and working in groups, you'll create a place where employees enjoy going to work, but also feel continually challenged to achieve excellence.
Be a Humble Leader
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden developed what he called his Pyramid of Success. Building blocks of the pyramid include attributes such as skill, friendship, loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm. Coach Wooden liked to say, "The star of the team is the team." As Success magazine points out, it's important for a group to know that they work with you, not for you. A leader has the responsibility for building the team spirit that puts "we" ahead of "me."
Define Your Strategic Plan
Employees need a road map to know where they're going, which is why it's vital to create a strategic plan that everyone embraces and understands. It's important to actively involve employee work teams in creating action plans and annual goals. Creating a consistent framework makes it less likely that employees will go their own way, which only breeds chaos, and erodes morale.
Get Everyone Involved
Collaborative decision-making is a key element in team building. Research reported by Harvard Business School Online shows diversity leads to better decision-making. By bringing people with different cultural and work backgrounds into the conversation, you enhance creativity and get a new perspective on any task or problem the company faces. By involving everyone, you show employees that you trust them and that you value their opinions. Building employee engagement in this way helps build team spirit. Employees are invested in the success of their ideas.
Promote Work/Life Balance
In an increasingly virtual era, employees expect companies to help balance life and work appropriately. The importance of team spirit in the workplace should not overshadow that balance. Cohesion and morale suffers when employees feel tethered to their computers, or see little relief from unrealistic workloads. Increasingly, companies are offering flexible and part-time schedules and telecommuting – as long as employees get all their work done. Workers who see these values reflected in mission statement are more likely to go beyond an employer's expectations.
Recognize Extra Effort
Whether they admit it or not, employees crave recognition for what they do. How to harness this need is the company's challenge – especially in a tight economy, when conventional pay raises aren't affordable. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) suggests that a public thank you, such as at a staff meeting, or a handwritten note from the CEO are effective team spirit ideas for work and can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated. A gift certificate or compensatory time off cost a company relatively little, but can go a long way toward making an employee feel appreciated.
SHRM suggests that companies earmark funds each year for a meaningful recognition program that fosters the development of team spirit and working in groups. When companies cannot give pay raises, they should consider a reward such as management training. Such training recognizes employee effort and increases engagement by creating a clear path to the future.