Cultivating Team Spirit: Creating Organisational Success
Whether you are an established large corporate entity, an SME or somewhere in between, effective and collaborative team working is essential within every business. It’s what delivers your client-facing services and what also helps move your business forward, keeping you ahead of the competition.
But Just How Do You Nurture Your Team and Get the Very Best From Them?
With increased demands and our interconnected lives, we may be guilty of placing too much pressure on our teams without even realising, whilst perhaps forgetting to temperature check the spirit within them.
Defining Team Working - ‘to join together to perform a common activity’
Team working can be incredibly complex and finding the right harmony of support can risk either falling short and leaving individuals flailing around in need of guidance or tipping the balance to overkill and venturing into the territory of micro-management; the sure-fire fun sponge to creativity, natural flow and spirit of any team.
What is certain though is the absolute reliance of team working to meet your customer demands and expectations which in turn has a direct impact on your company’s reputation and future success.
Let’s not underestimate the difficulties of team working prior to the pandemic, but with added pressures brought about by remote working and the enhanced risk of reduced connectivity and staffing pressures, now more than ever, teams need added support.
You see, the need to separate the word ‘team’ from the unique individuals who form them is essential when it comes to increasing engagement, productivity, wellbeing and health. This is at the very heart of creating, nurturing and developing the team spirit.
Let’s Look at the Data
In 2017 Deloitte published research which contributed to a review commissioned by the UK Government, exploring the impact of poor mental health and its subsequent cost to the economy – up to £45 billion. It also explored the benefits of employers providing help within the workplace and the return on investment into employee mental wellbeing, with an average of £5 for every £1 spent, and how this was often the catalyst for positive changes in organisational culture.
Equally, the Centre for Mental Health looked at the effects of presenteeism within the workplace. Presenteeism is best defined as:
‘The practice of being present at one’s place for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one’s job or working whilst sick’.
Back in 2019 presenteeism was estimated to cost the UK economy around £15.1 billion every year, with around 80% of British employees still continuing to work when unwell.
Presenteeism is one of the largest threats to productivity within a business and even rivals that of absenteeism. The irony is that most employees will arrive for work when unwell as they don’t want to let their team down, but the reality is that although they are physically present, they are not functioning to their full potential, which can have a direct negative impact on their team.
What Pressures do teams face?
We all know that the demands of a business never stop. The need for increased productivity at ever-increasing levels whilst supporting other team members is a familiar balance. The need to increase speed and output for specific projects can bond teams together, but it can equally tear them apart, especially when those within the team find their own health and wellbeing compromised.
The fundamental element here is sustainability. Expectation has to be married up with realistic sustainability levels, otherwise, you can quickly jeopardise performance, security, growth and the essential element of going to work (aside from salary) - enjoyment.
Aside from the obvious reduction in delivery and decreased drive, the impact on your team can be far wider reaching, weaving its way into their physical and mental health as well as their home life and relationships.
As business owners and leaders, we have a direct responsibility not to ignore the underlying team spirit, which can result in:
- Individuals feeling unappreciated and/or hurt
- Confusion about the work they do and their job
- Individuals craving to be anywhere else
- Individuals hiding who they really are
- Work impacting on home life
As a result, staff retention can become an increasing issue.
According to Ceridian, the average UK employee turnover rate is approximately 15% per year, which equates to around £11,000 per person, but this can be significantly more depending on the level of training required to replace them. Some studies predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee it can cost between six to nine months’ salary on average.
It is equally important to understand that employee turnover is not just financial, it can directly impact the performance of existing teams and each individual within and in some cases can create a domino effect.
So How Can We Turn This Around?
Revitalising team spirit can have profound and far-reaching effects. Imagine building a team so powerful, that no one knows who the boss is. Just imagine how dynamic, productive and collaborative that working environment would be.
In reality, many businesses focus on external factors either waiting for opportunities to present themselves or for risks to recede. Alternatively, some businesses do recognise the need to invest in their teams, but perhaps take a more sporadic approach to investment or invest in process-heavy driven incentives. Others may apportion investment with a focus on leadership roles with various team members being exempt, thus actually limiting the team potential.
Developing Team Spirit
As a seasoned coach and Teamship consultant, I have worked with hugely diverse teams across a wide range of industries, all with different challenges, which have not only held the business back but also the team members within it. Investing directly throughout your whole team is where you can create the biggest impact – it’s all about inclusivity and team spirit.
This is by no means a quick fix or one-hit wonder, it takes time, investment and courage but can manifest some of the biggest opportunities, savings and dynamic organisational changes to a business.
Developing team spirit includes:
- Seeking the truth about how you and your team are really feeling
- Precision when sharing, so that what you say does matter
- Involves everyone as you experiment with ideas and actions
- Repeat to create the courage to learn and grow
- Intimacy will take you from where you are to where you want to be
- Trust the result when words and actions are aligned
Working within a trusted framework and an experienced coach can help transform every aspect of your business.
You see, developing and supporting your team’s spirit has a huge impact, not just to those who work within them, but every single person who comes into to contact with them. It’s never too late to create change within your organisation and develop teams that want to do more than just survive, but one that wants to sustainably thrive.
Interested in learning more about the author? Read more about Tasha Thor-Straten founder of Let's Make Time and Colin Mobey, founder of Colin Mobey Coaching.
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