What Are Different Types of Teams in Business?

Teams within a business are groups of employees all operating under a shared designation or for a shared goal. Teams can be formed in a variety of structures depending on the needs of the business.


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An overview of different team structures

When establishing teams at your company, you have many options for creating groups of employees depending on your needs. Each type of team has strengths that make it ideally suited in different circumstances. Popular team choices include:


  • Functional teams: The most common type of team at a company are functional teams, which consist of staff members who operate within the same department. This grouping makes it easy to dispense any relevant information to the department. Members of the functional team may work together closely or may work largely as individuals with the team grouping existing mainly just for communication purposes.
  • Cross-functional: In a cross-functional team, employees from multiple departments are grouped together, usually due to working on a shared goal or project, such as members of human resources, management and sales all being grouped together to work on hiring a new sales-person. While individual roles for team members will often be very different, co-operation is often high due to the common project that all members are working on.
  • Matrix teams: In this structure, employees on the team have more than one boss on the project, with the different bosses each overseeing different aspects of the work being done. This allows for each boss to focus on the area of their expertise, however, it is important that employees are given clear instructions on a chain of command in order to understand which boss they should report to for the different aspects of their work.
  • Contract teams: When working with outside contractors, a contract team may be formed. This creates a temporary chain of communication for the duration of the project, which can then be simply disbanded when the contract is up and the work is completed.
  • Remote teams: Modern businesses are turning to technology for more and more tasks, and remote teams are another excellent use of modern options. With a remote team, members can be stationed in different buildings or even different countries, with online resources used for team communication and collaboration.
  • Self-managed teams: A self-managed team consists of workers operating without an assigned boss. This reduces the required administrative work, and relies on having trained and reliable workers who can maintain targets and production without close oversight from a higher-ranking staff member. 

It is likely that your business will be best served by making use of a mixture of team types. In addition to utilizing multiple team structures, you can assign the same employee to multiple teams should the need arise. When effectively utilized teams help all members of the staff to perform at their best and increase a company’s overall productivity levels.

Related: Team-Building Tips and Activities


What is a team?

There is no strict definition for what constitutes a business team, and the way one business creates teams and assigns staff to them at one business may vary greatly from the way another business does so. Some businesses may not classify these collections of staff as teams, preferring an alternative label such as groups, units or similar titles. However, the functionality of the groupings remains the same in each case.


The primary distinction for a team at a business is that it is a grouping of multiple employees, usually as a result of shared job titles or a common project or assignment. Teams are used to make communication within a company easier as the teams create natural groups for communication and cooperation within the business.

Related: How to Motivate Your Employees


Team type FAQs

If you still have uncertainty about the use of different team types in the office, here are answers to three of the most common questions.


How do you choose the right team types for your employees?

When selecting teams for your employees it is most important to be flexible and respond to the individual skills and needs of your staff. The more familiar you are with the strengths and weaknesses of your staff, their preferred working environments and the professional relationships they share, the better situated you are to make informed decisions when creating work teams. 


For functional teams, this is useful in determining how a team is managed, while with other team types where you are picking members from throughout your staff, it can help you to choose employees who will work cohesively together.


What is the importance of using multiple business team types?

The goal of assigning employees to teams is to make the work being done more efficient and raise overall productivity. By using multiple team types when assigning staff you improve your ability to customize each employee’s workday to match their skills and the work you need to be done. The more closely you match assignments to the staff’s abilities the better results you’ll get, so taking advantage of multiple team types raises your company’s overall effectiveness.


How can you get the most productivity out of employee teams?

Assigning employees to teams is an effective way to get the most out of your staff. When coworkers are placed on a team together it becomes easier to facilitate communication between the team and coordinate actions. This results in a more cohesive working environment and more productive performances from staff.


Teams also provide the opportunity to maximize each employee’s effectiveness by placing them on teams where their talents are well-suited to the tasks assigned, and where senior officials on the team are capable of providing effective guidance and mentorship. This helps your staff members to develop their skills and positions them for advancement which is beneficial both to their own careers and to the company’s overall performance.


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