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Establishing an Incredible Team Culture: Eight Things to Try

Positive team culture has proven to be more effective than individual work contributions at many businesses, and fostering one in your workplace is likely to benefit your company. Determining exactly how to begin establishing the right culture can be challenging, but it’s possible to transform negative workplaces into positive ones. Learn more about developing a team culture and get tips that can help you define and implement a culture that inspires your employees.

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Elements of team culture

Before you can begin to promote a positive team culture, you must have a clear vision of what that term means for your company.

Here are some elements of team culture that you may wish to include in your company’s vision:

  • Customer service excellence
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Sales
  • Empowerment
  • Productivity
  • Accuracy
  • Diversity

To determine which elements are most important for your team culture, start by examining your strategic plan and mission statement. For example, if you measure your organization’s success mainly on customer satisfaction, your team culture should focus on delivering the best possible service at every point of contact. In such a culture, even employees who don’t communicate with customers on a daily basis should always keep customers in mind as they complete their daily tasks.

Positive vs. negative team culture

At companies with a positive team culture, employees share a single vision. They collaborate on tasks, seek feedback and have a genuine desire to see their team succeed. Negative or toxic team cultures can lead to workplace drama and competitiveness. Employees may prefer to go it alone rather than cooperate with their coworkers.

Seriously evaluate the current culture of your company, identifying both its positive and negative aspects. Having a realistic picture of the environment your employees work in is essential when starting to build a culture. You may find that you have a long way to go in terms of fostering the workplace you desire or that only a few minor tweaks are needed to make your vision a reality.

Eight things to try

A strong team culture is vital for any organization, as it ensures that team members are fully invested in the company’s strategic plans and vision. Teams that know they’re part of an organization’s plan toward success are more productive and experience more work satisfaction. This type of attitude helps organizations attain their business goals. Here are eight things to try in order to establish an incredible team culture:

  1. Organize fun activities
  2. Hold weekly team lunches
  3. Cross-train employees
  4. Provide team resources
  5. Promote teamwork
  6. Hire with team culture in mind
  7. Focus on people, not things
  8. Become a model for your team

1. Organize fun activities

Fun and work don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Incorporating games and friendly competitions into the daily routine can energize the workplace. Activities that require employees to work together as a team help build relationships as well. Select activities that tie into your team culture. For example, a customer satisfaction-driven workplace could hold a contest to see which team of employees receives the highest scores on customer service surveys. The winning team can then receive a prize.

2. Hold weekly team lunches

Eating together helps people trust each other more and builds a team mindset, which increases productivity and collaboration in the workplace. Allow employees to work together to determine where to order from or have a potluck where each employee brings something to contribute to the meal. Prepare a few icebreakers to try at the beginning of the team lunches to get everyone relaxed and talking.

3. Cross-train employees

Cross-training not only allows all your employees get to know each other better, but it can also help them understand how all areas of the company function, enabling them to make vital decisions for the overall benefit of the organization. In addition, by giving your employees a chance to learn about their coworkers jobs, they’re more likely to assist each other and work together to overcome challenging tasks and assignments.

4. Provide team resources

Even if a company’s employees are very talented, they might struggle to succeed without the proper resources. For example, there should be at least enough space and a dedicated workplace for each team so employees aren’t working in an overcrowded room where they feel uncomfortable. Also, you should supply your teams with appropriate budgets and the permission to spend them wisely. Otherwise, you might end up paying salaries for employees who aren’t able to complete their tasks and projects.

5. Promote teamwork

If you make teamwork one of the core values of your organization, you can have a workplace where all your employees will be eager and happy to show up every day. However, don’t just talk to your staff about teamwork. Demonstrate your sincere commitment to promoting teamwork by giving them the power to work on their tasks on their own terms.

6. Hire with team culture in mind

Develop interview questions that allow hiring managers and human resource professionals to determine how well candidates fit the team culture. When you consistently hire individuals who already hold attitudes and beliefs similar to your company values, maintaining a positive culture becomes easier over time.

7. Focus on people, not things

Many employers make the mistake of trying to buy team culture. If they want to promote a playful, relaxed atmosphere, they might buy a pool table for the break room, but employees who don’t get along are unlikely to gather together for a friendly game on their breaks. If they’re emphasizing customer satisfaction, they might purchase an expensive customer relationship management (CRM) program, but employees still need to utilize the data it provides to deliver an exceptional experience. Team culture starts with communicating your vision to your employees on a daily basis. You can’t rely on physical things to build the team for you.

8. Become a model for your team

Team culture works from the top down. When the highest-ranking executives demonstrate the company’s values and beliefs, the rest of the management team follows, creating a trickle-down effect that reaches every employee. Keep your vision for team culture in mind in everything you do, striving to model the attitude you wish to see. Make sure that rules are being enforced and that procedures are followed across all departments, and ask every member of the management team to commit to building the right workplace environment.

Team culture FAQs

Here are a answers to some frequently asked questions about team culture:

What is team culture?

Team culture refers to the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors shared by a team. Your company’s specific team culture definition should reflect the characteristics of your business.

Why is team culture important?

The right teamwork culture creates a positive working environment that promotes high morale and employee retention. On the flip side, toxic team culture can drive employees away and lead to low productivity.

What is cultural fit?

If someone is a good cultural fit, their attitude and work-related values and beliefs are in line with the current team culture. The term doesn’t refer to a person’s age, race or gender.

What’s the best way to go about developing team culture?

In general, building a team culture is all about having a group of employees who are focused on a goal or vision that’s bigger than themselves. You can go about it using various methods, including cross-training, organizing weekly fun activities and encouraging leadership.

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