How To Create the Perfect Team
By focusing on just 3 important changes!
If you look through our many positive reviews left by our amazing guests, you'll see that one of the aspects they comment on is our crew! How helpful, positive and cohesive the team is onboard! When working (and living) in tight quarters, it's important to create a team that can not just 'function together' but can THRIVE! So we thought we'd throw together some of the best ways to improve teamwork and workplace morale!
Creating the perfect team at work can sometimes seem like an impossible mission. It seems that between the personalities of each employee and the increasing workloads that the dynamics within a 'team' are just too complicated to 'perfect'.
But let's step back for just a moment and define what these terms actually mean. What is 'perfect'? What is a 'team'? And what, specifically, is the 'perfect team'? If we consulted Webster, we'd get the following definitions:
- Perfect (adjective) means to have all the required or desirable elements, qualities or characteristics; as good as it can possibly be.
- Perfect (verb) means to make something completely free from faults/defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.
- Team (noun) means a group of people, two or more, working together.
- Team (verb) means to come together, matching and coordinating, to achieve a common goal.
To use the words as an adjective and a noun creates a phrase that could actually be an impossible goal. There are too many factors to control to achieve and maintain the status of a 'perfect team'. There are too many factors that change within the day, week, month, year. You have employees coming into work stressed from a busy morning with the kids, you have employees working hard all morning and crashing in the afternoon, you have employees too sick to come into work or those who should have stayed home but are dedicated to coming into the office anyways. Then you have the over-achievers and the under-achievers and those who follow the leader. You have hot-headed employees and others who are quiet and don't speak up at all. Then there are slower days for the workload where it seems pointless to have everyone working and days where you just don't have enough people and hours to get the work done on time!
A work environment is just so dynamic! There is always SO much going on!
What if we changed the way we defined the 'perfect team'? Instead of it being a destination - a final end goal - it becomes a journey or a working goal. If we defined the 'perfect team' as a verb in both words individually and paired as a phrase, then we always have something to work towards, no matter what the dynamic or challenge is within the workplace. The working goal, the journey, of having the 'perfect team' gives the workplace direction, purpose, and responsibility - both individually and wholly - to the employees, supervisors, and work environment.
So how can you actively work towards a 'perfect team'? By focusing on three core aspects and creating a workplace that strives not for perfection (which is an impossible notion), but for progress towards perfection.
Consider the physical environment in which your employees work. Beyond addressing the 'traditional' safety aspects of the environment, consider aspects that will create a more comfortable space for your employees so that it doesn't feel so institutionalized. This can easily be addressed by adding some comfy chairs in the staff room, motivational posters in different areas of the office or changing the colours of the wall to encourage a peaceful yet inspiring atmosphere. Read this great article about how colour affects the workplace and which colours to choose based on the atmosphere you want to create! Remember that you don't have to choose just one colour. You can create different energy in different areas of your work environments to evoke different moods depending on the use of the space! Or, choose one colour for the walls and add accents in the form of furniture and decorations to bring subtle energy tones to that space! This is just the visual aspect of your space - think also about incorporating more natural elements into that space. Try some indoor plants, rock gardens, water fountains and consider the location of windows to allow fresh air and natural light into the space. Studies are showing that environments with more natural elements invoke creativity, peacefulness, and encourage focus - all factors in producing a happy and productive team!
If it's in the budget or space allows for it, also consider the placement, and more specifically, the removal of walls in the space. Studies have shown that when a person is placed in a room that is physically confined, their imagination, creativity, and productivity are substantially restricted. Meanwhile, those working in a space that is not physically limited by tight walls or low ceilings performed better on tasks requiring imagination, creativity, and focus! If it's already an outdoor environment, consider how the varying natural elements may actually be hindering productivity and happiness if your employees are not well equipped (too cold, too hot, too windy, too sunny, too much rain, not enough water to drink, not properly clothed against the weather).
The pool of employees available for the workforce is changing. Their attitude towards work is different and evolving from prior generations, their desires for impact are stronger, and the newer workforce values an organization which promotes flexibility, commitments to health & well-being and has a strong purpose. The workforce today doesn't want to be a number in a line-up or a face in a crowd. They don't want to trade time for money. They want to share skills and values to create change and impact. They don't want to just collect a paycheque, they want to make a difference. Regardless of the industry. It would be silly to think that these statements are inaccurate.
As the younger generations move more into the workforce and the boomers begin to retire, massive change is happening in the workforce and companies need to keep up. They need to change with the times and 'modernize' the culture in the workplace. Striving towards the perfect team means being able to adapt to the changing expectations of employees.
It's a two-way street. If you invest in the social structure of your company, your employees will invest their skills, times and values back into the company. Having a culture within the workplace that positively promotes, engages and fosters employees to be better, to do better and to want better will be reciprocated back to the company in work performance and employee loyalty.
Consider introducing small aspects into the regular routine to encourage a more positive and productive environment. The purpose of these is to create a sense of community in the workplace, encourage teamwork and cooperation, and heighten morale. There are always aspects of every industry that are going to be unpleasant and stressful, but your goal as an employer is to make the day-to-day experiences enjoyable, fun and relaxed. A place where employees feel at ease and look forward to coming in. Some easy and inexpensive options are:
employee character of the month recognition
recognizing that sometimes an employee's personal life does need to come before their professional
encouraging small pot lucks or group get-togethers on a regular basis
providing progress reports on the company's efforts in different aspects (financial goals, values, mission, environmental goals)
hosting donation drives to charities
office 'dress down days'
and avoiding micro-management techniques
Wow! This next piece of information is sure to surprise you! In 2019, LinkedIn provided a Workplace Learning Report, in which 94% of the employees who had quit their jobs did so because the company did not invest in helping them learn and grow!
This is a BIG deal! Don't stress the company with staff turnover trying to find an already skilled candidate. Find a candidate who is capable of learning the skills necessary and then TEACH them! Shape that candidate and your current employees into the ideal candidate with the necessary skills to perform the tasks efficiently! This shows your employees that you are making a long term commitment to them, that you value their work and their commitment to the company. Your company will, in turn, be rewarded with more accurate work, a longer-term commitment to the company from employees, and stronger efficiency. How can you do this? Have a look at these suggestions and think about how you can incorporate them into your workplace culture.
provide an opportunity for job-specific and relevant-skill training either by having a training program in place for all employees or providing time off for employees to engage in development courses, programs, seminars and workshops
encourage and provide opportunities for personal growth and development - these opportunities do not have to be task-specific to the job but could be related to personal and soft skills that, with intentional development, could benefit the company (such as communication skills, abstract thinking, team building)
offer team (as opposed to individual) performance goals and bonuses
host events that include the employees' families to create a sense of community
Personal Health Resources
Their last note of importance is that unhealthy and stressful workplaces cost Canadian employers billions of dollars annually. Workplace interventions can make significant improvements and save at least 20% of these costs!
Good health is comprised of so many factors, many that are not controllable in the workplace. However, a 'healthy' workplace will at the very least promote good health and encourage healthy lifestyles. Healthy lifestyles in and outside of the workplace that focus on physical, social, emotional and psychological health can make the difference between employees' work performance.
Find ways to incorporate healthy habits in the workplace. For example, when ordering food for the office, offer foods that are loaded with nutrients and low in oils, sugars and salts. Good nutrition will keep your employees energized and alert. Encourage mental and physical breaks from concentration to stretch, especially if their position requires sitting for long periods of time, and refresh their mind. Provide opportunities for your team to engage in physical activities together (perhaps sponsoring a charity walk or hosting an office exercise challenge). If the duties of the job already require a lot of physical exertion, try incorporating some team stretching before, during and after the day to warm up and cool down the muscles.
If your work environment is dangerous or abnormally stressful, think about providing external resources to your employees to learn acceptable and healthy coping mechanisms or bring in experts to host workshops and seminars when the workflow is low to learn as a group. And remember that a healthy environment also means an appropriate balance between work commitments and personal commitments, so recognizing the need for some flexibility is important as well.
You must be thinking: "wow, there's no way I could afford to do all of that, nor do I have the time to create and implement all of that!". You don't have to do it all at once. Take little steps to begin making changes in the workplace. Get your employees involved in the process (delegate) so that they have some control and flexibility in the process. Find the changes that work for your environment and begin! Invest in your company by investing in your employees and you will be working towards creating that previously elusive concept of a 'perfect team'!