Do a quick survey of recruitment ads, and you’ll notice that almost all of them have one criterion in common. And that is: ‘...must be a team player.’ Teamwork skills are critical in the workplace and have become even more important after the lockdowns when working in isolation became the default mode. There is no single answer to how to improve teamwork in the workplace, so organisations need to try a variety of approaches and figure out what works. In this article, we will suggest some ways to enhance teamwork in your organisation.

When you start planning teamwork-promoting activities, your prime focus should be on your employees. Ask yourself: how will this benefit them? Do they really want this? Will it make them happy? Take feedback from your employees because they are your best source of ideas. In addition, check out these ideas for improving teamwork at your workplace.

Recognise examples of teamwork and team spirit

Any behaviour that is reinforced by praise or rewards gets repeated. If you want your employees to display more cohesiveness and closeness in teamwork, reward them. Create a system that automatically identifies and recognises positive behaviours – especially with regard to situations that call for robust and spirited collaboration and team spirit. This helps motivate people to a point where teamwork skills come naturally, without the inducement of a reward.

To start with, however, you need to give out rewards that are of value to your employees. The gifts themselves don't have to be expensive. Things like e-vouchers, coupons, paid holiday time, or recognising them in front of their peers can work well.

Need any ideas to improve team morale in the hybrid workplace? Check out this 3-minute read blog.

Encourage your people to work together

If your team includes members who have never collaborated, or who often work in isolation, it’s your job to bring them together. The more different their working or personality styles, the better. Assign these individuals to tasks that require a high level of teamwork, and then let them reconcile their different approaches for the common good of the team and company.

To improve teamwork, stop micro-managing

Once you have assigned people to teams, don’t micromanage them. Micromanaging affects your employees’ self-confidence and can also hamper their work quality. It also results in employees getting used to waiting for orders from you before taking any action. This detracts from their autonomy and decision-making abilities.

So give your team the space to explore various options, set their own timelines, and sort through their own obstacles.

Use relevant team-building activities

Bring employees together through shared areas of interest. These could be social causes they are passionate about or sporting events that they follow. Research has shown that when people work together to achieve the same goal, there is an increase in cohesiveness and team spirit. Casual lunch outings with fellow workers (with no work agenda involved) work equally well. Friendships formed during these outings often continue into their work. If you’re looking for some inspiration for fun activities for your employees, click here.

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Invest in the best collaboration resources

Invest in resources that help your employees collaborate with each other. Most organisations today use tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace to delegate, communicate, and collaborate. This takes away the need for lengthy meetings, phone calls, or email blitzes which often leave everyone feeling exhausted even before the actual work has begun. The ideal collaboration tool should contain all the required documents and information in one place. This also includes project management tools and resources to upskill oneself.

Embrace conflict to improve teamwork

It is important for managers to realise that conflicts are inevitable. Instead of sweeping such differences under the carpet or adopting an “it will get better with time” approach, encourage employees to speak up about their differences. Let them know that it’s all right to disagree as long as people can be respectful and keep the team’s good in mind.

You can set a good example as a leader by embracing conflict, listening to all parties, staying neutral, and offering resources that help them figure things out themselves. Make sure you step in early so that the conflict is controlled before it disrupts relationships or workplace culture. If needed, you can bring in a professional psychologist for conflict resolution or improve workplace communication.

Can you tell whether a colleague is struggling with a mental health issue? Click here to read about the signs of mental illness in the workplace.

This article was written to give you an idea of how to improve teamwork in the workplace. We sincerely hope this helps you develop a culture of growth and collaboration for your employees. For more such content on how to improve teamwork, keep reading the Manah Wellness blog.