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Teaming with Spooks and Goblins

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As we enter the final months of the year, there are any number of opportunities to impact culture through activities and events for your office team.  And why is that so important?  Several reasons:

  • When your employees see themselves as members of a team, they not only can feel appreciated, it also affects feelings of self-worth, happiness, sense of achievement and learning.
  • When your employees participate in teamwork activities, they become better acquainted, they learn things about each other they hadn’t known, they interact and communicate. These things carry over to their relationships at work with significant benefit to their attitudes and work output.
  • Healthy teams mean engaged employees, who then exist in a dynamic, vibrant workplace culture. That in turn leads to more efficient workflow. Engaged employees also take ownership of not just their own efforts, but bring ideas of ways to improve the workplace in general.  Healthy teams lead to innovation.

Enabling Teamwork

Teamwork doesn’t happen by itself or because you call your employees a team.  It must become part of the culture.  Once that happens, workplaces become not just more fun, but more productive.

Here are five ways to create a culture of teamwork.

  1. Carve a pumpkin.

We took about 30 minutes of our staff meeting recently to carve pumpkins.  It was a simple, fun task that no one was expecting.  We didn’t work as teams on the project, although that would be fine.  But we did engage with each other as each produced their own idea.  And despite the fact that everyone jumped on Pinterest to find a clever design idea, each pumpkin reflected the personality of its creator.  We talked, laughed and praised each other’s work – a fun way to build camaraderie and culture.

  1. Work out loud.

When everyone is organized and fully focused on their computer, encourage your folks to find quick ways to let those around them know what they’ve discovered or what problems they may be dealing with.  That’s just one way to work out loud. Working out loud also means communicating with our voices versus our fingers.  Speaking live is best.  Speaking by phone is also a great alternative to emails.

  1. Paint your nails and hit a ball

There are plenty of places that cater to corporate team building events.  But you don’t need to spend a lot of money on team building. Create events or field trips that bring your team together to experience something interesting or fun.  It could be an afternoon at the spa, a golf game or a trip to the state fair.  Getting to enjoy time together outside the office can be a nice reward for team performance or a good way for your people to get to know each other better.

  1. Shoot for the moon

Teamwork is best realized when everyone is working toward a common goal AND when everyone knows the importance of their own contribution to that goal.  Encourage your employees to compete against a performance initiative or deliverable versus competing against each other.  “Let’s beat last year’s numbers” is a much better team-oriented rallying cry than, “Let’s see who among you will be the first to improve your numbers.”

  1. Ring the bell

Show appreciation along the way, especially if the goal is weeks or months away.  Make the small milestones important, so people don’t lose sight of what their teamwork is to ultimately deliver.  Say Thank You often.  Recognize success.  We put a bell in the public area where our team works.  Individuals ring the bell when a milestone has been reached, but everyone celebrates the success and we take a team photo to remember it.

There are many ways to build and encourage a culture of teamwork.  These are just a few.  But remember, a culture of teamwork is necessary to keeping employees engaged and loyal.  It also builds your reputation as a really great place to work.