Building a Team Culture (With Steps and Tips)
Having a strong team culture within a company is the glue that holds everything together as you drive your business forward. As a business owner, you probably already recognise that a great team culture goes a long way toward a company’s success, but know that building a team culture is not a straightforward task.
Why is team culture important? What does a healthy team culture look like? What steps do you need to follow to instil a healthy company culture to create successful teams?
We’ll explore these questions and more in this guide to building a positive team culture.
Why is a strong team culture important?
You can find plenty of platitudes extolling the virtues of having a great team culture in your workplace. The long and short of it is that you want to establish a company culture that encourages collaboration and development. This is because an effective team culture celebrates teamwork, knowing that the team is greater than the sum of its parts.
Ultimately, this benefits both company and employees. If the whole team is willing to share ideas with each other and cooperate, the entire team benefits from this exploration of different perspectives and the sharing of skills and experiences.
Team leaders who create positive team cultures tend to see happier employees who, by extension, view the company with high regard in a positive feedback loop.
A winning team culture doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and effort to instil positive team values. But, if you can get all team members invested in shared values toward a common compelling purpose – the objectives and goals of your company – then you will be well on your way to a successful organisation.
What Does a Great Team Culture Look Like?
If you have ever experienced a toxic workplace culture, you can immediately tell the difference when you join a company with a good team culture.
Picture this: you join a team where team members are supportive of each other’s efforts, offering constructive feedback in a collaborative spirit. There is a mutual trust between leaders and employees since the team culture is based on strong bonds – leaders have made an effort to build relationships on a personal level so employees feel heard and seen. Work hours are not too long – employees work with realistic expectations, and everyone is on the same page.
Different departments are aware of each team’s workload, and the broader goals are communicated in team meetings so that everybody can feel connected to the company’s success. The focus of the whole group is on moving forward toward goal achievement.
You can share honest feedback with your employers since this is considered a two-way street.
Sound good? This is an example of what an effective team culture looks like. But, how can you develop this kind of picture in your organisation? Let’s go through some basic steps:
Steps to Building a Team Culture
Start with these steps in your team to see if you can improve team culture in your workplace.
1. Create and communicate a vision to your team
Employees are more likely to contribute to something they believe in. You’ll find that if you take the time to create a vision, complete with specific goals and objectives, and take the time to outline this for employees, they will be more likely to actively work towards it.
A job is more fulfilling if there’s meaning attached – nobody likes to turn up to work without any focus or drive, so take the time to get your employees on board as employee engagement is one of the main drivers of successful companies.
2. Meet regularly
You can’t build relationships if you don’t meet regularly. Build a strong team by regularly discussing direction, problem-solving together, and sharing feedback. However, building a team culture isn’t just about the work – also make time to meet socially where the focus is more on the fun than the workflow fundamentals. Strong relationships are founded upon time spent together.
3. Be transparent
In everything you do, you should be honest and transparent. People in leadership roles too often hide things from their team. This creates friction and makes employees feel distant and distrustful of their superiors.
Great team cultures rely upon a togetherness that usually requires an element of transparency. You can do this by openly communicating aims and objectives, sharing honest and constructive feedback, and allowing your employees to have a voice in the workplace.
4. Model behaviour
You are a team member, even if you are a leader. If you expect each team member to be honest, then set this example with your behaviour. Do your best to model the company culture and core values every day. Good behaviour is contagious, yet the same is true if you allow bad habits to creep into the workplace. A strong team culture needs to come from the top down.
5. Support your team
Employees and team members should feel that you have their back. Give your team the resources they need to complete their tasks and be available when they need help. Provide your team with the psychological safety they need to succeed.
Strong team culture is also based on a growth mindset – support your team to learn whenever possible and encourage training opportunities like leadership development.
Review: General Tips for Building and Maintaining a Winning Team Culture
Your company’s team culture will always be a work in progress. Here are some general tips to improve team culture.
- Make expectations clear
- Build trust
- Hire people from different backgrounds and celebrate differences
- Involve your team in the planning process and goal-setting
- Encourage open communication and honesty
- Build personal connections but maintain professionalism
- Celebrate successes
- Allow opportunities to learn
Company Culture in Remote Teams
The challenges of building a team culture can be more intimidating for remote work. While challenging, building a strong online team follows the same principles as building company culture in a physical workplace.
You can meet regularly virtually, allow for opportunities to learn through online courses and communicate your vision just as you would if you were meeting in an office.
However, the main challenge for online teams is building those personal relationships that lead to collaborative teams and a team culture based on mutual support.
One way to do that is through fun and engaging yet meaningful virtual team-building activities. As a team leader, you should make an effort to provide online team-building activities that contribute to an influential, winning team culture.
Virtual team building activities allow remote employees to meet socially, bond and build rapport while also developing skills.
Teams can meet through video conferencing software to complete timed tasks and challenges that test their knowledge, skills, and ability to cooperate as a team. And all while providing a release from the stresses of work!