How To Build A High Performing Team Culture
Building high-performing teams is about more than just hiring the right people.
Strong teams are grounded in mutual trust and collaboration, with a shared vision and a desire to keep improving.
Never underestimate the importance of building a high-performing team culture for business success.
And never underestimate the challenges inherent in successfully blending a mixture of unique talents and personalities. High-performing teams make this look effortless.
With that in mind, this is our guide to building a high-performing team culture.
What Is Team Culture?
Someone once said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. The right culture is crucial to the success of your organization.
Culture is the social order of an organization – it shapes attitudes and behaviors in various ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged and discouraged, accepted and rejected within a group.
For example, some companies may encourage a culture of excellence or efficiency. Some may promote a ruthless approach to relationships and growth. The team you build will reflect and embody these values.
Why Is Team Culture Important?
A good team culture leads to happier and healthier staff who are more likely to remain with the company.
For example, in the six months leading up to April 2022, 25 percent of employees in the United States resigned, citing “toxic company culture” as their primary reason for leaving. This finding is according to a survey by FlexJobs that looked into why people might quit their jobs.
A 2020 Global Trends report found that 77 percent of companies focus specifically on the employee experience to promote retention.
And according to 38 percent of talented professionals, creating an ‘inspirational team culture’ is a critical area of improvement for businesses.
But the incentive to build high-performing teams is about more than just retention. It impacts your relationships inside and outside the company, in areas such as:
- Hiring the right people
- Working with the best clients
- Creating beneficial partnerships
Here are just a few of the things that a high-performing team culture can do for your business:
- More engaged employees. Employees who invest in the company and their work are more productive and efficient and produce better quality work. A 2019 University of Oxford study found that happy workers were 13 percent more productive. The study found that these employees do not work more hours but are more productive with their time.
- Higher attrition rates. Happier, more engaged employees are less likely to look for other jobs, reducing recruiting and hiring costs. And you get to keep your high-performing team members.
- Better productivity. Employees who care about the values and culture of the company, as well as its purpose, are often more productive. Hiring fewer people will reduce costs. An inspired employee is 125 percent more productive than a satisfied one. Productivity is key to high-performing teams.
- Innovation. Happiness plays a vital role in innovation, a crucial aspect of high-performance teams. Engaged and collaborative members are more innovative and more likely to generate new ideas and put them into practice, driving your business forward.
Not all high-performing teams are the same, and not all team cultures will produce the same results. Each needs a tailored approach.
There are, however, a few commonalities among high-performing teams.
What Makes A Good Team Culture?
All high-performing teams are different. What works for one might not for another.
That said, here are a few values to consider as the basis of excellent team culture.
- Communication. Ensure everyone has access to all the information required and knows what to do to achieve the goals. Team members work better when communication is an easy task. Good communication also provides the opportunity for continuous learning.
- Trust. High-performing employees can do their work without being micromanaged. Employees in a great team must trust their team members to work with them and not play a solo game.
- Teamwork. High-performing employees must work with rather than against each other to achieve a common goal. Everyone must know they are a team member and part of a high-performance team and not create a group of team leaders.
- Support. Employees have access to support whenever they need it from everyone in the business, reducing stress and burnout. Mutual respect between employees is also crucial, as is employee development.
It takes more than dress-down Fridays and bean bag chairs to build high-performance teams. These are perks but do not drive productivity, retention, and innovation.
What does? Here are steps to building a high-performance team culture.
Steps To Building High-Performing Teams
There is no guaranteed way of building high-performance teams. Each team is unique, and these steps are mutable, depending on your employees and organizational goals.
1) Define The Team Values
A high-performing team culture may develop organically, but it is essential to plant the right seeds for high-level growth and continued performance levels.
Think about the values you want your team and company to espouse and embody. High-performing teams often center around shared values.
Brainstorm ideas with your team and get everyone involved. Virtual communication environments are an excellent tool for this, as these allow all of your members to share their ideas with complete freedom.
Think about your business and brand and consider what is most important. Honesty? Fairness? Respect? Get your group involved as much as possible in this process; they are the ones who will drive the brand forwards.
It is critical because it creates a working environment that minimizes conflict and maximizes success. Shared visions help bring the unclear future into focus, which is what high-performing teams can do for you.
2) Create A Clear Map To Success
High-performing teams are the ones that are goal-oriented and know how to get there. Open communication is essential so that the team members feel connected on the journey.
Ask yourself: What is success for this business? Put this question to your team and brainstorm ideas. Again the online and virtual environments are excellent tools for getting the whole team involved in this process so that all members feel valued.
Keep an online record of your ideas, and use the virtual world to keep in touch and develop them.
Allow this constant flow of ideas to keep your team members engaged and working at their best. A high-performing group must be malleable and adaptable.
Sometimes changing the way that individuals within the business operate and interact will lead to more efficient practices, better relationships, and improved corporate results.
And think about team size. Building high-performing teams mean thinking about the optimally sized team for your organizational needs.
You want a few skill gaps in your group and team members with complementary skills; this will give you a competitive advantage over other teams in larger businesses.
3) Share Your Expectations With Your Team
Once you have a clear expectation of how your team culture should look and what success is, it is time to share your vision with your employees.
Define what it means to be part of the team. What should the culture look like in practice? What are the shared values? Some key characteristics of focus might be:
- Team player
- Emotional intelligence
Take each value and give specific examples. Communicate to your team what each value means and what it looks like in practice.
Present your team culture expectations in a relaxed setting, as this will relieve the workday pressure and put your team at ease, so they can fully appreciate the message.
And remember that this is not a lecture. Keep the tone conversational and allow your team to ask questions, give feedback, and chat with each other. Make sure they understand and are on board before you start the journey.
4) Provide All The Tools Your Team Needs
Provide your high-performing team members with the tools they need to achieve the key priorities and deliver those outstanding results.
These could include:
- New collaboration tools
- Better systems or processes for customer service skills
- Training on topics for team culture
- Training to develop skills in relevant topics for growth
For example, if you wish to promote a culture of continuous learning and employee development, provide scholarships for training, conferences, online courses, and team-building activities.
High-performing teams work on only what they have the tools to do and nothing else.
5) Keep Building The Team Culture
Building a high-performing team culture is not something that ends but rather is an evolving process that requires continuous learning. It requires regular doses of positive reinforcement.
The methods that once worked may become stale and unprofitable. High-performing teams are precisely that because they are focused and goal-oriented.
You must guard against boredom and disillusionment at all times to keep team performance levels high.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Encourage off-site lunches and days out for new project launches
- Offer one-to-one mentoring and support for psychological safety
- Host employee family events
- Offer opportunities for learning
- Team building days out – these could be done virtually
And it is crucial to gather employee feedback. Encourage your team to give feedback as soon as they think something is wrong or not working, and do not be afraid to give constructive criticism.
But you do not want to sound like a broken record, so make sure you give your high-performance team the space it needs to work without introducing any unnecessary challenges and conflict.
Start Building A High Performing Team Culture Today
Building high-performing teams are not something that happens by accident.
To build high-performance teams, you must decide what type of culture you want, create a clear path to success, communicate your values and plans effectively, and work with your team.
You must also become a team leader and set an example by espousing the qualities you wish your team and your business to embody.
That way, you allow your business to grow and evolve as your team does, and you can cultivate your team culture moving forward.
Now you are ready to get started and build high-performing teams!