It goes without saying that a positive team spirit can have far-reaching benefits. A happy set of employees not only equates to a positive work ethic, but also impacts on staff retention, productivity, staff engagement and even your brand image! But the all-important question has to be, if this elusive concept is so crucial, how do we go about fostering it? Read on to discover which of our top tips you should implement straightaway in your company!
What is team spirit?
First of all, it is worth pinpointing exactly what is meant by ‘team spirit’. A quick flick through the dictionary tells us that team spirit is a feeling of “belonging together” between members of the same group. It goes without saying that if you can succeed in creating a sense of belonging, then your employees will also experience loyalty, engagement and dedication towards your company. With so much to gain, it’s definitely worth putting in some effort to cultivate this elusive sense of attachment, and reap the rewards afterwards!
Cultivate a culture of openness
When it comes to team spirit, making everyone within your company feel as though their suggestions, ideas and comments are valid is a valuable – and easy – first step. Show your employees you welcome their input by inviting it directly, whether that’s via a company-wide email, a specific survey (which can be anonymous), or within the office itself, simply by leaving your door open. If your company uses an online platform to communicate, set up a designated thread where colleagues can put forward suggestions to particular problems, or recommend ideas to improve processes. When these are treated with respect – whether they’re from the CEO or the office intern – everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging.
Invest in team building
Now, by this we don’t necessarily mean an all-expenses paid trip to an exotic location for a week-long jolly! ‘Team building’ is anything that generates a feeling of being a united community, all vying for the same common goal. This can be cultivated in any number of simple ways.
Of course, we’ve all heard tales of fabulous away breaks, but if this is out of your company’s remit, whether that’s for financial reasons or whether it’s just not feasible to have your whole team out of the workplace, then don’t worry. There are plenty of simple ways to foster a team-building environment that don’t blow the budget – or impact on your company’s production!
One way of promoting the idea that you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, is to invest in easy to personalise branded mugs, read more here. Token gifts such as promotional mugs work on multiple levels. They build brand awareness, which can foster a sense of team spirit in the office. Printed merchandise also creates a sense of belonging and community – priceless within a company, and constructive in turning a valuable individual into a valuable team member.
When your employees think you value them as individuals rather than ‘workers’, they are more likely to feel that all-important sense of belonging. It’s easy to show awareness of staff welfare, by offering opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment. Depending on the make-up of your team, you might consider organising events such as a fantasy football tournament, a company-wide treasure hunt or perhaps a book club. These all create moments for employees to get together and talk about things other than work – and bond over shared interests. Which leads nicely onto the next important point in your team-building strategy… According to the founder of multiple successful companies, Hari Ravichandran, company culture might even be more important than a product or a strategy.
Focus on communication….and make it fun!
Think about the last time you, or someone you know, had an argument with someone. What happened? What was at the root of it? Chances are, somewhere along the line, there was a misunderstanding. The best way to avoid this? By focusing on improved communication. And nowhere is this more important, than within a team.
Teams who can communicate well generally have far higher levels of trust within them – and when you trust and communicate with your team, chances are, that team becomes more accomplished in its goals. Try to build in short-but-fun communication icebreakers, whether they’re within a set team-building activity, or simply within your routine meetings. If your employees are not used to this type of activity, you might encounter some resistance initially. Don’t let this put you off; persevere and you will find team members not only relax, but they also improve communication skills, as they learn to interact on different levels with their colleagues.
Try some of the following:
Each team member shares three things about themselves. Two are true, and one is a lie! The rest of the team needs to work out which one is the fib. This one is great for getting to know each other, and is also guaranteed to cause much amusement in the process.
If you were….
This one can be adapted, depending on the individuals within your team. Try out ideas such as, ‘if you were an animal, what would you be?’ or perhaps, ‘if you were a type of food, what would you be?’ The more your team becomes familiar and comfortable, the more creative you can get!
My earliest memory is…
If you feel your team need to interact on a more personal level, or if you have some new team members that need to get to know the others, then this works well. Introducing opportunities to talk about the past gives colleagues a licence to ‘chat’, and to communicate on a personal level. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the more your employees talk about topics unlinked to work, the more productive they become in work!
Building team spirit doesn’t have to blow your budget for the year. In fact, with a little creativity, a few cost-effective visual brand reminders and a sprinkle of fun, you’ll have your workplace ethic boosted in no time – when you can sit back and reap the rewards! Have fun!