The magical sauce to building a successful company is positive team culture. Whether you’re a product or a service, people are the ones who make the company what it is. Team culture sets an aligned vision and a shared understanding. It defines the behaviour for the people in the team, helping them work better together.
Team culture is usually a back burner task when really, it should be one of the first things to be honed by the HR or the founder of a company.
By setting up a positive team culture, companies can ensure they are creating an environment of trust and autonomy, essentially running a well-oiled machine. Such a workplace fosters self-managed team members. Members who are eager to take up projects and diligently work towards an end product that drives the best results.
Simply put, there is no need for anyone to chase one another to get work done. Everyone remains driven and feel responsible to do it all on their own.
For instance, companies like Quintype have created a collaborative and knowledge-sharing environment. But what they also have is an unlimited leave policy. Being a media company, it requires the team to remain alert and agile. Now while you may think what they need and the unlimited leave policy doesn’t add up, it actually has helped them set up an autonomous environment.
Team members end up showing more responsibility with the number of leaves they take, eagerly jumping into projects and taking ownership. They don’t ‘feel’ the need to take as many leaves when they know they have that flexibility. Remember when we spoke about time tracking and millennials?
Now there are different ways of creating a positive team culture. Some companies set up a culture of collaborating, others have a flexible workplace and allow remote work, while others insist on routines like morning standup. There is no one-size-fits-all definition or approach to a healthy team culture.
So, as a hiring manager, it’s important to set a positive team culture in the workplace to create a work environment that is aligned and motivated. Let’s look into some of the top 5 ways successful companies foster a positive team culture in their workplace:
Top 5 Ways of Creating a Positive Team Culture
Team culture in the workplace takes time to establish. It also takes a lot of thought process and effort to define. That’s why we spoke to the HRs of fast-scaling companies to see how they are building a team culture.
But first, don’t forget to read: Team culture in the workplace – myth-busting!
Now that you know the right team culture definition, let’s begin.
1. Communicate your goals, values, and routines clearly
One of the first tasks at hand, even before onboarding a new employee is discussing the goals, values, and routines that the organization holds. Set forth the expectations you have from the employee. Define what results you expect from them and the values your team holds and believes in. It is also important to make them aware of the existing routines.
Take, for instance, some organizations have morning standups. While for some this may be a regular thing, others might find it odd and instead prefer a weekly team lunch.
Your goals and values set the base for your employee’s time at the organization. Clearly communicating them is crucial to ensure that the employee is stepping in with the right foot forward.
Modern Survey found that employees who say their organizational values are “known and understood” are 51 times more likely to be fully engaged. Especially when compared to an employee who responds that their organization does not have values that are known and understood.
We’ll give you two examples.
Here’s Slack stating its core values to anyone who wants to join their company or is interested in even an internship. Their careers page doesn’t just lay out their core values, but also what they offer to their employees to be able to keep up with these values.
And then there’s Freshworks. Their careers page focuses on sharing their company story and what led them to set up these values.
2. Encourage collaboration
There are very few companies with self-managed team members who can carry a project until the launch. Collaboration speeds up the pace of a project. When employees from different teams come together to solve a hurdle or finish a project, they are pooling their different strengths to achieve a goal faster.
Mailchimp is one such company where people from different departments often work together on side projects. Most often, these projects end up being used as growth hackings for the company. It’s like they never know what gem they come up with!
As a hiring manager, set up an open-door policy on the ideation of new projects and solutions. Work with department heads to communicate how you encourage collaboration, even across departments.
Fostering an environment of collaborating takes time. But by leading by example and collaborating with others within the organization yourself, you can instil this value within the team.
3. Provide resources
Every team has a set of different requirements to help them perform their best. As a hiring manager, it is important to recognize the resources your employees need and even ask them about their requirements.
You could have one-on-one conversations about their role in the organization. Give employees an education allowance to give them the freedom to take online courses. Purchasing licenses for software required for work. These are just some of the ways you can equip your team with the right resources to grow and do better work together.
Take, for instance, you can have a six-month or yearly allowance for online courses. These could be courses that are directly relevant to the employee’s job role. Or they could be those that they want to take up to upskill.
4. Don’t manage employees, mentor them
A team that upholds a positive team culture forgoes traditional management ideas of running a workplace. Instead, it emphasizes on teaching and mentoring. With managers, employees have spoon-fed the work they need to do and can’t make their own decisions. Mentors, on the other hand, ensure that employees get hands-on with the job. And employees are likely to take more initiative and responsibility for their tasks.
Removing traditional managerial duties is one of the first steps to creating a positive team culture. As a hiring manager, set up a culture that celebrates teaching in the organization. Hold managers personally accountable for an employee’s development. This will ensure they are fully immersed in the growth of the team members they are mentoring.
“The key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are – not to make them more like you.”
– Suze Orman, CNBC Host
Inc. wrote a brilliant article on four ways to be a better mentor to your employees. Read it here. It shows you how finding a unique connection, assigning peer mentors for onboarding, encouraging constructive criticism and remembering empathy are the only things you need. How they are the base of creating a successful workplace.
5. Set up feedback systems
One of the best ways for an organization to grow is to inculcate a feedback system within the team culture. Clutch found that 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback feel fulfilled in their jobs. This fulfilment translates to better performances and better work. Define and lay down a monthly feedback system
For instance, some companies like Netflix use proven feedback models like Stop, Keep, Start. This asks three straightforward questions on what activities the employee should start, keep, and stop.
Other organizations create their own feedback systems. Medium has designed its own internal feedback system. It replaces traditional performance reviews with peer feedback.
Define and lay down a feedback system that enriches team culture in the workplace. Once a month set aside some time for the team to provide each other feedback. Also, pick a feedback model that works for your organization like the ones mentioned above. You can even adopt one of the 15 different feedback tools to make your job easier.
Ready to create a positive team culture?
No matter where you are in your journey. No matter how big your company is or what pace you’re growing at, focus on positive team culture. It is what will take you to your end goal. All you need to do is have the right set of values at the workplace. This will ensure an open and goal-oriented environment.
What’s the one thing you believe is really needed to build a positive team culture?