Getting people to work together for a common cause isn’t easy. We all have different characteristics, different motivations, particular tensions and differences of opinion that can make working together especially tricky! But, there is a way you can get your employees heading in the same direction. Here are a few ideas…
First, tell them what the direction is (and remind them of it often)
This might sound like an obvious thing to point out, but how can you expect your employees to head in the same direction if you haven’t told them what it is!? Whether you dream as big as being the industry leader in your field, or have a slightly smaller goal in mind (like getting a new client on board), you need to tell your employees about it.
Help them to understand why that’s the direction you want them to head in, and explain what’s in it for them if they get there. Remind them of it regularly, as it will help to keep everyone on track and pulling their weight as a team.
Make it easy for them to work together
Next, you need to do everything you can to facilitate team work. You can do this by:
1. Putting employees in the same physical location wherever possible. This will mean that face to face conversations can happen whenever necessary, reducing the time wasted by waiting for email correspondence, and will nurture budding relationships between colleagues.
2. Providing them with top-quality software. Giving your team a project management system with a useful plugin (such as UpRaise, for example) will help them to keep on top of their workload. It’ll help them to identify what’s expected of them and allow them to check the objectives you’ve set, as well as giving them a platform for continuous feedback and review.
3. Helping them to get on with each other. As well as providing your team with a physical space to work in, and tools do their job, you might need to add a ‘human’ element to encourage teamwork. This might mean coming up with strategies to ‘clear the air’ after two colleagues have come into conflict, or might mean ensuring that quieter team members get their voices heard during team meetings, for example.
Revisit your company’s core values
Another effective way to get your team working together is to remind them of your company’s core values. The reason this will work is that it goes beyond what’s important to them, uniting them around something that they’re all committed to by having something in common. Having your core values written out and placed somewhere visible will ensure that everyone stays on track, and that conflicts are resolved quickly.
Reward good performance
Finally, make a point of thanking your team for their hard work, highlighting the fact that it’s their teamwork that helps them to achieve great things in the workplace. You can do this through verbal feedback, written acknowledgement, small tokens of appreciation (such as cake or coffee), or by getting everyone together outside of the office to celebrate. This will make them feel valued and appreciated, and crucially, deepen their relationships with each other to help them go from strength to strength as a team.