Increased Importance of Teamwork at Workplace

Why is teamwork important? How can it improve workplace productivity?

Teams have become central to organizational performance in the 21st century. Organizations themselves have taken the form of large teams composed of smaller ones. From marketing to HR, finance and sales departments, all of these are the smaller teams that  together make the bigger group. How well these teams are managed decides the level of performance and productivity. Their synergy and collaboration also defines the position and performance of the organization. Focusing on the productivity of these smaller teams helps improve the organization’s efficiency.

These organizations can be seen as large teams with identifiable cultures that are very special to their performance. While most of them want to hire talented people, just having good employees is not sufficient. How good they are at team work also decides how much they would be able to contribute. The employees cannot be seen as just individuals and the level of synergy between them adds to the organization’s productivity. In the 21st century HR has become a central focus in terms of organizational strategy and has grabbed the attention of all major organizations. While every single worker has become valuable, the teams have also become central to the organizational performance. Focusing on collaboration and building synergy is important because every employee is an important link in the chain and collaboration between these links keeps the chain strong.

 Teamwork is important because it affects several things including work quality, productivity, employee morale, operational efficiency and several other things. While some tasks may require individual focus, most tasks and projects require the attention and contribution of an entire team. The higher the level of synergy and collaboration among the team members, the higher are the chances of projects being successful. In the 21st century, the nature of work itself has changed. The nature of work has  become more complex, requiring heavier focus and use of technological resources as well as individual efforts for completion.

Every individual’s contribution matters and above all how well these teams are designed and synchronized affects the level of success that is to be achieved from their efforts. Several projects require the efforts of the entire team to be completed successfully. In such a case, while it is good to focus upon each individual, it is important to incentivize and reward teamwork. More than anything teamwork helps retain coworkers trust in each other. By joining hands they do not just come together, but help each other achieve his potential. In this way teamwork can lead to an exponential rise in organizational productivity. So, teamwork is valuable and more than anything essential or compulsory. Some of the common reasons that will help you understand the value of team work are as follows:

Higher efficiency:

When several people work together to achieve a common goal, it is easier to achieve the target faster.  A task that will take a person 10 days to complete can be completed by 10 people in just a day. The entire process gets simpler as there are several pairs of able hands and minds available to handle the task. Moreover, when there is a team, there are people with diverse skills and knowledge. The diversity of skill and knowledge adds to the efficiency of the team making its efforts more focused and effective. Each person can handle a different aspect of the task and in this way the task can be done perfectly.  If any issue arises, people can resolve it more easily together than anyone can individually. Responsibilities get shared between people and together they are better able to work their way towards the organizational goal.  So, the focus must be on creating an environment of team work. Rather than having four people sitting alone in four corners, doing their tasks, it is better to form a team where the four can together share ideas, help each other and move towards the desired goals. The writing is all over the wall; either you bring synchronization in your team’s efforts or you let your people fail.

Shared workload:

If a single person is assigned to a project, he will feel higher workload and pressure as compared to an entire team working on the same project. When several people work together the entire pressure does not remain concentrated on just one man’s shoulders. Instead, it gets distributed. Moreover, the success or failure of the project does not remain the accountability of a single person. A team has people with different skills and knowledge levels, which means that each one can assist the other and complement the other’s skills and knowledge. With collaboration, pressure declines significantly. In this way, teamwork helps handle pressures better. In absence of teamwork, the workload on individual employees will be higher. In terms of work delegation too, the manager or supervisor will assign work and roles based on individuals’ skills.  At the end, the pressure instead of being on a single person gets scattered and divided among people. So, if you want to diffuse the pressure that arises from workload then you must inspire your people to do some teamwork. They must be inspired to believe in team values and in collaboration.

Less stress and higher motivation:

Teamwork also controls the level of stress and pressure inside organizations. If the level of teamwork is higher, the pressure on employees will be low and as a result employee morale will be higher. Moreover, people naturally feel motivated to work in teams. A person working alone will soon feel tired and exhausted whereas people’s energy level and enthusiasm while working in teams is generally higher. When people are working in a team, they share ideas, have fun and work with energy. Work can become monotonous for someone working alone whereas while working in teams people are more excited and keen to contribute. Teams also act as support networks where each individual can lend support to the other. It enables people to bear higher pressure and complete their work without any difficulty. Since teams can provide support mechanisms and enable the members to take bigger challenges, they also keep employees motivated. This is how teamwork adds value to work and helps employees bring great results. Organizations have every reason to reduce the level of stress at the workplace.   They must focus on bringing people together and forming a strong network or alliance that  does not easily succumb to work-pressure.

Better communication and flow of ideas:

If the level of teamwork is high, the flow of communication grows better and with it efficiency improves. When people start collaborating, it becomes easier to communicate and informal channels of communication open up. So, communication takes less time and ideas and information are shared more easily. A lack of teamwork hinders communication and also hinders the flow of work. Without teamwork, work moves at slower pace and projects can get delayed. When companies create an environment of teamwork and cooperation, it allows the employees to interact more freely and share their ideas across the table with others. This at last improves the productivity of the entire team and the organization. If teamwork is missing inside an organization, the chances of conflicts and feud are also higher. Again, this gives rise to hindrances and stops the flow of communication and ideas from one corner to another. Any organization wants to increase its productivity. So, the first step towards aligning its people with organizational objectives can be to inspire them towards teamwork. This will increase the level of collaboration and help people move together towards the common desired objectives.

Better learning experience:

This is another important area where team work improves employees’ learning and satisfaction. When people work together they learn from each other. Teams are made of people with diverse skill sets and knowledge. While working on projects together, people learn new skills and acquire new knowledge in the process. This does not just improve their efficiency but also improves their work satisfaction. People learn while discussing important things related to a project or just by working with each other. Team work also brings new opportunities of showing your creativity. Thus, team work also provides opportunities of professional growth and development. There is a double benefit for the team members. On the one hand, while their confidence is boosted by acquiring new knowledge and skills, on the other, their job satisfaction is increased. In this way, teamwork brings several major benefits for the employees and their organization. If you want your employees to be fast learners you must allow and inspire them to work with each other in synchronization. There is always much for them to learn from each other.

What the management must do to create an environment of teamwork and collaboration?

It is upon the management to create an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration between the employees.  Such an environment can provide increased efficiency and healthy growth. To do this, first the management must incentivize teamwork. Rather than providing incentives only for individual performance, it can use team based incentives to encourage team members. When you incentivize only individual performance you end up creating heroes and villains. Those who are not being rewarded will feel frustrated. This will again make employee morale fall and can bring the turnover rate higher. In turn the HR costs will grow.

Management must focus on building high performance teams. Apart from making them all the required resources available, it must focus on providing them the required autonomy. It will keep team members happy and satisfied and encourage them to collaborate. It is also important to hold regular meetings with the team leaders and provide them with positive feedback related to performance. This will increase their confidence. Feedback can be a great tool for creating and managing high performance teams. However, a key precaution that  the organizational leaders will need to keep is that they must not still forget the importance of the individual workers and focus on empowering them.

The more empowered your individual employees are the more empowered will the teams be and at last it will not just result in higher productivity but also better reputation and higher customer satisfaction. Now, you see that  there are so many rewards of teamwork. How much of teamwork is there inside your organization? How well are people collaborating and how much your leaders are focused at empowering their human resources? These are some of the questions that managers and leaders must ask themselves. 21st century has brought bigger challenges and to tackle these challenges organizations should learn to act like teams. Otherwise, there are not just challenges but pitfalls too which cannot be avoided. High energy organizations are trying new and improved methods of engaging their human capital. HR Managers must especially focus on how their employees can work together as empowered teams.