Team spirit is a phrase that is often reserved for high schools during homecoming week; however, it is a concept that equally belongs in the workplace.
Team spirit is individuals coming together to work for the good of the all. This is an idea that we see played out most often in sports. Players earn points for the team as a whole – no individual player can win a game. It is a group effort. Teams are the embodiment of the idea that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For the success of the group, team members will support and elevate individual members so that all can contribute and be successful.
Why do you want team spirit in your workplace?
Another way to think of team spirit is the feeling of belonging. In many offices today, employees might sit in cubicles and communicate only briefly with each other for necessary tasks.
Developing a sense of team spirit in your workplace increases employee happiness, satisfaction, motivation, and even productivity.
Humans are social creatures. We want to talk to each other. We want to connect. It’s a basic instinct within us. A workplace that encourages communication, bonding, and connection among its employees will inevitably lead to employees that are more dedicated to the company.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that if someone feels like they don’t belong, they are less motivated and less likely to tackle obstacles in their path. You can extrapolate how that scenario plays out in a workplace. Employees that cannot overcome obstacles will struggle with performance and likely resent critiques or coaching.
On the flipside, a sense of team spirit can increase:
- Employee satisfaction and motivation
- Understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses
Team spirit in the workplace can have powerful effects on employees that are discouraged, disengaged, and unmotivated.
How do you foster team spirit in the workplace? Here are eight tips:
1) Ensure your team knows the ‘why’.
How can individuals come together to reach a singular goal if they don’t know what that goal is? Every employee and every team needs to understand the why behind their actions. This ‘why’ should coincide with the organizational goals of the company. Where is the company going? How do you employees factor into that? What is the bigger picture? These are all questions that your team members should be able to answer. Until they can, it will be hard to foster a sense of team spirit.
2) Don’t discourage ‘water cooler’ talk.
While chatting about weekend plans may not directly contribute to a project in the office, it will serve to bring employees closer together. Employees being friendly – and even friends – is not a bad thing. This camaraderie engenders a sense of trust and understanding between employees.#TeamSpirit is individuals coming together to #Work for the good of the all. #HR #Teamwork #Employees Click To Tweet
3) Assign mentors.
Even though we strive for diversity, the fact of the matter is that sometimes an employee is the odd one out. A woman coming into a male-heavy tech company is a good example of this. These employees can often struggle to feel included.
However, research has shown that offering a narrative for success can greatly improve performance. Following our example, if the new employee’s manager assigns her another woman mentor, the new employee is more likely to succeed. The mentor can act as a ‘success story’ and can help navigate her through the culture, expectations, and how to succeed. A mentor is a neon declaration saying, “You are not alone.”
4) Create a good work/life balance.
Taking time off work is critically important to ensure that your employees do not burn out. Statistically, taking more vacation results in more success at work, lower stress levels, and high levels of happiness, both at work and at home. This can also on a smaller scale. Continually missing family time to work late becomes a strain. Employees that are burnt out will struggle to be good teammates.
Creating generous PTO policies or instituting flex time can go a long way to ensure that when your employees are at work, they’re rested and ready to tackle challenges.
5) Praise everyone.
Let’s be honest – some departments are flashier than others. The sales team might be the big earners of your company. It is easy to lavish praise on departments that have hard numbers showing how well they are doing. However, every employee wants to be recognized for the work they do and every department matters. Your clerical team is equally as important as your sales team. Take the time to make sure that they know it. Feel free to do this step as often as you think about (it’s free, after all!).
6) Volunteer together.
Once you have everything in your office lined up to encourage team spirit, now is the time you get can into ‘team building’ exercises.
Volunteer! Not only does volunteering give back to the community that your organization is a part of and gives your employees a chance to get to know each other, but it also has quite a few surprising benefits. Studies have shown that volunteering makes you feel like you have more time, develops skills and experience, builds empathy, strengthens social bonds, reduces stress, and improves the sense of community, all of which will help build team spirit in your workplace.
7) Sports or a ‘fun run’.
Never underestimate the power of getting your employees moving. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety, improves health, improves sleep, and it has even been shown to increase memory and thinking skills. Bonus points for choosing an activity that requires teamwork like basketball, soccer, or even a relay race.
8) Throw a party.
Creating opportunities for unadulterated socializing is a great way to boost team spirit in the workplace. Looking for opportunities for a party is a great place to start. As December approaches, planning an office Christmas party might just be the thing to give your employees a chance to break the ice, get to know each other, and becoming closer teammates.
What is your tip for boosting team spirit in the workplace? Let us know in the comments!