The importance of team culture in the office, and a step-by-step guide on how to build it
Team culture is a collection of values, beliefs, and practices that are shared members in a team. Essentially, it is how your team interacts and works toward a common goal. While it’s important for teams to sit down and discuss team culture by their own definition, some cultures are developed naturally.
There are different types of team culture that one can build. For example, a traditional culture follows the typical corporate rules such as strict dress codes, formal pronouns, professional language, whereas a people-first culture gravitates more towards a democratic or laissez-faire leadership style, focusing on the learning and development as well as wellbeing of the employees. Other types of team culture include high-performance culture, competitive culture, and collaborative culture.
What type of culture does your team follow? Or which one would you like to build?
You might be wondering: “My team is doing great even without establishing a team culture. So why do I need it?”
Team culture encourages knowledge-sharing and influences emotional intelligence within a team, which is proven to positively impact team performance. An effective team culture can benefit your team in many ways such as employee engagement, inclusivity, retention, and more. If your team is doing great as is, chances are you have unknowingly built a strong team culture! If not, it might just be what you need to take your performance one step further.
1. Define Core Values
Core values make up a team culture. It is what your team stands for and lives by, which is why it is important to discuss your beliefs and morals as an individual and as a team! The idea is to make your values mean something. Try not to force your personal values on others, instead, be open to exploring different types of values and act as a team!
Invite your team to participate in the purpose-to-practice activity to shape together all the elements that will determine your team’s success. These five elements are designed to help achieve purpose. A team activity like this is not only engaging, but it develops innovative strategies and is a great way to build a strong team culture. It is also a good idea to revisit your team’s P2P every once in a while for any new changes or reminders!
3. Transparency and Open Communication
Practicing transparency and developing clear and efficient communication help teams to build a more fulfilling team culture. Read this report by the Harvard Business Review to learn how communication affects culture by measuring “cultural adaptability.”
Many teams struggle with effective communication especially after the long days of working from home since the pandemic. A strong team culture stems from being transparent with yourself and your team members - communicate your feelings, keep an open mind, and practice honesty!
Seems self-explanatory, right? Some employees believe there is a lack of trust and respect in their teams, and this leads to decreased job satisfaction and commitment to team goals. In recent years, there has been an increased desire for being respected and valued in younger employees. Showing respect to your team members can make them feel seen and foster productivity, growth, and success. There are many ways one can show respect, and is one of the many ways in building a strong team culture.
Tip: Treat others the same way you would want to be treated!
5. Personal Development
An employee that is continuously growing personally and professionally is typically more engaged and committed. The relationship between personal development and a strong team culture is that the more engaged your employees are, the more positive the team culture. You can build a step-by-step guideline for building a team culture, but if none of your employees are actually engaged or interested, it simply will not be effective.
Start by encouraging personal development and growth within your team! Some ways to do so are goal setting, mental check-ins, facilitating self-awareness, and open feedback.
Unfortunately, team culture isn’t built overnight. A strong team culture takes time and careful steps to foster, but when done correctly, it is incredibly rewarding. There are many strategies for rebuilding culture and various approaches one can take when it comes to building a strong team culture.
Let’s recap our 5 steps:
Food for Thought:
Imagine yourself as a new hire in a fast-growing organization. How would a strong team culture help you thrive in your new role, and what would you value the most?
Erica is a Marketing Content Analyst at Litespace with a passion to help companies foster stronger corporate culture and better employee engagement in the hybrid work environment. Specializing in marketing and communications, Erica is eager to share her knowledge and research on hybrid work.
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