Easy ways to encourage teamwork in your small business

Fostering good teamwork between your employees is one of your key responsibilities as a manager. The better your employees work together, the more efficient they will be, and the more successful the business will be. Teamwork improves morale and motivation, and the increased performance levels are an obvious boon. The sense of community that comes with teamwork can even improve employee retention, with over 50% of employees saying community kept them at a company for longer than they would otherwise have stayed.

Improved retention, in turn, increases familiarity and thus productivity, further, creating a positive and profitable cycle. So how can you encourage teamwork in your small business? We’ve compiled a list of easy ways to make being part of a team a positive workplace experience for your employees.

Problem-solve and set goals as a group

Encourage your employees to tackle challenges together from the outset. While you may be used to giving those you’re in charge of solutions, taking a step back in this way can be valuable for a number of reasons. Putting the emphasis on group efforts to solve a problem will encourage communication, and it will also lighten your own workload. Employees will appreciate being given your trust and it may even throw up some new ideas that you hadn’t considered!

Problem-solving isn’t the only business activity that should be completed in teams. Goal-setting is an important process and involving your employees will lead to the creation of goals that they are more invested in. It will also help ensure everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done and that they are all working towards a common goal. Just beware of the pitfalls…

Treat each team member as an individual

Despite team efforts being encouraged, you don’t want your employees to feel like they’re losing their personal identity by becoming “just another cog in the machine”. Respect each individual as capable of their own unique and valuable contributions and encourage differences of opinion, as these differing perspectives are often the best way to find that middle ground that works for everyone.

Define individual roles within your teams

Likewise, if your employees have come up with team goals but they don’t have individual roles within that system, you may find that certain individuals take over or are left out. Ensure everyone has a job to do and understands what their personal contribution to the team effort is. This will increase accountability and motivation, as long as the roles are dished out fairly according to what each person can realistically achieve.

Reward group efforts and teamwork

It’s important to show your appreciation for the efforts your employees will be making at working together as a team more than before. Even if their endeavour isn’t initially successful, their buy-in to the idea of teamwork is important, so be sure to acknowledge efforts as well as results. That said, when they do achieve or exceed their team goals, that’s when you should really dish out the best rewards!

Give employees the tools to collaborate

Communication is key to teamwork and collaboration tools are one simple way you can facilitate improved communication in your business. This is particularly relevant for businesses that have multiple locations, like a storefront and a warehouse, or a fleet of vehicles. Enabling employees to talk to who they need to at any time will make teamwork much easier.

There are a variety of communication and project management tools available, but teamwork can be fostered in other ways too. Flexible scheduling like that possible with Findmyshift can improve team cohesion as colleagues are able to communicate with each other to swap and cover shifts - these situations foster trust and gratitude among co-workers and will further boost team morale.

Have fun together as a team!

We can’t talk about teamwork without mentioning two cornerstones of business strategy in this area: socialising and team-building activities! Spending time together outside of work will give your employees the chance to form more meaningful bonds with those around them, making communication easier and increasing their happiness with their work environment.

Whether it’s a drink down the pub after work, a weekend escape full of trust exercises, or attending an event together, be sure to give your employees the chance to mingle outside the workplace and you’ll reap the rewards.

We hope these tips work for you as you look to improve teamwork in your small business this year!

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.