Team engagement makes or breaks team accomplishments. In fact, team engagement plays a huge role in meeting deadlines and reaching set goals.. Even though it is crucial to team success, engagement is challenging. To emphasize the importance of team engagement, we offer this concise guide. Included are some practical takeaways that you can apply at the heart of your team.
Why team engagement is so important
Team engagement is a lot like singing together. You need harmony, structure, synchronization. But the main difference is relaxation. Because team engagement should be a relaxed affair. A mellow, natural activity. And not just another point on your agenda.
Boosting team engagement has several advantages that are hard to miss. In fact, it affects your organization in all key areas.
And the effect is certainly positive, research shows. There are a number of studies on leadership and how it affects team engagement. You can boost productivity with team engagement, as well as improve customer satisfaction. To say nothing of both employee retention and customer retention. Together with boosting creativity, overall well-being and reducing work pressure.
After all, team engagement means that each member of your team will synergize. They all feel they have the optimal conditions for optimal work. They feel motivated, inspired, energized and eager to contribute.
Most importantly, there are a number of things you can do to optimize for team engagement. And some pretty amazing tech solutions. Team communication platforms that also boost engagement, especially.
1. Involve your team in strategic planning
The issue is whether teams taking part in strategic planning perform better. In truth, this is precisely where strategic planning fails. Moreover, most companies end up being dissatisfied with their strategic-planning process.
In fact, up to 55% of executives end up being unhappy with the strategic planning process. There are many reasons why this happens. First of all, a lot of decisions are made down the hierarchic ladder. On-the-spot decisions and the variety of human interactions play a role in strategy. Second of all, human complexity gets in the way. Despite gathering significant amounts of data and formulating plans, this role remains unpredictable.
Meanwhile, team decisions and flattened hierarches often outperform traditional approaches. And improving on team decisions brings forth unexpectedly positive results. Hence, there are clear advantages to allowing for on-the-spot decisions. Similarly, there are plenty of advantages to strategic planning.
Overall, what you have is a cumbersome necessity. Planning plays an essential role and determines a final budget. Which in effect determines the next steps and limits on-the-spot decision making.
Involving teams in the decision-making process already happens, to a very narrow extent. It’s called reporting. Unfortunately, reporting can “suck the life” out of employees. At least when compared to something more dynamic.
Here’s how teams contribute to strategic planning
Have your team participate in at least one planning session and see how that works. What you should get out of this is some insight. Without a doubt, your team will have a few things to say. Otherwise they’d have to wait for reports to fill this need.
Moreover, having the team that does things involved with planning things ensures reliability. You increase team trust and overall accountability. In effect, your team will end up doing what it says it will be doing.
In a sense, this is similar to what happens when organization flatten hierarchies. Using input from teams that follow through with plans set up by other teams.
2. Grow a happy team for team engagement
It certainly makes sense that happiness at work boosts team engagement. Happier teams interact in positive, energetic ways. One, above all, is contagious.
Contagious positivity, in fact, is the result of engagement. Moreover, being happy at work means that you can do your best without delay. That you have the best of conditions, and that everything just clicks.
To sum up, team happiness is not the same with team engagement. However, they influence each other a great deal. Hence, cultivating happiness at work has a lot of benefits. To ride that wave, try the following:
- Organize some sort of going out for the entire team. Make it mandatory for new hires to go out and socialize. Hit a karaoke pub or a board game parlor. Perhaps even take your team to an escape room. Doesn’t matter. As long as they’re having fun and bonding.
- Offer flexible working hours and flexible schedules. This means that your team can start and stop working whenever they choose. As long as things gets done on time, it shouldn’t matter.
- Have teams celebrate milestones. Reaching set goals should have some sort of celebration. Yet, it doesn’t have to be a team night out. So long as you mark the occasion, you will cultivate team happiness. An energizing routine followed by a round of applause can do the trick just as well.
- Get everyone a nice cup of coffee. No matter who you are, coffee is an instant game changer. It gets your brain moving by sheer smell. You don’t even have to taste it. When you get everyone coffee, something magical happens. You essentially create a 15-minute coffee-shop atmosphere for the entire office. And that’s a smart break.
3. Encourage personal & professional development
Onboarding and mentorships are great ways to have new hires engaged. Yet, not enough companies offer proper onboarding. It’s hard to do onboarding right.
Mentorships are also a great way to develop employees. Having a mentor will significantly increase personal engagement. Moreover, this leads to overall team engagement. However, onboarding does not last long. Mentoring motivates longer, better, however, long mentorships are costly. Especially when work needs getting done.
Meanwhile, team engagement is directly affected by programs that benefit employees. After all, both onboarding and mentoring have to do with harmonizing employees. Making sure they are in tune with the task at hand.
Internships and team engagement
Having interns might sound like an easy way to get free labor. Or an extra chore for whomever is in charge. That is the wrong way to go about it. Instead, consider developing an internship program as a way to grow your organization. And ultimately, as a way to boost team engagement.
The main reasoning is pretty simple. The best way to learn is to teach. And it takes a village to raise a child. Hence, you should expect your team to rally up and offer some sort of contribution.
While you can’t always expect to eventually hire an intern, you are still benefiting plenty. And no, not from all the free (and more or less qualified) work. Rather, you improve your profile as an employer. Moreover, high-reputation internships increase employee retention and happiness.
They offer you access to talent, early on. Furthermore, internships are a source of increasing diversity, bringing in new ideas. Finally, you get to discover hidden gems in your current hires. You can see a leader emerge from a current employee. Or even an unexpectedly skilled trainer.
While internships can indirectly affect team engagement, there is another, greater advantage. That of having the whole team on-task for teaching and working with interns.
Trainings and retreats for team engagement
One of the most effective ways to teach teams is to have them teach each other. Transferring experience, however, needs a special set of circumstances. And one of the best way to do this is with the help of a professional trainer.
Both retreats and office trainings have their advantages and disadvantages. The main effect, however, is to have an “experience transfer” coordinator. One that makes sure teams reach key objectives and keeps them on track.
If you don’t have two teams to rub off each other, you can still do plenty. A professional trainer can help with team members rubbing experience off each other. Internal experience sharing and live interactions will affect team engagement.
Most of all, trainings allow your team to do better. And that is essential for improving team engagement:
- You can prepare your team for any sort of change. Simply organize a short training for them to assimilate and practice that change.
- Have your team transition to a new leadership with a similarly short training.
- Replace a large, boring meeting with a nice, engaging training. Alternatively, use this smart meetings guide.
- Organize your own team academy. You can have bring guest speakers or experts or trainers. Hence, you directly help your employees grow.
4. Use an all-in-one digital platform for team communication
Modern team communications solutions are in fact be a novel way to boost team engagement. To illustrate, let’s explore how Hubgets does it. As a team communication platform, it keeps teams of all sizes connected, well-informed, and focused on common goals.
The Team Board takes the pulse of your team
Think of how you spend time online on social media. You check out what your friends are doing. You see your former high school mate getting married. Your neighbors ranting about some parking spot situation. Someone complaining about public transportation. All sorts of things, all the time. What happens is that you are affected. To some extent, you care. Or perhaps you feel little to nothing. You might feel joy or sadness or frustration or happiness. Either way, it affects how you feel.
Imagine a place where each team member can post opinions, updates, polls. It’s web content for everyone to see, take note of, and comment. It’s a great way to have the whole team engaged. Most of all, it can drive workplace productivity.
Team Board key advantages for team engagement
In Hubgets, such a place is called the Team Board and it’s designed to take the pulse of the team. Essentially, it offers each team member a voice and a place for debate. This benefits both the team and the company. Here’s why.
- Increases team engagement. The Team Board rallies up the team around one individual achievement. Or perhaps around some after-hours plan. Or perhaps even around some sort of venting. Having the whole team join in on an individual emotion is grand. It gets people united. You build cohesion and boost engagement in one move. Most of all, you motivate. And when you share, you motivate.
- Inspires productivity. To be sure, the Team Board does not disrupt work. Rather, it sets a bar on getting stuff done. You can check it out any time. When you feel like you need a break. Whenever you feel you need to get yourself motivated. It’s there to improve your work experience. Alternatively, you can post some pictures with cats. If that’s what makes your team outperform itself, fine. Think of the team board as a special type of KPI. A team spirit KPI.
- Reflects company culture. The sum of all work-related exchanges is a significant part of company culture. Early approaches soon become traditions. And the Team Board is there to record. Much like engravings on trees, the Team Board grows with your company. You can track the first instance of anything that anyone shared. And you can follow it as it develops and catches shape. Moreover, company culture can increase employee engagement. It tells a story about the people that carried the company through. And it shows what makes the team tick. It’s personal history meeting everyday interactions. And everyday interactions becoming culture.
Topics give team chatter structure and substance
Patterns of communication explain variance in performance. Even when working with identical teams, communication patterns make a huge difference. Here’s a report on the relationship between team engagement and communication patterns. The key finding? Communication patterns matter.
Team communications, for instance, follow a special type of pattern. They develop similarly to how words develop. More precisely, starting with taking chances and accepting conventions. But there’s more to this when it comes to Hubgets Topics.
Topics, these group chats with file transfer and screen sharing, develop organically. They build around what teams are preoccupied with. Imagine team chatter being structured around certain key points that develop naturally. It makes all previous communications easy to understand and rediscover. Moreover, it allows for team members to focus on specific items. All those projects, milestones, decisions, events. And it helps new new hires or trainees join in and keep up the pace. Essentially, through instant access to centralized information and structured knowledge.
Topics boost team engagement precisely because they make everyone on the team aware. Issues surface without wasting people’s time, the way meetings do. Having such a resource is definitely a team engagement booster. Essentially, you can get up to speed with zero effort.
5. Use motivation as a fuel for team engagement
Motivating teams is crucial to increasing team engagement. Motivation is what fuels teams to achieve set goals. Team engagement ensures that teams are committed beyond the call of duty. An engaged team will go further and do better. Sounds like team motivation? That’s because it is.
There are many ways to motivate people. One way to show appreciation and motivate employees is to offer a bonus or a raise. This constitutes an extrinsic motivation. The trigger that affects the intent and energy of the employee is external. They will receive an external reward for a specific course of actions. You can motivate with either rewards or punishments. Both are extrinsic motivations.
Intrinsic motivation is different. It is driven by rewards that are intrinsic and internal. Intrinsic motivation lasts longer. Furthermore, it can be stronger than extrinsic motivation. That’s because people find interior reasons more compelling than extrinsic rewards. Here are 5 ways to foster intrinsic motivation at work.
Yet, when it comes to team engagement, you should use all you have. Anything at your disposal as long as you get the right results. Which means that even extrinsic rewards are useful and a good idea.
Ensuring that your team is engaged and ready to go is tricky. Without doubt it is the perpetual managerial challenge. Using modern means to do it is the way to go. After all, that’s what modern means are for. Shifting paradigms, stirring things up. If your team needs to be more engaged and motivated, perhaps it’s time to try something new.