“Team work makes the dream work”, might be a cliche, but putting the right group of people together and getting them to work well can pay real dividends for your business.
Whether it’s carers in a care home, waitstaff in a busy restaurant or bar or salespeople making sure your customers get the attention and the advice they deserve, trust is the most important factor in good customer service and more repeat customers.
Team building serves many purposes. And when you get it right, bigger challenges — from growing sales to reducing employee churn — become easier.
Team work helps foster productive communications among your staff, strengthens relationships and allows everyone to more fully participate in the development of your company’s culture. It also helps establish trust among your employees, in turn ensuring that everyone feels heard, respected, and like a true, active part of the team.
Trust within your organisation is integral to a positive working environment. It’s also a vital business investment. Salesforce data suggests 95 per cent of people who trust a company or business are likely to be loyal to it and buy again, and 86 per cent are likely to recommend your company to someone else.
But within the team — no matter whether that’s 25 waitstaff at a busy bar or 1,000 customer service specialists at a call centre or somewhere in between — trust is an essential part of human relationships in which we all must invest to grow and develop in business.
Why worry about trust?
Trust improves morale and helps team members work together more efficiently. It’s also one of the keys to inspiring everyone to work their best. And with so much riding on it, it makes sense to prioritise different ways to build trust in your organisation, both between team members and between teams and management.
You can’t talk team building without talking trust.
Both passive and active team building activities work to improve the interpersonal relationships of your workforce and create stronger bonds of mutual trust, and they do in a myriad of ways — including the four below.
1. It Helps Team Members See Each Other as People
The individuals who make up your team are all people with their own personalities, skills and interests. But too often those unique traits are overshadowed by the necessities of everyday work life and it can be difficult to get to know people as… well… people!
By encouraging your team to interact with each other in new ways, you give everyone a chance to show a bit more of themselves. Team building gives your employees the opportunity to share personal stories, highlight unique skills and get to know each other better. And that’s a win for everyone.
2. It Brings Any Existing Trust Issues Out Into the Open
Many team building activities are designed around trust — trust in decision making, trust in communication, and trust in each other. If your team has existing trust issues, they’re going to be illuminated by the team building process, and that’s actually a good thing!
Shining a light on any established cracks in team trust is the first step in resolving them. But that starts with good communication and an open dialogue among your team. The more you can identify where the obstacles to true confidence are in the team and in each other, the more efficiently you can work to get past them.
3. It Encourages Honest Communication
Trusting relationships are built on communication. It’s important that your team members know how to communicate with each other and that they feel safe speaking their mind.
When you engage in team building activities, you open the lines of communication that, when closed, stand in the way of creating a trusting atmosphere. Employees who feel like they can be honest and receive honesty in return are more likely to trust not just their colleagues but the entire culture of the company.
4. It Builds Camaraderie
In a perfect world, all members of your team would actually like each other and get along. In the real world, the dynamics of your team don’t always operate so smoothly.
If you’re scheduling healthcare staff, for example, it’s about balancing the skills and qualifications of different team members to give the best care. For bar staff, it’s making sure people have the flexibility they expect and deserve. But no matter who your scheduling or the job they need to do, you want your staff to get along and work well together.
And while there’s no rule that says your employees have to be friends, team building assists in the development of certain factors that are at the foundation of a friendly relationship — including trust.
It’s human nature to have more trust in people who you get along with, but unfortunately, the workplace doesn’t always afford many opportunities to engage in the sorts of activities that build this sort of essential collegial spirit. Team building can help fill in the gaps left by other work activities, turning coworkers into respectful acquaintances, and more often than not, friends.
All organisations can benefit from more trust in the workplace. Bring more team building activities to the table and see just how quickly interpersonal confidence can grow.
To read more about how to build an effective team in your business — including some of our favourite activities to help your people understand each other better — read our complete guide here and share your favourites on LinkedIn.