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Building a Better Team Culture

Building a Better Team Culture - Infographic

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"If you want your people to be exceptional, you have to have an exceptional culture."

-Galen Emanuele-

Have you heard? We've entered the age of the "great resignation" — the name given to the recent phenomena of large numbers of people quitting their jobs. Several factors are driving the trend and not wanting to be at a company with a bad culture is near the top of the list. This decentralized form of unionization has caught the attention of organizational leaders who are asking themselves, "how can we be an organization that attracts amazing people instead of repelling them?"

Great Culture Is the Answer

Culture has long been a favorite buzzword for consultants to describe the overall personality of an organization. According to Open Sourced Workplace, team culture is how a group of people behave and think. It originates from the attitudes and belief systems they share and affects their ability to achieve goals and objectives.

A company’s culture describes its overall tone and vibe. Warm and welcoming or cold and hostile? Are people empowered to work or limited by bureaucracy? And usually most important is do they feel that management and leadership have their back, care about them, and keep them informed of what’s going on and why?

Why Culture Matters

Today's best employees will not waste their efforts, time, or life using their talents at an organization whose values are not in line with their own. It's that simple. This is why it's imperative to actively cultivate a healthy culture at your organization. Which leads to the obvious question — how?

The 3 Tips for Creating a Winning Team Culture

Creating a team culture is almost a science at this point. Books have been written about it, annual conferences are devoted to it, and consultants specialize in it. And while those resources are helpful, you don’t need them to get started. We'll begin by covering the fundamentals with the hope that it'll inspire ideas on how to apply the concepts at your organization.

1. Foster Trust In Everything

Without a doubt, trust is the most important ingredient in a healthy workplace culture. Trust is the basis by which all relationships function. Its presence determines if people feel like they’re in a safe space to do their best work or a place where they need to keep their guard up. Michelle Burke, CEO of the Energy Catalyst Group, an organizational coaching firm, says teams that trust each other are happier, more productive, and more engaged in their work.

An HBR article titled “The Neuroscience of Trust” outlines how leaders can create a culture of trust in their organizations. And it probably isn’t surprising that being transparent, sharing information equally, recognizing excellence, and allowing people to perform without being micromanaged are all good habits.

Another important part of building trust is establishing camaraderie personally as people. Regularly spending time together outside of work activities can facilitate that. Participate in team-building exercises. Have an outing. Get to know each other as humans — that's what we all are (at least until the robots take over).

2. Work Toward Your Goals

What's your purpose? What do you want to achieve? A clear, shared mission gives a team a sense of purpose and direction. Corey Moseley, an author specializing in company culture, says, "A strong organizational culture keeps core values front and center in all aspects of its operations and organizational structure."

A disconnect between an organization's stated pursuits and where teams spend their time sends mixed signals, and inconsistency is like kryptonite to a healthy culture. Keep your stated purpose at the forefront and resist any attempts to introduce distractions, especially those that reek of busy work.

If your company would benefit (and most would) from reviewing its goals from a fresh perspective, check out Simon Sinek’s book, "Start With Why." It provides a lot of practical insight to help you audit your processes to make sure you're spending time on the things that matter most.

3. Invest In Your People

Markets, industries, and the world are ever-changing, and organizations that want to lead the pack need to be agile and adapt. Ongoing education has to be a big part of that picture. Goal-oriented learning supports innovation, organizational growth, and employee retention.

As a Bersin & Associates report pointed out, "The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization's learning culture." A Linkedin Learning report revealed, "94% of employees said investment in training and development is one of the major reasons they would decide to stay in a role for longer."

Facilitate learning by building it into your operations. Send people to industry conferences, encourage your people to speak at them. Start a lunch-and-learn program. Bring in coaches and consultants. The possibilities are endless. Come together as a team and brainstorm the best ways to introduce new knowledge.

Great Culture Doesn’t Happen By Accident

Promoting a healthy, positive, and productive culture requires ongoing effort but starting by emphasizing employee wellness, participating in team-building exercises (the fun ones), and creating processes that enable people to do their best work can lay a solid foundation upon which to build an authentic culture.

Other Resources

The Global Culture Report is a helpful resource to learn about current trends, statistics, and how employees feel about their workplace cultures. It has valuable information you can apply when creating the policies, procedures, environment, and other factors that shape the culture at your organization.

And, perhaps most importantly, a great culture starts with great people who are passionate about the work they do, care about their teammates, and are enthusiastic about the opportunity in front of them. Finding those people can be challenging, but TeammateMe makes it easy to build the perfect team.

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