Sharing key learning’s directly from industry is often the best way to share insights and provide guidance and market understanding to those who want to know more, specifically about a key industry sector. In this case study we explore how a business needs to adapt with the quick staff expansion and the case study is shared by Adapt To Change’s Su-Mari du Bruyn who is the co-founder of the company (http://www.adapttochange.co.za/). She is a qualified HR practitioner and logistics specialist, passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development.
CASE STUDY – Promoting teamwork
We were recently contracted by a client to assist them with a team intervention. They had appointed a significant number of new employees in a short span of time to deal with the growing demand from their customers and were experiencing some issues with successfully integrating these individuals to become a unified team.
There are a few things that can either promote teamwork or detract from it in a business. These areas were therefore a core part of what we focussed on in our work with them.
We advocate the use of umbrella goals, where the business identifies no more than five goals that apply to every single person throughout the entire business. Goal alignment is critical, as conflicting goals in a business are extremely dangerous, often causing individuals and teams to start working against each other.
2) Common ground
Our business is made up of individuals with completely different skills, experiences and backgrounds. What unifies us is our identity as Team Adapt To Change. Team Adapt To Change do things in a certain way. We have a behavioural code, a set of values which unifies us and which gives us an identity as a group. These company values that are the same for all us, drives how we operate every day and gives us common ground. Once that identity becomes entrenched in everyday operations it also brings with it a sense of pride to be part of this team.
Clear, honest and open communication is key to the existence of effective teamwork, but for this to exist there first needs to be trust. Trust does not come guaranteed with your job title – it is earned over time and it is based on consistency of behaviour.
4) Opportunities to interact
Any relationship requires some level of interaction – whether it is relationships between family members, friends or co-workers. That opportunity to interact gives us the environment to get to know each other, to connect, to identify things that we can relate on and to develop a better understanding of each other. There are typically three categories of interaction that we consider essential:
· Having fun together and laughing together – creating opportunities for people to interact socially
· Team meetings – creating opportunities for direct team members to communicate
· Cross functional objectives, cross functional projects or secondments – creating opportunities for indirect team members to build relationships
5) Reward and recognition
This is used to encourage the desired type of behaviour from employees.
The project stretched over a six month period to ensure that we truly embed the new behaviours as part of the team culture. The initial focus was to assist each individual to better manage themselves before working with them to improve their skills to better interact with each other. It was important not only to engage with the team members themselves, but also with leadership at a higher level within the organization so that they could develop a better understanding of how they contribute to creating an environment which either promotes teamwork or detracts from it.
After the first ten weeks we could already start to see a significant improvement in how the team members interacted with each other and by the end of the fourth month we could see a visible improvement in their performance. By the end of the project, team morale and performance had skyrocketed and they themselves could almost not believe how far they had come. They had truly evolved from being individuals in the workplace to being a successfully integrated, unified team.
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