Meanwhile, essential workers reported to work, masked up and ready to go. But teamwork faced stressors in those environments, too: safety, resources, turnover and other issues threatened the success of teams working in-person during the pandemic.
In-office operations are possible again these days, but many have decided to forgo a total return to the “before times.” And while workplace safety has grown more dependable, other problems spawned and strengthened by COVID still exist. So where does that leave teams?
Why is teamwork at risk?
The pandemic threatened the success of remote and in-person teams alike.
For workforces that could transition to online operations, many leaders attempted to galvanize teamwork by doubling down on employee engagement. This strategy wasn’t necessarily bad, but it didn’t always have the intended effect.
A recent Paychex poll asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of certain team-building measures. Nearly 40% of those whose leaders allowed them to vent about current events during meetings said they felt closer to their teams. Compare that to the 9% who said the same thing after attending virtual or in-person workplace social events.
All those online trivia nights and outdoor happy hours? They didn’t work.
Getting to good
If employee engagement isn’t the answer to broken team dynamics, what is?
A panel hosted in December by the Academy of Management discussed this very topic. California State University’s Hakan Ozcelik concluded that organizations must focus on respect and relationships as they set out to mend and bolster teamwork.
“Organizations and leadership should find ways to foster an emotional culture of love—my research indicates that relationships sustained people during turbulent or trying professional environments, much like we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Respect is a huge phenomena right now that we all have to think about—companies who foster a culture of respect will create great teams and will also allow the company to perform better over the long run.”
Hakan is right. Organizations can enable teams by respecting individuals, and I’m convinced that the best way to do that is through knowledge. When we understand how and why workers thrive, we can match them to the right teams and the right assignments, respecting their natural inclinations and passions better than we ever did before. With AI-driven insights into how workers operate, employers can study their teams in seconds to determine who excels where and why.
To find out how PeopleBest can help your team reach its potential, book a demo and set up a time to chat with one of our specialists.
PeopleBest is a revolutionary, simple and powerful way to capture the exact ‘DNA of success’ inside people, teams and companies