The Impact of a Team on Your Bottom Line
By Dawn Robson
We all know the sayings: “Two heads are better than one” and “many hands make light work”. If you are able to incorporate these philosophies into your business practices, the impact will provide positive results to your bottom line.
The benefits of a shared understanding/vision and desire to collaborate and support each other cannot be understated. If people are able to work together with a common purpose and show respect and appreciation for each other’s contributions, then their ability to collaborate is enhanced. While all participants have a role to play in the process, as a leader with an eye to the financial results, you have the added responsibility to promote and support this behaviour, both for the benefit of your team and your business.
Employees should understand the business’ focus, direction and values, and ideally how these align to their own. When people feel a lack of alignment within their team, the consequences can be negative. According to a Salesforce.com study, 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team negatively impacts the outcome of a task or project. You need to do what you can to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
It is vital to promote strong communication within your team. Your front line workers may be dealing directly with customers and receiving customer feedback that should be shared with their colleagues on the “back end” to improve product offerings and/or processes. In other situations, employees can experience frustrations and aggravations with current operational issues or processes that they are unable to correct from their position in the organization. If you listen and learn from them, you may benefit from new ideas and efficiencies that could generate additional revenue or save time and money. In addition, having their suggestions listened to and possibly acted upon, will help employees feel valued as an important part of your team.
A collaborative approach to solving challenges is often more effective than one taken in isolation. The varying perspectives and skills offered by team members who can communicate and work as a team will lead to solutions that are comprehensive and balanced. In addition, the propensity for subsequent buy-in is further enhanced if people feel that they have had input into a proposed resolution, and they would likely work harder to support the work.
According to The Economist, 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal to their company. When people feel like they are part of a team, they are more inclined to put additional effort into their work, and this can manifest itself in a variety of ways, as outlined below:
- Within a retail, hospitality or health care environment, a staff member may pick up an additional shift because a colleague or friend is away, or jump in to help if things get busy. This level of support can help avoid a reduction in service and/or a short term closure of the facility.
- Within a construction or manufacturing setting, a team environment could mean looking out for the safety of others and offering a hand if something is going awry. These collaborative efforts could help reduce workplace accidents, the resulting impact on the employee, as well as increases in WorkSafe premiums.
- Within every work environment, if employees are able to understand the current business demands, they can help support those who are in a stressful position based on their work priorities.
- In the long term, if you are able to support improved collaboration and teamwork, the increased retention will mean a reduction in recruitment and training costs.
Promoting a team environment does take a concerted effort, and there may be some costs involved. Creating opportunities for team members to get to know each other on both a personal as well as professional level will help to enhance their understanding of each other. With individuals from different age groups, cultural backgrounds and interests, it is important to demonstrate and encourage understanding; and to do so in a practical and interactive way.
As a leader in your organization, your team is your most important asset! By encouraging collaboration among your team members, you will achieve greater business success.