Rebuilding teams and strengthening relationships to navigate recovery from the pandemic is a critical need for all businesses. We all would like to think we understand the basics of team-building but in this unique environment, we are facing many new situations.
Returning to the office creates new dynamics that many have never experienced. And we are experiencing them for the first time often with an entirely new group of people. Gone are the formal and informal gatherings that were once so familiar. Meeting your new colleagues for the first time face-to-face may require some special considerations on the part of every individual.
Acknowledging past successes, shared humor, showing partiality for tasks, and bouncing ideas off each other are natural but proceed with sensitivity for new colleagues. Remember, now is the time to be inclusive. For your post-pandemic teams to succeed, it is important for everyone to feel like they belong and have an opportunity to be productive.
“Leadership in this environment is more important than ever before,” says CEO Chris Schoettelkotte of Manhattan Resources. “When leaders lead through active involvement with their teams, they set the right example and environment for developing strong relationships.”
Assess Your Business Needs and Apply Smart Structures for Rebuilding Teams
Teams are not one size fits all. A safety team might be quite different from a manufacturing team. A development team is not the same as a change management team. Take a hard look at your needs and goals. These will influence the types of teams that you will need to run each aspect of your business. Surprisingly, despite the role, the team might look very different from your pre-pandemic team.
Due to the persistence of the pandemic, it is a good idea to look at alternating leaders for all of your teams. Make sure that everyone on the team is familiar with more than one role and show your appreciation for their importance to the team.
“Manhattan Resource specializes in helping our clients build smart teams to them weather difficult scenarios,” Schoettelkotte says. ” “We are living in unpredictable times, but they don’t have to control our day-to-day business. We can ensure our employees a work environment that will empower them to do their best.”
Rebuilding Teams Provides a Strong Framework to Support Employees
Your employees are ambassadors for your business. Their good health and strong performance is the most important thing in the world for your business. Ensuring that your teams form a strong bond is a very good idea. You will recognize a strong team by these dynamics:
- Sense of belonging and alliance
- Trust and openness
- Shared purpose
- Diversity and inclusion
- Responsible decision making
- Willingness to correct mistakes
- Participative leadership
What Can Be Done in the Traditional Environment for Rebuilding Teams
There are a number of actions to take in the team environment toward the goal of rebuilding teams effectively. Everyone on the team should agree to the following:
- Always be open to suggestions and concerns, offering help and asking questions.
- Consider each idea is important.
- Establish team values and goals together.
- Evaluate team performance together.
- Work on creative solutions together.
- Mediate and resolve minor disputes.
- Stay focused on the team’s higher goals.
- Make sure you have a clear idea of what needs to be accomplished.
- Ensure that every team member understands their responsibility.
- Be aware of any unspoken feelings.
- Emphasize the importance of every team member’s contribution.
- Balance the load when possible and recognize those who carry more burden.
A Little Company Fun Can Bolster Rebuilding Teams
Outdoor activities at the office, a park, or in the backyard are a great place for teams and the entire company to unwind a bit. As we have seen from some of the alcohol-fueled eruptions on flights, it might be a good idea to limit alcohol consumption or go alcohol-free. Be creative. An informal gathering offers a chance to catch up on life, talk over work challenges in person, and relax with people you’ve only seen through a video screen for the past 18 months.
If you are fortunate enough to have the right environment to make it a social event in the workspace, by all means, do so. An ice cream social or a build your own burrito/taco event can be a lot of fun. Or invite a few food trucks and foot the bill for all of your employees to dine under tents in the parking lot. Another fun idea is to have a company barbecue and bring a well-known pitmaster to do the honors.
Finally, add some group games and photo ops for the whole crew:
- A photo stand-in or Sproftacchel (face in the hole board)
- Murder mystery game
- Office Olympics
- Then and now game – identify co-workers based on their childhood photos
- Beach volleyball – bring in the sand for the event and decorate like the beach
Cross-pollinate your internal teams and allow them to compete against one another if you really want to get everyone fully involved.
Make Company Meetings a Memorable Event for Rebuilding Teams
Take the time now to make your company meetings special by asking for a round of personal updates, jokes, or other non-work-related items. Be inclusive with the safety starter and be sure to give each new person a heads-up so that they can prepare in advance to do their safety session.
Create a special round-up competition to end each meeting. Select three different employees each meeting to compete. Give each one a token for participating and a gift to the winner who gets the loudest applause. The competitors can present a fun fact that everyone should know. Limit presentations to one minute each.
Feature your company fun facts and the presenters for the month on your intranet.
Company Leaders Make Great Impressions with Regular Walkabouts
Get up and walk around the office. These walkabouts can show great results. Visit your colleagues but keep any personal questions high level. See how they are adjusting to their return to the office. Listen to their responses. Bring two bottles of water when you stop by and knock before you enter. Ask if they have five minutes for a quick visit. Leave when five minutes are up to show that you are respectful of their time. If the conversation is going well, mention that five minutes is up but you can stay a bit longer if they would like.
Coming back to the office will be a celebration for some people. However, it could be stressful for others. Maybe they have children or elders at home and are having difficulty finding dependable care. Be sensitive and light with your conversation. If you do sense stress, encourage them to speak with someone in HR about resources the company might have available. Even the best employees are going through difficult times that require adjustments.
Professional Development Programs Aid in Rebuilding Teams
Professional development is another great way to rebuild teams. Plus these programs help identify future leaders, improve retention, and strengthen relationships among participants. Group training in critical skills such as cyber response, public speaking, media skills, and managing hybrid or virtual teams can really establish lasting bonds. Organized mentorships can also provide an important source of guidance, motivation, support, and role modeling. Manhattan Resources can assist in developing programs that help you grow your retention and professional development programs.
About Manhattan Resources
Manhattan Resources is a retained executive search and advisory services firm with deep experience assisting our clients in building high-performance teams. We specialize in oil & gas, retail energy, power & utilities, petrochemicals, manufacturing, distribution, and engineering. For this reason, Manhattan Resources invites you to experience an executive search and business solutions partner like no other. As always, we’re there to help you fill mission-critical leadership roles, build high-performance teams, and tackle your most significant challenges. We measure our success the same way you do. Making sure your team is exceeding corporate objectives and measuring how much our people move the needle for your company. Manhattan Resources has the agility, innovation, and business acumen to assume a bold approach. As a result, we will help you take your business to the next level. Find out how the experts can help. Contact Us >>.