At a recent employment conference, I asked 300 executives and human resources professionals to identify:
Rather than cite a work team, the majority of attendees identified sports teams or public service organizations from their youth as being the most effective team.
Less than 5% of attendees identified the most effective team as being at a former employer. More surprising, perhaps, is that only 2% identified a team at their current organization.
Why did so few attendees identify their current employer, or any work group, as their most effective team?
Research has long shown that when organizations focus on training their leaders and building effective teams, organizations will reap significant rewards or returns on their investment. Such rewards or ROI apply not only to the individual work teams, but also to the organization as a whole.
Leadership development is linked closely with high-performing organizations. In BusinessWeek.com’s 2013 Best Companies for Leaders survey, 94% of the “best companies” said their organizations are actively involved in leadership development programs for “mission-critical roles,” compared with about two-thirds of respondents from other organizations.
For teams, benefits can include:
For the organization, high-performing teams can bring the following benefits:
Let’s move on to the second part of the exercise mentioned earlier: “What made the team effective.” Conference attendees shared common themes and specific examples of what their team leaders or coaches did to help build and foster an effective team environment. The common themes attendees shared included:
The average organization should do more to teach and reinforce all of the abilities in the list above. It’s not that business leaders consider these skills unimportant, it is just that many organizations are not allocating time or resources to train leaders on how to develop these very important skill-sets.
Building effective teams is hard work. Over the many years we have been conducting leadership trainings, these common themes have not changed. For example, building collaboration and trust between team members is a learned skill and one that can pay dividends if leveraged.
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A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reported 94% of leaders feel employee engagement is an important or very important workforce challenge. An engaged workforce increases operational income by over 19%, while a disengaged workforce can drain over 34% of an organizations’ operational income. Additional risks of low engagement can be seen in increased turnover, low customer satisfaction ratings and even increased employment litigation.
Employee retention continues to be a top concern for employers, even more so than last year, according to a PayScale survey of more than 4,000 executives and human resources professionals.
In 2014, a staggering 59% of employers were more concerned about retaining talent than anything else. Five years ago, only half of those employers thought retention was their number one concern.
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