It’s widely accepted that teamwork is a Good Thing. You’ll hear few sensible people saying, “Teamwork? Pah! What a waste of time!” But what is it about teamwork that makes promoting it a key priority for HR, and for organisations generally?
Knowing the value of teamwork can help HR make a strong case to management on various policy issues, from learning and development to workplace culture. So here are the key reasons teamwork is so important in the workplace.
1. Teamwork is efficient work
A key pillar of the industrial revolution, a foundation of modern civilisation, was the division of labour. And that’s just another way to say teamwork.
Employee teamwork enables your workforce to:
- Split difficult tasks into simpler ones, then work together to complete them faster
- Develop specialised skills, so that the best person for each task can do it better and faster
In a nutshell, teams make work more efficient. That can lead to better productivity, reduced costs, greater profitability, and many other benefits.
2. Teams self-monitor
When one person does a task alone, they have total autonomy — but if that person starts to work slowly or ineffectively, who will set them straight? Nobody, that’s who.
In teamwork, many people have responsibility for the same goal. Most significantly, teammates observe and depend on the quality of each other’s work. When one team member’s performance dips, the others have the knowledge and motivation to help them improve. Without management intervention, effective teams can often regulate their own performance.
3. Teams innovate faster
For any task or problem, there are usually countless solutions. When one employee tackles a project, they might be able to think of a few different ideas given time. But when a team tackles a problem, the project benefits from multiple perspectives, skillsets, and experiences all at once.
A team approach can therefore lead to faster, deeper innovation.
4. Teammates learn from each other
Imagine you have a workforce of 10 designers all working in separate rooms. Each designer works to their own strengths and suffers from their own weaknesses, with nobody to teach or learn from.
Now put them all in the same room, on the same project. Working together, they’ll soon learn each other’s strengths and correct each other’s mistakes. And everyone’s performance will improve.
5. Teamwork can create healthy competition
But what happens to that same team of 10 designers a year down the line, when they’ve learnt all they can from each other? They’ll soon start to compete with one another, to prove their ability and chase promotion or other incentives within your organisation.
Provided the right challenge and rewards are in place to promote competition, team performance can keep improving.
6. Teamwork promotes strong working relationships
Finally, when employees work together and succeed as a team, they form bonds that can turn into trust and friendship. It’s human nature. And it’s great for your organisation, since employees who like and trust each other are more likely to:
- Communicate well with each other
- Support and motivate each other
- Work cooperatively
It’s little wonder successful organisations value teamwork so highly.