11 Powerful benefits of teamwork [Backed by data]

Cast your mind back to the last award ceremony you watched. What’s the one thing successful people invariably mention as they step up to the podium to accept an award? 

Yup, that’s right. 

The people who supported them.

Whether it’s J.K Rowling collecting a Lifetime Achievement Award or Bob Dylan accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, you’ll always hear a phrase equal or similar to: “I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of…”

As George Shinn, former owner of Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets once said:

"There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others."

This notion applies equally to businesses and entrepreneurs. To achieve great things, you need to build a team that’s connected, competent and autonomous. 

In this article, we take a look at the 11 powerful benefits of teamwork for your business.

1. Teamwork leads to enhanced creativity and helps businesses to innovate faster

A paper published in 2010, entitled Leadership Development: The Key to Unlocking Individual Creativity in Organizations, defined creativity as “the process of forming novel, useful and appropriate ideas in order to solve problems and increase effectiveness.” (Houghton, 2010)

Under the constant threat of disruptive startups, established organisations are forced to tap into emerging markets and find improvements to existing services through creative innovation.

These innovations—whether they be minor improvements to existing processes or groundbreaking product offerings—are always preceded by effective idea generation.

High-performing teams can generate promising ideas quickly because employers have cultivated an environment that breeds creativity and builds trust between employees. 

Dr Will Schutz, a leading psychologist and practitioner of self-development, claimed that 10 obstacles hinder creativity:

When you provide a safe place for your employees to share their ideas, creative juices can flow freely, increasing the chances of uncovering game-changing ideas.

2. Diverse teams experience reduced confirmation bias

Surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals does wonders for our self-esteem because we’re constantly validated in our decision-making, but this can have dire consequences for businesses.

Ingroup favouritism is the tendency for individuals to favour the opinions of those with similar beliefs or motivations to their own. This causes teams to invest time and effort into ideas or solutions that haven’t been sufficiently validated.

That’s why effective teams are diverse—comprised of various ethnicities, genders, ages and religions. Diversity is needed to objectively appraise the ideas put forward by your employees. 

Paul Block, CEO of U.S. sweetener manufacturer Merisant, once said, “Diversity creates dissent, and you need that. Without it, you’re not going to get any deep inquiry or breakthroughs”.

A study by Mckinsey & Company entitled Diversity Matters, revealed a “statistically significant connection between diversity and financial performance.”

3. High-performing teams are more confident when taking risks

As the old saying goes: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It’s a phrase we often use to remind ourselves that sometimes we need to grit our teeth, slide our chips to the centre of the table, show our hand and hope for the best.

Taking risks alone, however, can have dire consequences. What if you lose? Who will be there to bail you out when things go south?

Without a good support network, your employee’s aversion to risk is likely to be much higher. Instead of placing a high stake, they’re more likely to call “check” and allow fear to dictate their actions, thus reducing their chances of hitting the jackpot.

Employees in strong teams aren’t afraid to take risks because they know there’s a group of supportive individuals on standby to pick up the pieces if things go wrong. This instils confidence in individuals and increases the chances of them coming forward with potentially groundbreaking ideas.

A recent study showed, “Expected workplace outcomes are enhanced by successful risk-taking and that failure does not appear to significantly harm expected workplace outcomes for risk-takers.”

4. Teamwork helps your employees to overcome challenges more effectively

Success is underpinned by effective teamwork. 

That applies as much to sport, combat and academia as it does to business. High-functioning teams trust each other, share common values, communicate effectively and assign tasks to the members with the most relevant skill sets.

In business, your team needs to be aligned to overcome challenges as quickly and effectively as possible. 

A Mckinsey study found that 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.

5. Harmonious teams are more productive in meetings

When your team is aligned, employees arrive at meetings with the desired outcome already in mind and leave with an actionable roadmap. Less time is wasted on unproductive conversations and employee conflicts.

In a recent article published by Harvard Business Review, Dr Ron Friedman, an award-winning psychologist and the founder of Ignite80 wrote, “Effective teams are ​​significantly more likely to require prework from participants (39% more likely), introduce an agenda (26% more likely) and begin with a check-in that keeps team members apprised of one another’s progress (55% more likely).”

6. Employees who like their team are less likely to seek employment elsewhere

It pays to hang on to your employees. 

In the U.S., it costs companies approximately $4,425 to hire a new employee and $14,936 to hire an executive. And that doesn’t include the impact employee turnover has on other metrics like employee morale, engagement and company culture.

Developing a strong team is the key to reducing your bottom line and holding on to top talent. A study by Gusto revealed: “54% of employees say a strong sense of community (great coworkers, celebrating milestones, a common mission) kept them at a company longer.”

7. Engaged teams go the extra mile at work

When your team is performing well, employees are more engaged, efficient and inspired.

Streamlined communication minimises friction in the completion of daily processes and reduces bottlenecks. A recent study by Gallup found that highly engaged teams show a 21% increase in profitability.

Because high-performing teams rely on each other to get the job done, employees are more likely to complete tasks to the best of their ability. 

In a survey of more than 200,000 employees, TINYpulse reported “respect for peers” as the #1 reason participants went the extra mile at work.

8. Effective teamwork increases employee job satisfaction

High-performing teams acknowledge the contributions of their peers, support each other when the going gets tough and help one another grow by sharing their experiences and skills. 

When all of these factors come together, employees feel happier and more satisfied at work.

Atlassian surveyed more than 1,000 team members across a range of industries and found that when honest feedback, mutual respect, and personal openness were encouraged, team members were 80% more likely to report higher emotional well-being.

Another contributing factor to job satisfaction is employee autonomy. People like to feel they are trusted by their employers to take responsibility for important tasks. This is something good teams do well—they share tasks between the group and trust each other to complete the job successfully.

When Gallup surveyed teamwork in the workplace, they found that employees who use their strengths independently are 6x more likely to be engaged in doing their jobs and have a better quality of life

9. Employees support each other and become more competent

When your team is performing well, your employees' abilities to complete challenging tasks compound over time. That’s because high-performing teams learn from one another’s mistakes and share their experiences and skills. This creates a culture of growth, where employees are constantly evolving as they gain insight from their peers.

As part of a team, employees become aware of what they struggle with and what they excel at. An employee might, for example, discover they possess excellent attention to detail, while they struggle to maintain a broad overview of the challenge.

By identifying their talents and those of their colleagues, an employee can thrive in areas in which they feel comfortable and delegate tasks that cause them stress or anxiety.

10. Winning teams lure in top talent

When people see a close-knit team, they immediately want to be part of it. 

As Adam Hickman, the senior workplace strategist at Gallup put it during his interview with Jim Collison, “Strong teams are magnets for talent. And I don't think you need a number for this, because [you see it] in pretty much any sports or any other industries.”

Attracting top talent is a major priority for successful companies. A whitepaper by Talent Growth Advisors stated that 90% of the value of leading companies such as Facebook can be attributed to intangible assets, specifically to its people. 

Building a strong team helps to attract top talent, which contributes to the improvement of the organisations’ business performance and results.

11. Employees are less likely to experience burnout

Employee burnout has become a major concern for employers. In a survey of over 1000 respondents by Deloitte, 77% say they have experienced burnout at their current job. 

Burnout occurs when employees take on more work than they can handle, causing stress levels to rise to intolerable levels.

Having a supportive team around you when the going gets tough is invaluable. High-performing teams recognise when individuals are straining under the pressure of their workload, and quickly step in to lend a helping hand. 

Ringo Star, vocalist and drummer for The Beatles put it perfectly when he sang, “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.”

How can you build your own top-level team? 

Winning teams aren’t created by chance. To reap the benefits of effective teamwork, top businesses invest time and money to build cohesive teams that achieve great things.

Surf Office works with major organisations such as Google, Hotjar and Shopify to organise unforgettable team-building retreats for their employees.

These team-building retreats are specifically engineered to develop the key pillars of effective teams including communication, employee autonomy, creative thinking and much more.

If you’re ready to harness the benefits of great teamwork, contact Surf Office so we can start planning your company team-building retreat today.

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