Team work is a priority for most companies. Know the workplace rules for teams to perform consistently and deliver within the deadline.
1. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON: The team must be made aware that timely delivery of projects hinges on coordination and sharing of responsibilities between team members. Most projects go through an intense phase when the team cannot move forward without every single person doing their bit. The equation between team members are put to the test during this phase.
2. COMMON CAUSE: A key point to remember is that clients pay for the final output and not for individual contribution. Team awards and team recognition work as big incentives in this case. If, for some reason project delivery is delayed or not up to the mark, the entire team is pulled up. Similarly, credit for good work goes to the whole team.
3. YOUNG BLOOD: With the workforce getting much younger, the average age of employees has come down to 25. These new joinees are excellent at working in a team and respond well to instant recognition. Younger employees are more willing to see others' point of view, keen to impress and often have very good ideas borne of sheer enthusiasm. They bring a sense of team spirit to the table that's vibrant and dynamic.
4. BALANCE OF TALENT: The knowledge of experienced hands, who have had sustained insights into how to manage a team, complement the traits of this young, fresh-out-of-college corporates. When team members demonstrate very specific strengths that have minimal overlap, they complement each other and this acts as an incentive to work together.
5. CAMPUS TO CORPORATE: For campus recruits their first job is a way of navigating the transition from a campus to a workplace. Students are intrinsically better at working in groups and thrive on it. Workplaces should capitalise on this welcome attribute and induce the experienced members to make full use of their teammates' enthusiasm.
6. REWARD MECHANISM: Keep the spotlight on group recognition and group rewards to create an effective team. This works as a strong motivating factor and ensures healthy competition across teams. While individual recognition is a given, the team needs to be more valued. One winner is fine, but you don't want the others to feel like they have lost. An otherwise strong team can be brought down by the weakest link if everyone isn't on the same page.
7. DISPLAY OF METRICS: In case of large teams working on big projects that are critical for the company, it's important to bring in dimensions of performance overview. Team metrics have lists of individual contributors and these are updated daily listing the topper of the day and indirectly, who's lagging behind. The instant publishing of performance sets the bar, which helps in streamlining aspects of functioning. Once that competitiveness comes in, people instinctively try harder because they don't want to be at the bottom.
8. NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND: In any team, there are expectations with regard to work ethics or performance. If these are not lived up to, team leaders cannot take the easy way out by asking for a reshuffle of members. A lot of importance is given to equipping people with the skills to perform a certain role and this brings a clear objective to the operation. In the event of a team having difficulty in dealing with a member, it has to be assessed to identify the shortfall. It's also important to recognise if it's an attitude issue, which needs to be handled delicately. Follow it up with specialised training to address the problem instead of writing the person off.
(The author is Vice President and HR head, Capgemini India)