Category Archives: Employee Retention

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Recognizing Top Talent with Benchmarking and Performance Models

Recognizing your top employees allows you to improve your hiring and selection process, recognize which factors contribute to individual success, and train for those factors across your organization. However, recognizing what constitutes success can often be difficult, especially in large organizations where teams often succeed as a whole.

Identifying top performers inside your organization means establishing a system of benchmarking and performance modeling, so you can recognize what counts as success, and track who meets or exceeds those requirements.

Implement Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an easy way to establish baselines for performance. In most cases, benchmarks should be a combination of internal and external data, based on existing performance and performance standards for your industry. If you don’t have this data, you do need it. Your internal benchmark should be based on:

  • What does performance production look like in measurable output?
  • What is median performance?
  • What is minimum performance required to meet goals?
  • How does that performance compare to other similarly sized organizations in your industry?

If you can draw a line in the figurative sand to indicate where performance should be, you can measure how and when people meet those expectations.

Performance Models

Performance models take a deeper look at what people are doing, why, and how. This allows you to judge performance and talent based on more than simple production. Why? Production can be misleading as a measure of desired output. For example, if your team lead is producing a great deal, he’s probably not doing his job.

Similarly, if a communications head is turning around a lot of copy, he’s probably not doing his job. In both cases, the actual job for the individual isn’t about technical production, it’s about helping others to do their jobs.

Performance models allow you to identify other factors that contribute to organizational performance in that role, including soft skills like communication or self-motivation. This allows you to track who’s simply doing their job and who’s actively contributing to future success by exceeding it.

A good performance model requires having benchmarks or performance standards in place. Afterwards, you can communicate expectations, establish tools and training for individuals to meet those expectations, and set up processes to monitor how people meet or do not meet those standards.

Performance models include profiles of expected or quality performance, rank everyone against expected performance, and make it very easy to see who excels and how. For example, if two people are excelling in the same role for completely different reasons, you can collect that data and see how it impacts the individual and their ability to perform.

Identifying top performers allows you to look at the traits, behaviors, and qualities that allow them to succeed. You can then utilize that data in recruitment and selection processes, when training and working on development, and when promoting individuals into new roles, because you already know what success looks like in that role.

It also allows you to better identify who is a top performer in your organization, so you can reward, promote, and continue development for those individuals.


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How to hire for loyalty

With the average cost of hiring a new employee ranging anywhere from USD$4,000 to USD$7,645 and beyond, it’s no surprise that hiring for loyalty is at the top of any HR department’s agenda. But how exactly do you hire for loyalty and, once you’ve hired who you think is a loyal employee, how do you ensure that they stay?

The importance of employee loyalty

The benefits of a loyal employee extend far beyond the costs of recruiting their replacement. A loyal employee also brings:

  • Efficiency – the longer someone is in their role, the more efficient they become at tasks;
  • Progression – long-serving employees tend to build their careers within a company, bringing you home-grown talent;
  • Performance – loyal employees care about the growth of the company; and
  • Culture – loyal employees help to maintain a positive workplace culture.

How to hire for loyalty

The benefits are clear, but hiring for loyalty can be easier said than done – with even your most promising long-term staff unexpectedly handing in their notice. The problem is that many companies focus on only one aspect of recruiting for loyalty when, in fact, they should be focusing on three:

1. Attraction

First, you need to attract loyal candidates to your vacancy, encouraging them to apply. This is done by:

  • Building an employer brand through recommendations, a dedicated careers webpage, and social media – somewhere that people aspire to work;
  • Offering a competitive salary – it’s not the biggest driver of employee satisfaction, but it is a driver;
  • Offering worthwhile benefits – sure artificial grass and an inside slide are fun, but top employee perks such as flexible working, free childcare, and remote working are better long-term; and
  • Making the interview process as flexible as you can – it’s your first impression after all.

2. Selection

Once you’ve attracted candidates to apply to your position, next, you need to determine which of those candidates will be most loyal, while still fulfilling all the requirements of the role. Achieve this by:

  • Looking beyond qualifications – while skills matching important, but you also want to see qualities such as a willingness to learn, a passion for performance, and an ability to get on with people;
  • Asking candidates for the reasons behind leaving previous positions – previous job hopping isn’t necessarily a bad sign, it might be for the reason that there wasn’t a career-for-life for them there;
  • Assessing cultural fit – we all know how difficult it is to stay loyal when you really don’t fit in; and
  • Trusting employee referrals – current employees will refer family and friends because they see them fitting in, doing well, and staying.

3. Retention

Finally, once you’ve attracted and hired your employee, you then need to make them want to stay. This is done by demonstrating the company’s loyalty and trustworthiness by:

  • Keeping salaries competitive – conduct regular market reviews;
  • Delivering the benefits promised – if you said you offered free breakfast on a Friday, offer free breakfast on a Friday;
  • Use employee engagement techniques to empower employees to perform, learn, and progress – and rewarding them when they do; and
  • Ensuring that everyone has the tools to do their job and a voice to contribute to the company’s strategy.

Hiring for loyalty – key message

Ultimately, to hire for loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty – making employees feel proud and valued, which makes potential employees want to work for you and stay with you. And, if it doesn’t work out – so be it – your next hire can be even better.


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6 ways to encourage employee retention

You’ve built the perfect team. They’re talented, they complement each other’s skills, they perform outstandingly, they’re a joy to work with, and they create a positive culture. The only problem? You can’t sleep at night for fear that they might hand in their notice. Employee retention is a hot HR issue, which is why we’re covering the top six ways to encourage employee retention (and get a full night’s sleep).

The importance of employee retention

When you have a great employee – you want to keep them. Not just because you like them but because employee retention brings benefits including:

 

  • Cost savings – replacement recruitment can cost from USD$4,000 to beyond;
  • Performance – when an employee leaves, the performance of the whole team suffers until a replacement is recruited and up-to-scratch;
  • Competition – when you have the best talent, you have a competitive advantage;
  • Culture – high-turnover feeds negative cultures; low-turnover creates positive cultures that attracts positive employees.

Six ways to encourage employee retention

Put simply, you don’t want to let go of your best performers. But how do you go about keeping them and encouraging employee retention?

1. Hire well

An employee’s potential loyalty should be assessed at the very beginning of the recruitment process. During the interview ask candidates why they left their previous positions, assess their career objectives against what you can offer, and determine their cultural fit. If flags are raised – take your time to find the right hire.

2. Reward sufficiently

Money is important, but it’s not everyone’s loyalty motivator. Offer a competitive salary (one that enables the employee to afford to say) and complement it with the top employee perks and benefits that are valuable to employees. Examples include free parking, flexible working, gym membership, childcare, and remote working – benefits that mean something and would be difficult to give up.

3. Offer culture

Culture is crucial when it comes to retention. It determines how an employee feels when they step into work, how much freedom they are given to perform their role, how their performance is rewarded, and how much they can contribute to the company’s vision and strategy. Actively create a positive culture that makes employees want to stay.

4. Develop careers

A strong learning culture can lead to 30-50% increased retention rates. Instead of just offering a job, offer employees a career – one with the necessary tools, learning, opportunities, responsibilities, and employee empowerment to develop in. And, when employees achieve within that career, be generous with both praise and recognition.

5. Give employees a voice

Loyalty is a two-way street. Create an environment that encourages two-way communication, open doors, regular feedback, and transparent business performance. Not only does this involve the employee in the company’s journey, but it also provides an opportunity for pain-points to be raised, heard, and solved.

6. Celebrate

It’s also important to celebrate your employees. Highlight loyalty, praise performance, put out cakes for anniversaries, and make your company a fun company to thrive in.

Encouraging retention – the magic ingredient

What do all of these steps have in common? Engagement. Employee engagement is one of the biggest motivators for loyalty. It makes employees feel empowered, listened to, valued, and needed. Who wouldn’t want to stay in an environment like that?


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5 Budget Friendly Ways to Show Your Team Appreciation

Showing appreciation to your team is one of the easiest ways to keep morale up, to offer motivation, and to encourage individuals to continue to excel. But, while fiscal appreciation is often the first-choice for large organizations, you don’t have to shower employees with large cash bonuses, expensive holidays, or company cars to show appreciation. Showing team appreciation can be budget friendly, and you might be surprised at how effective simple and small measures can be.

These 5 budget friendly ways to show your team appreciation will get you started.

Celebrate Small Wins

Setting small goals and celebrating winning them is one of the easiest ways to make employees feel accomplished and appreciated. For example, if your team completes everything on a to-do list last minute and smashes a goal, even without long-term planning, taking a 5-minute meeting to recognize everyone, sending an email, or otherwise simply acknowledging and celebrating it is a great idea.

Similarly, you could organize small parties, events or potlucks to celebrate finishing large goals. How? Is your team nearing the end of a spring? Organize a pizza party on the last day. Finished a year-long goal or objective? Organize an after-work social gathering (not necessarily but hopefully paid by the organization) or so on. Simply organizing a place to say thank you, showing up, sharing gratitude, and spending a small amount of money will go a long way towards saying “I appreciate you”.

Call Out Individual and Team Accomplishments

Weekly or morning meetings are an excellent place to share appreciation for teams and individuals. Here, you can take a moment to say, “I really appreciate how hard everyone is working on this”, or “That idea Dave submitted last week has really helped, thank you. I’d like everyone to feel free to step forward in the future”.

Here, simply taking a moment to verbally acknowledge positive behavior or achievements will go a long way.

Allow Flex-Work

Flex-work, or the ability to choose work hours and whether to work from home or an office is one of the most desired employee perks. It’s also one that’s extremely cost-effective for you, because as long as employees are still performing the work, it doesn’t really cost you anything. While you will need infrastructure if employees have to work over VPN or through a virtual computer, it’s otherwise very budget friendly.

How does it show appreciation? Flex work makes life more convenient for your employees, allows them to set their own schedule and allows them to take time for family and life events when and where needed without stressing about it.

Say it With Food and Small Perks

While anything but free, providing food, small perks like daycare, or something like a public transport pass will add a great deal for your employees. For example, offering free lunch to your team means individuals won’t have to wake up early and pack food and won’t have to order food in. They’ll have more time and leisure to simply eat and enjoy their break, which will improve the quality of that break. Similarly, offering daycare can be extremely inexpensive for a large office or team, but extremely cost-saving for individuals.

It’s always a good idea to review team needs, question what the team wants and needs, and work to offer perks that benefit everyone involved.

Invest in Your Employees

While you can continue to offer perks like food and travel, the best way to show appreciation is often by investing in development and personal growth. Offering mentorship, coaching, career development, and leadership training where applicable will show individuals that you care about them, you are investing in them, and you greatly appreciate them and their work.

Showing teams appreciation will help you to boost motivation, mood, and often, performance across those teams, so it’s always worth doing. While not always free, even budget friendly ways to show appreciation can have dramatic results, which will increase your team happiness.


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3 Types of Employment Testing and Why They Matter

Employment testing is growing in popularity as recruiters are inundated with more and more hiring choice. Glassdoor suggests that the average job opening receives 250+ resumes, and recruiters and HR managers need an efficient way to sort through candidates to highlight and hire the best ones. Employment testing is a tool that can help by highlighting desirable skills and traits in ways that a simple interview cannot.

Employment testing will always have limitations, especially in terms of judging the long-term behavior of an employee but it can help you to learn more about candidates in a relatively short amount of time. While there are numerous assessments and tests available, the following three include some of the most important.

Skills Tests

Skills tests check for hard and soft skills, looking for job-relevant skills such as typing, ability to use a machine, or ability to use different types of code. These tests can consider job knowledge, hard skills, or soft skills such as attention to detail and diligence, which will help you to better determine what an individual can or cannot do.

Skills tests allow you to root out candidates who may be qualified but who cannot take on a role right away, those who might be up playing their skills, or who might not have the conceptual knowledge to fit into a specific role. Skills tests take time to evaluate and to set up properly, so they are best applied during late-stage hiring, when you have a very small candidate pool. Asking individuals to complete a test, assignment, data check or other form of employment testing will then allow you to compare the actual capabilities of your candidates, so you can make a better choice.

Competency Assessment

Competencies often include a range of soft skills and behaviors that contribute to success in a job role. Using this type of employee assessment means having existing job profiles and a competency framework in place, with which to measure how candidates score and why. Competency assessment is often integrated into formal interviewing in the form of structured interviews, where individuals are given a series of structured questions designed to gauge response, behavior, communication, stress management, and so on.

Competency assessments can also integrate into assignments and complete tests, where candidates are asked to give input in less stressful environments, or in environments where they may have fewer prepared answers. This type of testing is important because it tells you how individuals are likely to react, whether they are likely to be good at learning, whether they are self-motivated, good leaders, or any other desirable trait.

Culture Testing

Hiring for culture is important, not just for culture-fit but also for growing organizational culture by expanding on it. Culture testing can take the form of emotional intelligence tests, cognitive ability tests, or behavior tests, but often incorporates work assignments, especially in an office or actual work area. These tests are designed to check behavior, how an individual responds to different situations, the individual’s ability to fit in or contribute to a team, and so on.

Culture testing allows you to choose candidates who complement your existing culture while hopefully bringing in something new, challenging existing dynamic, or improving something. Good culture often involves aspects of communication, willingness and desire to learn, and passion, and these are very easy to see in employment testing.

Employment testing can help you to make better hiring decisions by giving recruiters more information on candidates and their behavior. While they aren’t foolproof, good testing expands on the interview, checking for desirable and undesirable traits, so that you can make a better hire and a better investment for your organization.


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How Much Do Office Perks Matter To Your Employees?

Employee benefits like cash compensation and office perks are hugely popular across business of all sizes, but how much do perks (non-monetary benefits) really matter to employees? With an increasing shift in focus away from simply earning more and towards achieving a quality of life balance, simple office perks like flex work and healthy lunch bars could mean more for individuals than you think.

Office perks give employees more control over their schedules, free access to food or beverages, and opportunities for learning and career advancement.

What Counts as Employee Perks?

While there are different levels of employee perks, nearly anything adds to the value of a workplace. For example, even putting out a coffee machine and offering free coffee makes life better for people working. However, individuals often receive perks relating to flex work (employees can choose or modify the hours they work), professional development (classes, courses, coaching), fitness or health benefits such as gym memberships, and food or snacks.

Employee Perks Add to Work-Life Balance

While most office perks are relatively affordable for businesses (for example, allowing employees to work from home or to change their hours when needed) they greatly benefit the employee. Simply being able to structure working hours around life events such as taking children to school, changes in daycare, or special events can mean a great deal to an individual. Similarly, persons who are focused on fitness or health may greatly appreciate having a gym membership, especially if the gym is next to work, because it will save them a great deal of time and money, at relatively low cost to you.

Even perks like food and coffee contribute to work-life balance, simply because providing lunch or breakfast means that individuals won’t have to spend time prepping it at home. They have more free time, don’t have to invest in carrying lunch to work, and receive a perk that you can offer very affordably.

53% of Employees Say Perks Add to Quality-of-Life

In one survey, 55% of employees said their perks added to their quality of life. Even courses through work allow employees to work towards their career and development goals, in a more convenient and affordable way than seeking those courses out themselves. While actual value depends on what is being provided, perks offer convenience, affordability, and a lot in terms of cost-savings. For example, a shuttle to work saves employees thousands each year but doesn’t cost you the same per employee. An in-house daycare solution can save parents more than a third of their paycheck but will cost your business much less to provide. And, even offering free lunch or an affordable on-premise restaurant will cut costs and time investment for everyone. This, in turn, frees up time for people to do more when they get home, without worrying about spending time or money on the things they do at work.

Office perks can add a lot of value for employees, but it’s important to ensure they’re relevant to your workplace. For example, it doesn’t make sense to offer daycare unless you have enough parents in your workforce to make it worthwhile to you and employees. Instead, you should review your workforce, determine what is needed or what will be most-appreciated and move forward from there to offer the highest cost/value benefit.


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4 Ways Employers Can Support Parents in the Workplace

Today’s workforce is made up of millennials, Generation Z, and an ever-dwindling population of baby-boomers. This increasingly younger generation of workers value job benefits and paid leave over a simple increase in pay, to the point where 62% will leave their current job for an increase in benefits, which becomes increasingly important to employers as this same generation is in the process of having children and becoming parents themselves. At the same time, some 90% of U.S, families with children have at least one working parent, meaning that a significant portion of the working population is also a parent.

Taking steps to support parents as they go back to work, as they continue to hold jobs, and as they balance work/life obligations will make you a better employer. It will also increase employee loyalty, reduce churn, and likely boost on-the-job productivity and focus.

Increase Paid Parental Leave

When Google increased the paid maternity leave period from 12 weeks to 18 weeks, they found that the rate at which new mothers quit their jobs halved. A 50% increase in benefits resulted in a massive reduction in cost for the company, in that they didn’t have to replace those women.

Paid parental leave for mothers and fathers can be crucial in ensuring new parents have the support to care for a child through early periods so that they can go back to work without undue levels of stress. While this will cost the organization in terms of paid leave, it will pay off in the long term.

Introduce Flex-Work

A study by Care.com found that 90% of parents have left a job to make room for family responsibilities and 30% have cut back on work. While offering opportunities to work less is beneficial, simply creating opportunities for flex work greatly reduces the stress on parents.

For example, if a parent can work from home if needed, work fewer hours one day, or change their schedule as needed, they can very easily take care of family obligations, work around picking up children, and work around child-care, without quitting.

Offer Daycare Opportunities

Daycare is one of the largest expenses for working families, but many organizations employ dozens or even hundreds of parents. Creating daycare facilities allows you to offer that care at no or very low cost to employees, at little relative cost to yourself, other than part time employees to manage children.

That same care, sourced outside of an organization, would cost the family $4,000-$22,000 annually. Providing it for them is a huge benefit that will greatly trump pure financial bonuses, especially in combination with convenience of location.

Develop a Culture of Family Friendly Behavior

Creating processes that support families and child-care is important, but without a positive culture, they won’t be as effective as you’d like. For example, managers and leaders must be trained to be aware of how their decisions impact an individual’s ability to parent, the demands of parenthood, and that schedules can and should be flexible.

For example, if you have a policy in place to allow parents to ask to work from home when needed, it doesn’t offer much value if your manager arbitrarily denies requests because s/he finds it inconvenient. Creating a culture surrounding awareness, emotional intelligence, and respect for people raising children will involve offering training, simply sharing information, and sometimes, offering similar benefits to everyone (such as flex work) so that it becomes part of company policy and culture.

With 90% of families including at least one working adult, most of the U.S. working population is made up of parents. Taking steps to offer support, help, and benefits for those parents, in ways that actually benefit them, will help you to increase loyalty, reduce churn, and likely reduce stress, which will pay off in increased productivity.


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It’s Not Too Late: How to Turn Around a Poor Company Culture

Peter Drucker is famous for the quote “Strategy eats culture for breakfast” but most organizations don’t realize just how true the adage is… until they have to. That’s how Satya Nadella arguably turned Microsoft’s flagging profits around. His decisions to steer Microsoft products were largely based on a massive cultural shift, and resulted in 27% year-over-year growth and stock tripling in value between his step-in as CEO and September 2018.

Nadella stepped into a culture based around strict hierarchy, bitter competition, and one-upmanship. In just a few years, his efforts succeeded in creating a culture of sharing, open communication, innovation, and emphasizing soft skills, which is now reflected in Microsoft’s products, internal and external policies, and work-floor culture.

But while that shift in company culture and many others are clear indicators that company culture does indeed eat strategy for breakfast, how do you turn yours around? With so much of company culture outside of control, how do you take a poor culture and develop something powerful?

Understand Your Current Culture

It’s important to understand your current company culture, where it comes from, and what’s influencing it. Company culture is a living thing. It changes with the people who come and go, it changes with technology, and it adapts to meet new things. If your culture is a certain way, it is because something is contributing to that. Identifying those aspects will help you to modify those aspects to create a culture you do what. Key areas contributing to company culture include your office and environment, leadership, and general employee attitude and morale.

Identify Your Goal Culture

Company culture should align with organizational strategy and goals. This often means identifying which elements of culture, especially behavior, align with achieving goals. Your behavioral framework, competency framework, or another form of soft-skill analysis will help you to create these goals, because you will better-understand how different aspects of company culture are actually contributing to goals.

How does that work? Examine your organization’s goals.

  • What values or behaviors would help teams to achieve those goals?
  • Are those values already represented in company culture? If not, why not? If so, why?
  • Do employees receive clear examples of desired behaviors and culture from leadership?
  • What conditions are required to introduce desired behavior? What conditions are required to change undesired behavior?

Creating Conditions for Change

An individual must consciously choose to change their behavior in order to do so to any effect. You can ask them to do so, but until someone makes the choice to change how they act, they will continue their old behavior patterns. Introducing conditions for change, alongside information on why that change is important, and how to go about that change, is the best way to begin a shift in company culture.

For example, Satya Nadella began his shift in company culture by handing out mandatory reading homework in the form of the book, “Nonviolent Communication.” Depending on your organizational goals, you could offer workshops on communication, hard skills courses, leadership or innovation coaching, training in emotional intelligence, and so on.

The important aspect is that new ideas must be introduced from the top down. No one on a work floor will model behavior if leadership isn’t following suit. Similarly, individuals must understand the reason for change and have the opportunity to do so. It’s not enough to tell someone to start collaborating as a team to create more innovation if you’re still rewarding individual performance. If you wanted to introduce stronger team collaboration, you would want to introduce performance rewards for a team as a whole, rather than for individuals inside the team.

Similarly, if you want to change how people communicate inside an office, a quick communication course might help but major physical change will as well. Creating a positive rewards or Kudos system, changing office layouts to make discussion easier, and creating mandatory round-table discussions once-per-week would help to foster that.

Changing company culture is often about recognizing a need, determining what’s important, and creating an opportunity for that change. Eventually, most people will respond to those conditions for change, especially when prompted by changes in processes and structure. In some cases, people will continue to resist, and should be given special attention or eventually removed from the culture if they do not fit.


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Managing Talent Retention During a Restructure

Disruptive periods of change are often-necessary to maintain forward momentum in an organization. Whether restructuring is about optimizing what you have, stripping old and unnecessary departments and branches, or adding on new products or services, it can be immensely stressful for employees. It’s HR’s job to manage talent retention, ensuring key players and supporting performers don’t leave during the change, so the organization can complete restructure at full functionality.

Doing so successfully often means stepping outside the standard practice of offering financial incentives to leaders and ignoring the rest, to recognize mindsets and fears contributing to employee loss.

Conduct a Risk Analysis

Your risk analysis should identify how many employees are likely to leave, which of them are likely to leave, and why. This will be important for creating retention strategies, identifying the importance of those retention strategies, and putting them into action.

Conducting this risk analysis will require understanding employees as people, what motivates them, and what drives them. It will also mean understanding the sort of pressure or fears your restructure will put on employees. This should involve discussions with line-managers as well as reviewing competency and behavioral profiles or other employee assessment profiles.

Identify Key Players

Once you’ve identified who is at risk to leave and what their risk of leaving is, you can begin to identify individual value and contribution to the organization.

Here, it’s important to review high-potential employees and executives who are critical to short-term success but also to analyze standard performers with critical skills, networks, and even roles or creativity. Here, you can consider performance, tenure, engagement, and critical skills or roles. You can use role assessment and performance models to determine what is needed in each role.

You can then create a retention/risk matrix, incorporating value to organization against the likelihood of loss. Why? You can then group individuals based on value and risk-loss, allowing you to budget for specific individuals or groups based on that value.

Build Targeted Retention Policies

Retention policies often involve financial incentive, but money is often not the driving factor in restructure talent loss. Instead, individuals are concerned about fluctuating business goals, lack of purpose, lack of a clear role, losing value to the organization, and their future. For example, McKinsey found that offering individuals programs for leadership and personal development or replacement during a restructure was enough to retain most targeted candidates for retention.

Grouping employees based on mindset and driving needs or behaviors can be essential in building individual and targeted retention strategies. If you can recognize that one group’s driving concern is their future in the company, offering development programs will help you to retain them. If another group is concerned about company direction, allaying their fears with communication would likely have the same effect.

Maintain Transparent Communication

Clear communication remains the key element of successfully navigating a restructure. Communicating change, what will happen, and what individual options are will help to allay fears, allow individuals to make better choices for themselves, and allow you to better-implement talent retention, because everyone is aware of what is happening, when, and why.


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Navigating Cultural Differences to Promote Team Spirit: 7 Strategies That Work

Go Team Go! Team spirit is important in schools, but it shouldn’t stop there. Team spirit also has a place in the workplace.  It fosters a sense of belonging, builds confidence, raises esteem and increases company morale.  Team spirit makes people feel like they belong and are a part of something bigger. It’s great to look at a completed project and say, “I was part of that.”

Strong teams create strong companies

Many businesses rely on teamwork to succeed but with an increasing number of companies doing business worldwide, workforces are becoming more diverse. In this new global environment, navigating cultural differences to promote team spirit can be daunting. But it is not impossible.

Get to know team member as individuals

Team leader’s need to get to know their team members. Not just as professionals but as individuals. When you get to know people as individuals, and you recognize their skills and talents, you learn that despite our cultural differences, in many ways we are all the same. We all have hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And you’ll also realize that skills, rather than culture and beliefs, are what’s important to a team. Getting to know team members, and learning about their culture builds team spirit by making employees feel valued and appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the team.

Create opportunities for team members to get to know each other

If employees don’t feel a natural bond with each other, management has to build that bond. There are many ways to foster relationships between team members. Everything from ‘water cooler’ talk to team building exercises and volunteer work can foster rapport within a team. Create opportunities for team members to learn about their coworkers’ cultures, perspectives and way of life, as this will help build a healthy work environment and encourage open-mindedness.

Don’t let company culture become a barrier to team spirit

Companies all have a culture and it is important. It enhances team spirit but it can also unintentionally lead to discrimination. Fortunately, you can build successful multicultural teams without undermining or compromising company culture. One way is to ensure that your company culture embraces diversity and establishes norms that include practices from all cultures on the team.

Retain a culturally diverse staff

If employees don’t feel understood and valued, they will look for work elsewhere and you will lose talented people. Especially if they feel that their culture is inhibiting their progress or ostracizing them from the team. The more diverse your staff, and the more you recognize their diversity as an asset, the easier it will be to build a multicultural team with innovative ideas and strong team spirit.

Work towards a common goal

Your team needs to know that they are working towards a common goal. If they are no longer focused exclusively on their own success, but working for the good of the team, they will find it easier to see beyond their cultural differences.

Keep open communication

Miscommunication is a huge barrier to cross-cultural team spirit. A great way to counteract miscommunication is by using technology and implementing employee self-service software. The software can manage several aspects of the team, including schedules and deadlines, and help prevent misunderstandings between team members.

Deal with conflict immediately

Regardless of the cultural make-up of a team, conflict is inevitable. But it can be magnified in multicultural teams. When conflict arises, make sure to address it immediately. This helps ensure that small issues don’t spiral out of control. A good team leader needs to understand cultural perspectives and use them to minimize conflict.

Building a multicultural team isn’t easy. People don’t appreciate cultural differences and see them as stumbling blocks rather than strengths. With businesses becoming more global, multicultural teams are becoming commonplace and the key to global success and sustainability is embracing diversity.


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