Building a great team is paramount to building a great ecommerce business, period. Before products or sales numbers, your No. 1 priority should be the people in the office. Developing them into top-tier employees will ensure your success down the road. Here are our top ten tips for building a stronger, more effective team.
1. Constant communication
Communication snafus are the cause of the majority of inter-office tension. If expectations aren’t being met, there’s a good chance that those expectations weren’t thoroughly communicated. No matter the circumstance or change in your company — whether monumental or miniscule — taking extra time to make sure the message is clear and understood will save you headaches down the road.
2. Utilize lunchtimes
This can be a little bit of a paradox, because employees often want lunchtime to themselves. It’s a time to kick back, relax a little bit and get away from work. But, there are things you can do to leverage this time period every once in a while. Once a month, take the office (or department) out to eat to celebrate birthdays. Or cater in a light lunch during a presentation, but then let folks leave early so that the hour-long lunch break isn’t completely lost. A lot of socializing happens over meals, so take full advantage of the potential here.
3. “Take an Employee to Work” day
This is a unique concept where employees “travel” to other departments to spend a day learning what it’s like to be in a different role in the company. Send someone from marketing over to sales for a day, just to see what it’s like. Or maybe the Shipping Manager can invite someone from HR to join him or her for a day to get an idea of their daily activities. Giving folks a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes fosters an understanding of what each role in the company does in a given day. When that happens, workplace tensions are sure to lower.
4. Create a positive workplace environment
Research has shown again and again that workplace environment is crucial to not just individual success, but the overall feeling of the whole team. Are your team members stuck in tiny cubicles? Are they forced to share a single 5-foot desk with no drawers? Be conscious of the environment in which your employees are working and encourage them to personalize. A good way to foster this is to hold a workspace-decorating contest. Let employees deck-out their spaces however they want and keep it that way, so that they feel comfortable and motivated while they work.
5. Organize a book club
This is another unique concept, but one that could really bring your various teams together in order to help create new ideas for your company. Every month, or every quarter, pick a book that could have relatable lessons for your company. Everyone who joins the book club can read it and then come together to discuss it for a couple hours on a Friday afternoon. It doesn’t even have to be business-related, per se. There are plenty of lessons to be learned in business from old classics like “The Great Gatsby” or “Frankenstein.”
6. Attend conferences, networking events, etc., together
Company outings provide a chance for employees to socialize in a slightly more casual environment. Personal relationships automatically lend themselves to greater teamwork, and attending business functions outside the office creates an environment for that to happen. If you can, organize these events during the workday, so that employees aren’t forced to stay after work or give up their weekends.
7. Have volunteer days
Whether volunteering out of the office with an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or in the office wrapping up presents for Operation Christmas Child, giving your employees a chance to give back will assuredly boost camaraderie. There’s a good chance that your employees want to volunteer anyway, so letting them do so without taking time off or sacrificing personal time will build up team spirit and overall company morale.
8. Create opportunities for employees’ families to come to work
People love the opportunity to spend some extra time with their loved ones. Encourage “Bring Your Child to Work” days. And don’t forget about pets, either! Allowing doggy days at work is bound to boost morale as well, especially since research has shown that animals can sometimes improve moods better than other humans.
9. Hold friendly competitions
A little friendly competition is a great way for everyone in the office to loosen up a bit and show a side of themselves you may not otherwise see. Potential ideas include a weekly walking challenge or a monthly food contest, where everyone brings in a favorite dish to share. Be creative and encourage your team to come up with ideas, too!
10. Offer opportunities for feedback
Nothing will raise company spirits more than allowing people to share their big successes and their ideas at work. Your employees will also be less tense when they have opportunities to share how they think the company (or even their supervisors) could be doing better. When they have those opportunities, and when they know you’re listening, they’ll do even better work for you because they know you value them.