“Some groups do better than others but what’s key to that is their social connectedness to each other.”
- Margaret Heffernan
In Heffernan’s speech ‘Forget the Pecking Order at Work’ she underscores how vital social cohesion is to the business process. While last week we looked at how the business process can be organised to maximise the flow of tasks between individuals, the relationship of those individuals will dictate the quality of work finally produced. You can’t have one without the other, so to speak.
If we know that social sensitivity is the key to stronger collaborative effort throughout a workplace, then why are business processes still liable to miscommunication?
In a Cpl survey, 25% of people pinpointed time constraints as their main work pressure – getting to know one another clearly isn’t at the top of the agenda. This article will discuss how managers can conceptually approach team optimisation, gain feedback and foster a collaborative company culture to enhance productivity.
Are you ready to personalise the workday?
- Know the Value of Social Capital to Your Business
To achieve optimal productivity, a connection must be drawn between the quality of staff relationships and a firm’s momentum.
In practical terms, this means that time must be given to employees during which they are free to socialise with one another because social capital compounds with time.
Teams that work together for longer become more efficient with the consolidation of trust.
Your HR team is in a prime position to set time aside for staff to kindle personal connections, relationships which will facilitate the real candour and openness you need to add value to your projects.
- Clear Fear
Managerial staff can forge a culture of open and honest communication by admitting your own mistakes, admissions which will make your staff much more likely to see you as a colleague first and approach you for help.
Allowing individuals to self-manage meetings will further build trust and will showcase your ability to trust in others and to remove yourself from certain projects.
You can, however, liaise with the chairperson to ensure equal time is given to each individual so no one voice dominates the conversation.
By promoting this principle, you will cultivate groups which are highly attuned to one another to best facilitate the free development of ideas, so time isn’t wasted and teams don’t hit a dead end.
Finally, asking staff for anonymous feedback on your HR policies is a further step you can take to demonstrate social sensitivity, a quality in you which they will respect.
- Organise Team Events and Meaningful Ones!
In Sweden, people take part in Fika on a day-to-day basis, an important concept in Swedish culture which sets aside time each day for friends or colleagues to share a cup of coffee or tea together with something to eat.
In Ireland, small pleasures such as this are often seen as an inhibitor to productivity whereas in Sweden they see them as essential moments of ‘collective restoration’.
These small windows of time are missed opportunities for staff to benefit from taking a pause and foster real relationships with co-workers.
Why not establish the coffee break as an integral part to the day as much as work? It makes good business sense: your company will have a more interconnected team and one which feels less overworked and more creatively ready to take on tasks together.
Staff relationships aren’t just niceties of the workplace, they are vital to productivity.
Leadership as a solo act needs to become a thing of the past and we need to redefine it as an activity in which employees aren’t afraid to contribute their best effort.
Through the clean-cut delegation of tasks, openness to HR reviews by staff and the institution of group breaks, we can leave behind the vestiges of the rat race mentality which serve to derail business productivity and staff happiness along with it.
It is only when we accept that everyone has value that we can genuinely invest in team activities and engage in active listening to make sure teams produce their best work, productively!