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How to promote teamwork in the workplace

Working in retail management? Getting your team to work as a unit can be difficult when everyone’s mobile. These 6 ways to promote teamwork in the workplace will help you boost communication between team members, improve employee well-being, and ensure a better customer experience.

Teamwork is essential to productivity — especially in the retail industry, where operations rely on successful collaboration and communication between employees.

As manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure things run smoothly and your team members work well together, even during peak hours and seasons. But building better employee relationships takes more than trust fall exercises and company bonding retreats.

Placing more trust in your employees, encouraging autonomy, and getting them involved in management decisions are all ways of creating a positive work culture where everyone feels valued.

How to promote teamwork in the workplace
Here are six ways to promote teamwork in the workplace that you can adapt to suit the needs of your retail business.

1. Lead by example
As team leader, you should model the behaviour you want to see from your team members. So if you want team members to work better together, you need to work more closely with them.

One way you can do this is by involving your employees more in decision making.

Successful managers know that the best ideas on how to improve operations efficiency come from the people who experience those operations first-hand. That could be your cashiers, visual merchandisers, or inventory control specialists.

Create opportunities for your team to contribute ideas. Include them in meetings or ask them privately for input on the decisions you’re considering. Be open to different opinions and reward contributions that bring positive results.

Involving team members in decision making fosters team identity and makes employees feel heard and respected. It also has the bonus of preparing them for future leadership roles by developing skills that assist in critical thinking.

2. Develop better communication strategies
Effective communication is an essential part of teamwork, which is one reason why enhancing communication is a top priority for management, according to a 2022 study by Gallagher.

For optimal team performance, all members need to be communicating with one another, but this is often difficult for deskless employees.

Wider adoption of digital communication tools was one of the leading retail trends of 2022, demonstrating how integrating tech into the workforce could free up time and allow employees to focus on more important administrative tasks.

Develop clear lines of communication by setting up a mobile-friendly communication platform. Silo groups chats according to purpose, so team members know which conversations are for management updates, which are for HR-related issues, and which are for general use.

Whatever platform you use, make sure employees know that it’s an area for all team members to share information and not just a mouthpiece for management. Encourage team members to share their opinions and suggestions by polling decisions and asking openly for feedback.

3. Set clear roles and responsibilities for team members
For any team to function well, the manager needs to set clear individual roles. Each team member needs to know exactly what their responsibilities are to avoid project overlap, a major cause of workplace friction and wasted time.

Set clear goals for both individuals and the team as a whole. This encourages both individual productivity and collaboration, as employees have a clear understanding of what they need to do as well as an incentive to help out their coworkers.

To ensure that your employees have a sense of direction, your goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: clear about your aims and end results
  • Measurable: you should have metrics to measure your success
  • Achievable: be realistic and practical
  • Relatable: relevant to the team/individual’s strengths and responsibilities
  • Time-bound: the goal should have a deadline and a priority level

4. Recognise and reward your employees as a team

Recognizing staff achievements does more than put smiles on faces.

Businesses that invest in positive workplace experiences are reported to receive 12% better customer satisfaction, according to one study by Deloitte. Rewards are encouraging, and when those rewards are team-based, you spread the message that everyone’s success is interconnected.

As a retail manager, there are many reward schemes you could implement to encourage your workforce:

  • Monetary incentives: cash, bonus pay checks, employee discounts
  • Social events and activities: team nights out, milestone celebrations, free tickets
  • Employee recognition: employee recognition awards, verbal recognition
  • Food and drink: free breakfasts/lunches

5. Build your team wisely

Skills and qualifications may be important, but when you decide on a new hire, it’s crucial to consider how they will fit in with your existing team members.

That’s not to say you should only hire Type A personalities. Good teamwork requires communication, cooperation, and a willingness to compromise, so you should look for employees with these qualities.

Consider not only what kind of customer service they’re going to deliver but also how they can contribute to the well-being of your workforce as a whole.

6. Provide the team with learning opportunities

Your employees aren’t just looking to you for a paycheck; they’re looking for opportunities to grow and develop skills they can later put on their resumes.

Learning opportunities help employees to feel empowered and motivated, both of which are essential for a high-functioning team. It also shows that you value your employees’ development, which fosters a culture of trust and loyalty.

When employees feel like they’re able to grow in their current role, they’re more likely to be invested in their work. A second benefit for you as a manager is that your team will be up-to-date on industry trends.

Depending on your location and staff size, you may be able to send team members to physical learning events and workshops, which has the double appeal of a staff outing.

Alternatively, consider offering online learning opportunities through platforms. Giving your staff some time in the week for self-study is a great way to encourage them to take an interest in your industry.

If study time isn’t something you can set aside with high footfall or your staff size, then offering your employees paid subscriptions to learning services they can use in their free time is another option.

There’s no “I” in teamwork, but there should be a “U”
If you want to promote teamwork in the workplace, you – as manager – need to take the initiative. Your employees expressed an interest in your industry, product, or specific role when they sent in their resumes. By choosing the right internal incentives and investments to develop a healthy, goal-oriented workplace, you give them a reason to extend that interest to the well-being of your business. The payoff is worth it.

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