Effective teamwork in healthcare can have an immediate and positive impact on patient care. Developing a culture that values teamwork has not only proven to boost existing staff relationships, but it can also help increase efficiency, job satisfaction, responsiveness and much more.
Leadership expert, Scott Hunter, defines a successful organization as a group of “enthusiastic, confident, optimistic, appreciative and happy people who work together on behalf of a future they have all committed themselves to.” It doesn’t matter how effective the individuals are in the organization, if they can’t work effectively as a team, the company will ultimately suffer and possibly fail.
As the industry continues to advance and grow to meet new demands, here’s how healthcare HR can inspire a culture that values teamwork in their strategy toward organizational success.
1. Practice Communication
Effective teamwork is enabled by clear and open communication. All team members should be on the same page in regards to targets, responsibilities, and timelines. Graham Winfrey, a staff writer at Inc., suggests adopting the following tips to improve company competitiveness and build stronger teams:
- Encourage sharing, input, and dialogue: Teach people to give feedback on information they get. Create and reward open dialogue.
- Have managers lead by example: Managers must share, comment, give feedback and answer.
- Get employee buy-in: Show and provide value to employees. Excite them about the cause of sharing information.
- Make goals public: Publish company, team and personal goals online and make them visible.
- Use online tools instead of meetings: Reduce meeting times by using online team update and reporting tools.
- Establish regular processes: People want real-time updates. Make communication a weekly process with defined rules.
- Use mobile tools: Provide tools for internal work-related sharing on phones and tablets.
- Listen: Encourage input from all ranks.
2. Promote Diversity
Countless studies show organizations that promote a culture of diversity not only produce greater results, but they also outperform those that do not. Diversity allows teams to examine issues from a broader range of perspectives. Leading a team with different perspectives and outlooks enables them to turn their differences in thought, behavior, knowledge, and talent into innovative ideas and practices that advance the company to new heights.
When recruiting, Laura Cox Kaplan, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy Leader at PwC, suggests considering the following: where the candidate has lived over the course of their life; their socioeconomic background; whether they speak a second language; and various career paths in different sectors. To succeed in today’s ever-changing workforce, employers must acknowledge diverse talent pools, understand them and make them a part of their overall recruitment strategy.
3. Set Goals
According to author Stephen Covey, managers must begin with the end plan in mind. Simply choosing a course is not enough—you must have a clear direction on where that course will lead you. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to collaborate with your team and set goals that align with those of the broader organization. You must ensure your team fully understands, accepts and commits to those goals. The more you involve your employees in setting goals for themselves and the group, the more receptive to those goals they are likely to be.
Covey suggests writing down these goals for your team and revisiting them on a regular basis—perhaps every six months to once a year. When writing these goals, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do they align with the organization’s mission and strategy?
- Are they clear and easy to understand, with a clear beginning and ending points?
- And is the progress measurable and, most importantly, attainable?
Goals should give your team something to reach for—they should be reachable and not be dependent on a host of circumstances beyond the person’s control.
4. Celebrate Success
“Yes, there’s an ‘I’ in team, and it stands for ‘incentives,’,” says Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business. Whether they work in teams, groups or as individuals, people respond to incentives—or even lack thereof.
Not only should top management celebrate individual success, but they must also recognize and reward the firm’s most dynamic duos and productive trios by name. For example, “identify and praise the ‘fab fours’ and creative quintets of innovation and efficiency,” Schrage says. In order to do that, he suggests embracing the five A’s:
1. Acknowledge: Don’t take employees contributions for granted. Literally and figuratively point them out.
2. Attribute: Acknowledgment sends signal; attribution assigns credit. Build attribution cultures around collaboration, coordination, consultation, and communication.
3. Assign: When problems or opportunities arise, smart leaders assign the best teams to deal with them—not the best people.
4. Award: Recognize and reward teams and teamwork with the same energy and enthusiasm, and investment as for individuals.
5. Assess: “You can better manage what you can measure.” High-quality team metrics and analytics will transform cultural and operational expectations around how people can create new value together.
The end goal for managers should always be to create an environment where teams can work together rather than against each other. Building a team that can work through tense conditions can be a key component to your organization’s success. Can others benefit from your team building strategy? Please share, I’d love to hear from you!
Editorial note: This post originally appeared on The PreCheck Blog and has been republished here with their permission.
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