To some, it could be as simple as showing up for work when scheduled, on-time, and with little to no mistakes.
For others, it means taking extra shifts, always being that extra pair of hands, and staying late.
How do our expectations as employers differ from our staff when it comes to this? Are we expecting too much? After all, we are paying them to show up every day, on-time, and do a good job for us.
Should we expect more? If we do expect more, are we being fair? Is that expectation causing overall stress to the team, and will that added stress end up hurting the morale and decrease productivity?
I believe there is a balance to find when evaluating who a team player is. If everyone is present and completing their tasks in an efficient manner without extra supervision and mistakes, then we have a solid team. A “working machine”, if you will. For most companies, this is the ideal model. It is when we begin to get greedy with our staff and start adding duties without adding compensation or additional team members, that we see a disruption in that working machine we had earlier.
We tell our people to suck it up and “be a team player”, when really that’s what they were doing in the first place.
We are so used to fixing things that we don’t stop to take a good look when things are running smoothly.
My challenge to you is to:
- Thank your team members now rather than apologizing to them when you have to ask them to cover for staff you have lost
- Re-evaluate your criteria for what a “team player” means to you and your organization
- Give out verbal accolades to the team and individuals. Be fair, consistent, and inclusive to all
- Re-train any outliers, so they learn what your new criteria is for the team to succeed
Enjoy it when you have that moment to breathe and not worry. It does happen, you just have to see it.
Do you know what your employees do off the clock?
I’m not talking about personal things that you don’t really want to know about. I’m talking about talents they have that may be useful at work.
- Does your team member know how to write and you have a writing project you could use some help with?
- Do you have a budding photographer on your team that can take some pictures for your social media page or your marketing brochures?
- Is there a member of the group that is a semi-professional organizer and can help you clean up that office supply closet you are always avoiding?
I know there are some restrictions with using employees on a contract basis, but I am looking at this more from a team building angle than a business venture. If your photographer is willing to take some shots for the social media page on the Halloween party you had, then let them enjoy what they do and share it with the rest of the team. This and other ideas are types of things that can motivate your team and show them how invested you are in them.
Transfer of Skills
I had an administrative assistant come to me and ask if there were any projects she could help with in the “writing category”. She had experience writing articles for a newsletter at another organization she worked at. It just so happened that I was starting a monthly employee newsletter the next month. I worked with her manager to see if this would affect her workload and we worked out a schedule for her to help me with writing some fun and interesting articles about after work activities in the different neighborhoods around town. She also researched the annual summer fairs and posted the dates for our employees which they appreciated for things to do on the weekends. I was happy to have the help and she was happy to be writing again.
Make Me a Movie Please
Another example is when I wanted to create a short video for our recruiting page and I found out that one of my employees did documentaries on the side. They were excited to film the video for me. It was very professional and we posted it on our social media site and hired several employees off it.
Sharing is Caring
Maybe try a “Vendor Day”. What is this? Well, on one day of the month, maybe a Friday, set up a table at work and let people bring in a sample of what they do. I realize there are non-solicitation policies out there but you can stipulate that the team member can only bring a sample and some business cards so they can sell their homemade gifts and treasures outside of the work schedule.
If not a vendor day, you can definitely do a talent show as a team building event if you have the chance to go on a team retreat.
Team retreats are great for working on the next years goals and at the same time get to know your team mates as people, not just workers. I would love to hear about team building ideas you have done or skill transfer breakthroughs you have had on your teams. Please put a comment below for consideration!