Building an Engaging Team Culture in Your Company: A Complete Guide

A positive company culture is what attracts the best candidates nowadays. Learn how to build a strong team culture in your organization to attract and retain world's top talent.

Stefana Zaric
Written by Stefana Zaric
December 13, 2021
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A high-quality workforce drives success. But for your workforce to achieve outstanding results, there needs to be a special ingredient that goes beyond the technical skill set of each of your employees.

Whether you are among 16% of companies that work 100% remotely or have embraced a hybrid work model, you still need a superb company culture to attract and keep the most talented team members. 

Building high-performing teams and healthy team culture can be a challenge for many organizations. We say it shouldn’t be like that, and we can show you how to build an organization that everyone wants to be a part of. 

What does a positive team culture look like?

Transparency, innovation, and open-mindedness are three fundamental ingredients of positive team culture.

Great leaders who want to build a successful team need to look for ways to make their employees more motivated and productive, and establishing a healthy team culture is the way to go.

However, it’s easier said than done - you know what you need to do, but you’re not sure how to do it. Every team is different, and there isn’t a strategy that works for every organization in the world, so it’s necessary to experiment and test different ideas until you identify the right tactics for your business.

Removing the stigma around hierarchy

Regardless of your company's size, every time you need to hire someone new, you want them to be like a missing piece of the puzzle - a perfect fit. That's why the inevitable question of every interview is: Are you a team player?  

However, not only should a candidate be open to teamwork, but you must also provide a working environment people would want to be part of. What should you do?

First, eliminate the stigma around the term "hierarchy." As we all know, teams comprise leaders and team members. There are higher and lower positions, and that's how things work. 

Still, when someone is in a managing position, it doesn't mean they are more important than other employees. So, don't ditch the word hierarchy, but add another one - appreciation. Make feedback a two-way street and let everyone know that their opinions matter - they should feel free to share them with other coworkers regardless of their position in the organization.

Employees want to feel valued

The key to a fruitful teamwork culture is mutual respect. You need to make sure every member of your team feels appreciated. Everyone's effort counts; when employees know their work is valued, they are more focused and motivated to contribute to the team.

To achieve this, it’s important to nurture a culture of praise and recognition. Don’t hesitate to congratulate your team members publicly on their accomplishments. If your employees don’t have direct access to the results of their work, let them know how well they did.

When they make a mistake, praise their efforts to fix the issue and learn how to do better.

Having a shared goal 

Although we are unique individuals with more or less different aspirations, once we join a team within a particular organization, it is not all about our professional growth; it is also about the company's growth. 

Every business will open many doors if it perceives individual results and team accomplishments as equal contributors to long-term success. 

That's the reason you, as a manager, should focus on creating a shared goal and encouraging your employees to work together to achieve it. This is where sharing the results also makes an impact - when your team knows about the difference they’re making, they’ll feel motivated to do even more.

Finally, a shared vision will develop a bond between your employees, allowing them to enjoy success and face failure as a team. 

What are the benefits of good team culture?

Despite the rooted belief that brands attract new clients and employees, today's business world turns to a quality workforce. No one wants to work with faceless organizations. People want to work with people.

So, it's clear that attracting and keeping the most talented workers is the number one priority of every business. Strong company culture plays a significant role in ensuring that.  

Other benefits of good team culture are:

Better employee fit

Anyone seeking better job opportunities looks at the vision and mission of a company they are considering. A candidate is more likely to accept a job offer if a company promotes values they resonate with. In addition, great company culture will improve your retention rate. 

Improved employee engagement

When an employee works in an environment that encourages team members to share their ideas, thoughts, and doubts, they are more connected to the company’s mission and goals. That contributes to their overall engagement and motivation, which drives better results.

Excellent reputation

Good team culture contributes to a company's reputation. When customers know how you treat your team members (assuming you treat them well), they will support you, and clients will see you as a trustworthy partner. Not to mention the fact that your employees can be your best and most loyal brand advocates if happy with their workplace.

5 ways to build a solid team culture

There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all team culture. What worked for some may not work for you. Still, there are methods you can try to build and/or improve your team culture.

Support self-managing teams

Don't just promote teamwork; act according to it. Build a team-oriented company. Encourage co-workers to take the initiative and take part in decision-making processes. 

Trust is an essential part of every organization. Employees who can work under their terms deliver better results without neglecting the responsibilities such an arrangement carries. However, for this to work, it’s necessary to establish some ground rules of async communication and streamline your workflow so everyone can be as efficient as possible while completing their tasks.

Informal teams strengthen company culture

Business owners tend to be involved in every aspect of their organization. However, it can be highly beneficial to your company if you support employees to gather in informal teams - teams not designated by the organization, but by the employees, usually created when people interact regularly and have common goals or similar tasks.

Informal teams can spot any challenge or a problem that might occur within your organization—allowing them to take action when necessary without waiting for the top management's response. That lowers the risk of any scenario that can harm both employees and the company.

On the other hand, informal teams help strengthen cross-team relationships within the organization and enhance the sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Rely on technology and top-notch apps to build team culture

In order to save their businesses during the pandemic, companies of all shapes and sizes and across industries needed to adapt quickly. Technology has been a faithful ally over the past two years. Even though we still feel the consequences of the 2020 events, many organizations have returned to their offices, while others adopted the hybrid work model.

Either way, different solutions and tools have entered our professional lives and are here to stay. For example, Slack has helped co-workers organize their workflow, Zoom enabled online conferences and meetings, Notion and similar tools enabled easy project management, etc. Leverage these products to organize team building and other activities that strengthen a company culture.

Organize role-plays

Role-plays are typical for positions such as SDR (sales development reps). Candidates who get hired for such a position go through training involving role-play. It’s a proven way to prepare new hires for different situations. 

So, why not incorporate this method when building a company culture. First, let your employees familiarize themselves with different roles within a company. Then, allow everyone to learn more about the other person's responsibilities by changing the roles. 

This method is suitable for management, too. It may benefit your company and managers' personal growth if they spend some time on the front line, working directly with customers. 

You know how they say, ''Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.'' Well, let your co-workers walk in each other's shoes; it could be a game-changer. 

Include as many teams as possible in different projects 

Developing a strong bond between your team members and between teams and a company goes beyond organizing team building. Employees want to take part in different projects and contribute. 

Don't hesitate to assign various tasks to your co-workers. Challenge them, awaken their curiosity, and show appreciation for every new idea they bring to the table. Encourage them to brainstorm and think of initiatives they could work on together. It will lead to better team performance and set up your organization for the upcoming wins. 

What are the steps for building a cohesive team?

Managing a cohesive team shouldn’t be a problem with the right moves up your sleeves. So here's what you should focus on. 

Build trust

No one is perfect. We all have bad days, no matter how experienced. On those days, we need our co-workers' support.

Building trust within a team includes not only knowing that someone will consistently deliver what you expect from them. It also means the liberty for someone to say, 'I'm not sure how to do so-and-so, 'I need help, 'I messed up, can you help me fix it?' 

No one likes to show their vulnerable side, but it is an inevitable part of life, and instead of hiding it, we should share it. That's what great team culture is all about. 

Don't avoid conflict

Another significant step for building a cohesive team is mastering the skill of dealing with conflict. Every team comprises distinct personalities, so disagreements are inevitable.

However, neglecting the problem can put your whole team and company at risk, and no one wants that. As a manager, your job is to encourage open communication and problem-solving instead of sweeping issues under the carpet to make things appear smooth. In the long run, it’s much more efficient to find the right way to solve conflict between your team members.

Commit and get others to do the same

You need to make sure all employees are on board with a decision you've made as a team. Even if some don't agree with the accepted idea, all team members must commit to it so that you can deliver desired results. 

Still, open communication is essential in this part, too. Team leaders should encourage all employees involved in a given project to share their ideas. Then, they should decide based on the information they got and choose the best one. 

Everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions

When you build a culture where all employees have a say in any situation, can make their decisions, and act according to them, they also need to stand behind every statement or move they make.

So, it is not only a manager's job to hold everyone accountable. Being in a cohesive team means all team members commit to a shared vision and go towards it, while no one is afraid to take responsibility for their actions and own up their mistakes.

A cohesive team is a result-oriented team

It takes professional maturity to become a team-oriented player. Most of us work motivated by personal aspirations. But being in a team means focusing on common goals. 

Sometimes employees (and managers) need to leave their egos behind and think about what will bring the best results to their team. Otherwise, they will never become a cohesive team that shares both successes and failures and chooses what benefits every team member so everyone can achieve better results.

Where to start?

So, all these tips sound great, but how do you get started? How do you let everyone in the organization know what you’re trying to implement?

Here are the first steps to take when you’re looking to build a successful team culture for your company.

Define your culture, core values, and mission

What you should do first is sit down, take a piece of paper, and write down exactly what you want for your company. Describe your ideal team culture in as much detail as possible.

Once you determine team values you appreciate the most and would like to incorporate into your system, gather your team. Then, explain why you see those values as important for your organization and how they will contribute to the team. 

Set clear expectations

If you still don't have HR, you may find it challenging to choose between candidates. But once you start communicating with a potential employee, be clear about what you expect of them. That makes your job easier and conveys a message about your company culture.

The same goes for your team members. When expectations are clear, there are fewer chances for anyone to make mistakes and jeopardize the team. Everyone is comfortable in their roles because they know what to do and what results they’re expected to achieve.

Advocate for psychological safety in your organization

No one wants to work in an environment that punishes mistakes. But, of course, that doesn't mean employees can be irresponsible and not think about consequences. 

Building a culture in which people can express their doubts and share when they need help or they made a mistake leads to fewer mistakes in the future. 

Feedback is a valuable tool. Once you establish a team member is doing something wrong, talk to them, ask if they need assistance, point out what parts of their performance need improvement and show them how to do that. 

Remember, fear paralyzes while support encourages employees to grow, be part of your team and contribute to it.

How can you create a culture of collaboration?

Co-workers may not be as close to each other as to their family or friends, but it’s not unheard of that people have a work BFF. And it’s completely normal for this to happen when you spend at least eight hours a day working closely with someone, chatting to them, in a meeting with them, etc.

Even if they are not close friends, team members need to feel comfortable and open to sharing everything (job-related) that comes to their minds.

So, a culture of collaboration depends on the level of communication between peers. So, encourage your employees to communicate, share ideas, grow together, and learn from each other. That's the only way they'll reach team goals.

Summarizing: What is a successful team culture?

Simply put, it is a culture you are proud of. When a hiring process does not cause a headache because people want to work with you and grow with your company, that means you have created a thriving team culture. When customers support you and clients see you as a trustworthy partner, that's another sign you have built a culture many companies can emulate. When your employees feel like they’re heard and valued in their team and within the organization, that’s pretty much a confirmation that you’ve done an excellent job.

Whether your employees work from the office or opt for remote work, you need to establish a team culture to keep everything (and everyone) together. So, hiring a top-notch workforce depends on the values your company promotes, not only on a competitive salary and a gym membership.

If you’re looking for such workforce around the globe, let's make the hiring process as straightforward as possible. Reach out to us today and book a demo. Leave tasks like running payroll to us so you can focus on more strategic tasks and grow your business.

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