All businesses, regardless of the industry, can greatly benefit from working as a team. It’s not just about working as a team, but it’s having everyone feel like they’re in a team and feeling like they’re a part of something massive. But this is actually something that’s pretty challenging to do. While companies will have mandatory team-building events and mandatory company culture fun, this isn’t exactly the best way to grow a team.
It really comes down to people getting to know each other and having all of the coworkers know each other. It doesn’t entirely need to be on a personal level, but it should be personal enough. So, whether you’re a business owner or a manager, here are some ways to become better connected with coworkers.
Start Off By Finding Common Ground
It’s going to take more than knowing people’s names and having online ID cards to build a connection. Common ground is essential; this is going to be the best way to get everyone to connect. This can go on a somewhat personal level too. Both finding common ground and a common goal is going to help out a lot. Movies, sports, and TV shows are all popular topics, as are family and personal hobbies. Asking about the weekend or a shared interest can also spark conversation and help you get to know your coworkers on a more personal level. You can also find common ground by talking about appropriate work-related subjects like recent industry news.
By discussing the latest developments in your field, you can show that you’re invested in your team’s success and build trust with your teammates. Be sure to avoid controversial topics that can spark disagreement or conflict. Something such as politics or religion should be avoided.
Give Everyone a Chance to Know Each Other
This is actually something that organizations need to be pushing more. To a degree, you’re working with strangers. You might know generic stuff like if someone is married, what clothing style they like, and what they do on weekends, but for most coworkers, it’s as far as it goes. This is fine, but the goal is to build up a connection. A connection means empathy and which family-feeling organizations often want. So this means that pressing on and allowing people to chat should be highly encouraged.
Getting to know someone on a deeper level takes time and effort. Asking personal questions about themselves and their past can help people open up. These questions can reveal their personality and feelings and can be a great conversation starter. While these questions may feel a bit intrusive, they can help encourage candid and honest communication. Some of these questions include: What was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do? What is your favorite color?
A lot of coworkers, they want to know everyone, but there is simply a lack of time for it. This is actually a nice way to determine is a coworker is toxic or not too. Getting to know your coworkers better can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity. While it may seem counterintuitive to sacrifice work in order to make friendships, our research shows that employees who spend more time socializing are more likely to report higher levels of connection and belonging at work.
Consider taking advantage of flextime to grab lunch together or even schedule a daily “coffee chat” to catch up on each other’s weekends and day-to-day lives (be sure to limit screen time and keep it short). You can also use this time to ask your colleagues for advice or feedback. It’s going to help if the organization sets up this as well, something that’s not mandatory but optional. This could be happy hour drinks on Fridays, a volunteer event, or even a company picnic, for instance.
Honesty and Genuineness Go a Long Way
Many managers are in a position to encourage honesty and truthfulness among their employees. This is especially true if they make it a point to talk openly and honestly during team meetings. Check-in questions like “What are your weekend plans?” or ‘What book are you currently reading?” can help colleagues bond by providing an opportunity to share about their personal lives. Some colleagues may feel uncomfortable about talking about their personal lives at work at first, but most enjoy the chance to connect with coworkers. Just be genuine, and this is going to help more people open up.