A teaming environment fosters trust and collaboration among the workforce.
By Bellaria Jimenez and John F. Bucsek
Employers are facing more challenges today than ever before. Competition is now global, customer attention is in high demand, and technology can be a friend or a foe. In order to compete, employers need to find a new way to stay ahead of the pack. Organizations have an opportunity to outperform their competition by having a purposeful focus on diversity and attracting talented women to their rosters. This is not an HR exercise to check a box, but a true differentiating strategy to bring diversity of thought into the organization. By focusing on the human capital, a business can promote new ideas, service models, and creative approaches to sprint ahead of the competition.
Women make up over 47 percent of the total workforce as of the 2008 census, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and are outperforming men by bachelor’s graduation rates, finds the U.S. Department of Education. This is an opportunity for businesses to attract talent and diversity. Studies show that women elevate the productivity of their respective organizations, and women in the C-suite and on boards are responsible for double-digit growth, according to the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. Yet attracting and retaining women continues to be a challenge faced by many industries.
A global study conducted by PwC surveyed women throughout the world and cited the top four factors women identified in their search for an attractive company:
- opportunity to grow;
- competitive wages;
- flexible schedule; and
It is not enough to work on the exterior and tangible appearance of the firm. Businesses must also hone in on company culture and strategies to illustrate how the firm supports women and inclusiveness. Females need to feel that interviewees are not being biased, that the materials they read are inclusive, and that the company offers true support to help them be successful. Teaming is a strategy that organizations can leverage to help provide an inclusive environment.
Teaming as a Value Proposition
Teaming represents a training ground through a structured and tangible process that is simple to illustrate. When females enter a teaming organization, they will experience a small group of members who work together to provide a close and supportive training platform. Although new employees may still go through a corporate training program, the teaming approach delivers on-the-job training through observation and hands-on support. This provides the opportunity to also incorporate what has been learned in the structured training environment.
Teams are structured to provide weekly huddles and build close relationships that foster trust and collaboration. This is a catalyst for one-on-one support and mentoring that many women seek. This can be extremely beneficial to encourage professional growth and loyalty to an organization.
Teaming provides individuals specific roles within the group that allow them to learn progressively. It also provides employees a trajectory of upward mobility, which has traditionally been a concern for many females who do not want to encounter glass ceilings.
When some females enter an organization, they may have a concern about maintaining a solid work-life balance. This may drive them not to take a position that provides more challenges and future opportunities that can lead to leadership roles. Teaming provides a platform for women to excel with a built-in culture of collaboration and support that takes the pressure off of working on projects alone.
Building a culture is more than aesthetics: It requires an atmosphere of support and understanding, a culture that fosters support and professional courtesy. Organizations can demonstrate to potential candidates that they operate in a teaming environment and take collaboration into a new level of success. The nature of teaming allows team members to support each other by creating processes and structure together. And by working closely on projects, team members can easily step in to support each other at any given time.
The Right Players
Expansion into new markets and communities can be critical to certain industries, especially those that continue to compete for market share. Innovation comes from diversity of thought, new ways of looking at the same problem, and new ideas in the client experience process. Innovation does not need to be a new technological breakthrough. Many times, innovation can come from simplifying and streamlining processes that improve productivity and reduce expenses.
Teaming also adds value by allowing team members to focus on the roles that they are best suited for. A team roster focus enables individual members to build specializations, which provides businesses a competitive advantage. Adding teaming to an organization provides a track for attracting and retaining women, and organizations can benefit from incorporating the teaming culture throughout the interview process, training program, literature given to candidates, and job postings.
Bellaria Jimenez, president, and John F. Bucsek, CEO, lead MassMutual Tri State and are co-authors of the recently released “The Team Game: How Your Business Can Dominate Year After Year.”