Why Teambuilding Is So Important for New Startups (and How to Achieve It)

Obviously, startups need a good product and good infrastructure in order to survive. But new tech entrepreneurs sometimes underestimate the value of teambuilding, especially early on. Without a shared team mentality and a space that promotes that mentality, even the most talented assemblies of individuals can fall apart.

Which teambuilding strategies can help you prevent this fatal outcome?

The New Dynamics of Tech Startups

While there are some tech startups that pursue a traditional business format, procuring a local office and working in person every day, many tech startups have adopted a fully remote model or a hybrid model in which many employees work from home most of the time. If even some of your workers work from home at least part of the time, it makes it harder to establish a team mindset; this drawback is often more than worth it, however, given the massive advantages of remote and hybrid models.

According to Lucas Seyhun, founder of The Farm SoHo, a brand of coworking spaces, “We’re seeing a lot of startups where team members work remotely most of the time, but they use coworking spaces for regular meetups and gatherings. It’s an ideal way to balance the advantages of remote work with the advantages of in person teambuilding.”

While it’s possible to build a coordinated and mutually supportive team fully remotely, meeting in person does carry some benefits. Keep this in mind if you are launching a remote or hybrid tech startup.

The Value of Teambuilding

Why should you even care about teambuilding in your startup?

  •       Morale. Practicing active teambuilding improves morale. Your employees will be happier, more satisfied with their work, and more dedicated to their responsibilities.
  •       Camaraderie. Helping your employees feel like more of a team facilitates camaraderie. This allows your employees to connect more easily and collaborate better, while simultaneously giving them bonds that can help them through even the toughest challenges.
  •       Identity and loyalty. When people feel like they’re a part of the team, they have a stronger sense of shared identity. This, in turn, fosters a greater sense of brand loyalty – and therefore employee retention.
  •       Productivity. As a result of higher morale, better camaraderie, and secondary benefits, teambuilding generally leads to higher productivity.

How to Build a Closer Team

So how do you build a closer, more cohesive team in a tech startup?

  •       Be discerning when hiring new people. From your earliest employment pre-screenings to your final interviews, you should be looking for people who fit your organizational culture. For example, if your company’s cultural values include honesty and transparency, look for candidates who are truthful and forthcoming about even the less-than-pleasant details of their work history – and ignore any candidates who knowingly violate these principles. This has a chance to increase the time and money required for your candidate search, but it’s well worth it if it means bringing similarly-minded people together. If your entire team shares the same values from the outset, half your teambuilding work will be done for you.
  •       Enforce a coherent, consistent brand identity. A coherent, consistent brand identity within your organizational culture is going to help people better understand the company they work for – as well as their place within it. Make sure you properly identify and showcase the values of your organization, and try to retain and support people who subscribe to those values.
  •       Host regular meetups (without working). It’s important to meet regularly to build familiarity and establish closer connections – and that doesn’t mean planning longer daily huddle meetings. Ideally, you’ll be able to meet regularly in an environment that doesn’t require work or discussion of work. Give people an opportunity to get to know each other.
  •       Introduce group projects with different groups. Of course, working together is also important for teambuilding. Try to introduce group projects as often as possible, and assemble individuals together in different groups so everyone has a chance to meet and get to know each other.
  •       Set clear team goals. People will feel a greater sense of connection to each other, and a greater sense of loyalty to the organization as a whole, if you set clear team goals for everyone to achieve together. Individual goals are also important, but for a different reason.
  •       Create an environment with open communication. When people feel they can express themselves openly and honestly, they’re much more willing to do so. And when everyone expresses themselves openly and honestly, it’s much easier to establish trust and respect between individuals. Create an environment where everyone feels welcomed and encouraged to share what’s on their minds.
  •       Grant more autonomy. Employees desire autonomy, perhaps even more than a bigger salary or flexibility. While individual autonomy may seem at odds with the goals of teambuilding, the reality is that autonomous employees are going to feel more empowered to communicate and coordinate independently.
  •       Practice consistent conflict resolution. In any team setting, especially one under high pressure, conflict is natural. Even if all your team members share similar values in principle, differences will emerge in stressful or controversial situations. Conflict isn’t something you should intentionally avoid, and it’s certainly not something you should ignore, so come up with a strategy for how to resolve conflicts peacefully. One of the most valuable tools in your arsenal is going to be neutral mediation; use a third party to help each team member in the conflict express themselves and find compromises that can make all parties happy. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but better conflict resolution habits can strengthen your team further. 
  •       Celebrate wins together. You’ve already set important team goals for the entire organization to work for, so when you achieve those goals (or hopefully, surpass them), celebrate those wins together. Take the team out for lunch, plan a party, schedule a trip to an escape room, or exercise your creativity and become something more dynamic and entertaining.

Teambuilding isn’t always easy, but it is always valuable – and arguably necessary. As long as you’re willing to make a proactive effort to bring your people together and create an environment that supports them, you should have no trouble achieving this unity.

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