CEOs around the globe have asserted this message since the beginning of time. To no surprise, many employees have grown cynical of this claim, having seen little action to back up this sentiment in the past.

But the ground is shifting on the HR landscape. Companies are acknowledging that innovation, growth, and performance depend largely on a people-focused strategy—and they are taking action. Organizations are no longer optimizing solely for processes, but are finding ways to optimize the employee experience to create compelling, personalized, and engaging employee journeys.

By implementing people management strategies that focus on people outcomes instead of HR practices, companies are able to drive engagement and collaboration—and this makes a difference to the bottom line.

The rise of teams

The game is changing. As much as a people-focused strategy is vital to engagement and performance, a collaborative approach to working is fundamental to problem-solving and driving progress. Companies are realizing that top-down, formal reporting hierarchies and silo-based organizational models are detrimental to innovation and growth—and they’re making a shift. Forward-thinking organizations are pivoting towards a flexible, team-based model that encourages collaboration and community across departments and the enterprise as a whole.

A recent report by Deloitte remarked on the value of “establishing dynamic networks of empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique, powerful—and digital—ways.” A Harvard Business Review article from 2016 concurred, suggesting that collaboration is taking over the workplace. As business becomes increasingly global and cross-functional, teamwork is the key to success, breaking down silos and increasing connectivity. Indeed, time spent by managers and employees working collaboratively has increased by more than 50% over the past two decades.1

The benefits of team-based organizations

The goal of successful companies should be to increase organizational flexibility and capitalize on teams’ collective intelligence while simplifying the way people work together. By giving small groups the freedom to experiment and encouraging everyone to share what they learn across the organization, team-based organizations can leverage best practices while building trust and community.2

A recent New York Times article about Google’s quest to build the perfect team highlighted research that demonstrated that people working in teams tend to innovate faster, achieve better results, and report higher job satisfaction. Profitability is also positively correlated with collaboration.3 By adopting a flatter, team-based organizational structure, companies can share information rapidly to increase responsiveness, solve problems faster, and improve customer service—and ultimately boost the bottom line.

Over to you

According to a Deloitte study, 38% of companies and 24% of large companies (>50,000 employees) have moved away from functional structures towards dynamic networks of teams. Has your organization made the shift? Are you taking advantage of the myriad benefits of a team-based organizational structure in the workplace?

Get more insight into how HR professionals are redefining teamwork, engagement, and leadership in our latest ebook: The Future of People Management in the Digital Age, Part 1.

1. https://hbr.org/2016/01/collaborative-overload
2. https://mcchrystalgroup.com/teamofteams
3. https://nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html

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