Fors Marsh Group just made the Inc 5000 list for the third year in a row. We are surrounded by a number of other companies throughout the country experiencing tremendous growth - especially in regard to the number of employees they are hiring. So far in 2015, FMG has seen a huge surge in growth - with over 32 new hires since January 1, and another 10 expected before 2016. While extremely exciting, companies facing this much growth should realize that now is the time to put a strong emphasis on teamwork, a topic we all know something about, but many of us might not practice effectively. In the past few months, we've seen the need for effective teamwork transition from important to critical to facilitate the success of our projects. In order to adapt to new team needs, there are several key issues we are working to address and recommend you do as well:
- Integration: First, many (if not all) of our well established teams at FMG have one or more team members who are new to the company. Introducing a new team member to an intact team leads to an increase in human capital, but also can lead to a disruption of team processes. Since the goal should be full utilization of the new team member as quickly as possible, here are three items to address to reduce a team's growing pains and foster an easy transition.
- Introductions. New team members should be introduced to all other team members early in the process of integrating them to the team. This includes sharing the subject matter expertise of current team members.
- Background knowledge. Team members should quickly be brought up to speed on the projects that the team is working on, the strategy that the teams are using to address client needs, and the goals they are aiming to accomplish. This encourages full utilization of the new team member immediately.
- Norms. The unwritten rules of the team should be communicated early to new team members in order to prevent confusion and uncomfortable situations. Norms include how quickly team members expect an email response, how to address certain team members, etc.
- Conflict resolution: Team members need to manage activities and procedural interdependencies amongst their fellow team members. Through an understanding of conflict types and sources, conflict should be addressed, and positive conflict should be encouraged.
- Collaborative problem solving: As part of external and internal project work, teams must be able to resolve challenges using inductive and deductive reasoning. Appropriate situations and obstacles for group problem solving should be recognized.
- Goal setting and performance management: The ability to help establish goals which are specific, challenging, and acceptable by all team members is key to team success. For the overall team and individual team members, this includes being able to monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback.
- Planning and task coordination: Team managers and members must be able to coordinate members' activities, information, and levels of interdependency. This includes establishing task and role expectations to facilitate a proper workload division for the team.
Not only can these strategies be helpful for employees who are new to a company, they can also benefit those who are new to an ongoing project. Taking these steps can prevent new team members from feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unhappy with their both their work and the individuals they will be working with. By paying close attention and following these first steps, you can be well on your way to future team success. If effective teamwork habits are established now, it will benefit each successive team you are a part of, therefore benefitting clients and quality of work, too.