Having a team that can get the job done is the key to the success for any organisation. When a team runs like a well oiled machine or perfect piece of code, it’s simply magical. So, how does an organisation create high performing teams? It should be no surprise that culture is a big driver of performance. In addition, given below are the 6 key elements to building high performing tech team.
Values driven organisation ensures that every team member is on the same page in regards to the overall outcome or mission of what the organisation is trying to achieve. The members must intrinsically hold those values themselves. In order to drive these values and recruit based on that criteria, an organisation must have clearly defined values. A founder must sit and reflect on: why they started their business; what key problems are they solving; and how are they making a difference. Only when they have answered these questions can they find like minded employees who will carry those values day in and day out. In a nutshell, they need to ensure that the recruitment process filters candidates for these values. Remember skills can be taught but values are harder to instill. Think outside the prescribed and outdated interview questions such as “what are your weaknesses?” Because can we all agree that such questions only encourage half truth and don’t really dig into what the employee really values.
Mutual respect and trust
As an employee, knowing that you have the trust of your employer to get the job done can be a big factor in driving performance. A culture of trust and respect helps each employee feel valued and a part of the organisation. Micromanaging, on the other hand, can cause employees to become disengaged and lead to higher employee turnover. Driving a culture of respect and trust is particularly important in the tech start up space. A founder of a new tech company might be hesitant to relinquish control and autonomy to employees, mainly due to a feeling that the project is their baby and only they can be trusted with it. A tech founder can display trust and respect for their employees by asking for their opinions on matters, giving them a project with a loose scope to allow for innovation, and ensuring that they are approachable when concerns arise. Setting these standards from the start will prime an organisation to perform and attract employees who can think outside the box.
Diversity in the team
Diversity brings along new and different ideas, thinking, and ways of doing things. In an organisation that hires a similar demographic, there can be a tendency for groupthink, a phenomenon in which a group of people brainstorming will come up with an idea without applying critical thinking because they all look at things in a similar perspective. The status quo is never challenged, leading to stifled innovation. Having a team from a diverse background, age range, and technical ability can go a long way in building a high performing team. For instance, the tech space is largely male dominated which can lead to missing out on some unique perspectives and skills that women bring to the table. Ensuring a diverse workforce will assist organisations to perform at a higher level.
Flexible working arrangements
Gone are the days when flexible working arrangements were only available to employees of the best and brightest organisations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become commonplace in organisations that largely require their workforce to sit in front of a computer. So, why are flexible working arrangements part of building a high performing team? Each employee is different, so the idea that every single person can perform their best by commuting to an office and working in an open plan environment is frankly outdated. The pandemic facilitated an experiment for all organisations to see how their employees coped with remote working. The result? Some found they work much better at home, allowing them more time to attend to family matters rather than commuting, while others found they much prefer working in the office. So, what does this mean for organisations going forward? Some will provide a combination of both while others will remain much the same as before. The important factor is knowing how your team performs best and facilitating the best option for each employee with a measure of balance and equity which will eventually lead to higher productivity and performance.
Learning that promotes innovation
Employees must be given space to test and experiment in order to create new and innovative products. The idea that an employee must know the answer to a problem because it’s their job is preposterous. One must be encouraged to learn and grow, which often involves some bumps and grazes along the way. Some of the best inventions have come out of mistakes or through trial and error. So, one often wonders as to how one can promote innovation and learning in the workplace? The answer is rather simple: block out time for creative thinking, encourage employees to test and try new ideas, and promptly implement new ideas, when possible.
Fun in the workplace
It is important for every workplace to engage and entertain their employees. Studies suggest that employees who have fun at work are more productive and less stressed.
Building a culture that encourages employees to have fun while at work is beneficial for long term performance.
The fun shouldn’t just be designated for outside of work hours for after work drinks or lunch at a cafe. It can be built into the work day. Some organisations in the tech world have a Friday afternoon tech chat with a beer where they discuss problems they faced during the week and brainstorm on ideas to resolve them. Remote teams can also get in on the fun, with a quick zoom quiz or online game.
We’ve looked at the key elements that make up a high performing team. You will notice all the elements of people first strategies. After all, a company is made up of people. So the only way to be truly successful and create high performing teams is to set up frameworks and a culture that puts your employees first.
6 key elements to building high performing tech team.
Learn the secrets to building high performance start up teams
Listen to episode 67 pf the DevReady Podcast, where we cover;
● How High-performing teams are values-driven.
● Why being people-first is better than numbers first.
● Creating psychological safety.
● How to celebrate wins as a team.
● Why remote work needs to be looked at on an individual basis.
● The rise of Zoom fatigue.