October 23, 2019

The benefits of assessing team fit first

Most of us work in teams, single teams, multiple teams, leadership teams, cross functional teams. Teamwork has its highs and lows but we work better when we work together.

So why does team fit tend to come as an afterthought in the recruitment or company design processes?

At Saberr we believe that the hardest problems of today’s world are going to be solved by teams and not by individuals. Collaboration is the key to our successes, not just in business but also in life. Therefore team fit should be top of our agenda.

Why?

  1. Good team fit means higher productivity

Almost half of an employee’s success in the first 18 months on the job can be attributed to how the employee fits in with others in the organisation while the rest of their success depends on whether they can do the job.

59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas, against only 3% of disengaged employees.

Teams with higher engagement outperform less engaged teams in customer rating (10%), profitability (22%) and productivity (21%).

2. People who get along with their teams stay longer

An engaged employee is 87% more likely to stay with an organisation. Being surrounded and supported by team mates you like and enjoy spending time with makes the working day much easier. While your tasks might be a challenge, relationships are a breeze.

There’s also added benefits of working with others, you have the chance to celebrate your achievements and in turn, boost moral, “if you work alone, who are you going to high-five when you get something working?

3. Average performers with good team fit can achieve more than a team of high performers

This really surprises people — a team of average performers who work well together can outperform a team full of high performers. Why? The culture of striving for individual success often comes at the detriment of the the team. Collaboration reduces and productivity falls so instead of using the joint knowledge of a team of skilled people, we see competitive individual contributions, and ultimately no winners.

Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk explains how this works both in nature (with a team of super chickens) and in the workplace — a good listen.

4. Poor team fit gets in the way of getting things done

There’s nothing people hate more than meetings for the sake of meetings or even worse pre meeting meetings! Diaries full of weekly catch ups, progress reviews and 1:1s that result from low trust and poor team communication leading to days of start stop work with little progress.

If team fit isn’t something top of mind right at the beginning it’s likely there’s going to be obstacles along the way. Trying to fix team fit or create new teams can also lead to stop start work. Restructuring is often associated with constant meetings, confusion over roles and responsibilities and hours of admin. Desk reorganisation alone can become a month long headache (plus, packing up your draws to move to the dreaded wall facing desk under the AC is never a good start to the week!)

If you can get it right first time, working well together increases productivity and accountability, particularly if you like and respect your teammates and don’t want to let them down. Or if you have a more laid back team, that little added peer pressure or some friendly competition can be a great motivator to deliver your best work.

How to find good team fit

We know team fit work but how do you get there? Typically, in team design skills and experience are where most people start, this makes complete sense, ensuring you have the right balance of skills to get the job done. However it only tells 50% of the story, it’s the ‘invisible’ factors of teamwork that make up the crucial second 50%.

Organisational fit and personality are usually next to be assessed, however we believe personal values are what really count in finding good team fit.

To date, Saberr has profiled more than 1,092 teams in 49 countries and have found a strong values alignment can explain 20–30% of team performance, a significantly strong indicator when personality accounts for just 5–7% of performance variance.

Even small improvements to the way teams work together can have outsized impact, so assessing team fit first will give you and your team a head start to success!

“Talent wins games but teamwork wins championships” Michael Jordan

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