Learning & Development, Startup HR

New Data Sheds Light on the Health of Corporate Teams

Collaboration and teamwork are essential to the success of any business. In the modern economy, it’s the human capital of organizations that serves as their greatest assets. When the individuals that make up a company’s workforce have the ability to work together effectively, that combination truly is far greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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Unfortunately, many American companies haven’t historically been great at building and maintaining healthy teams, and the widespread shift to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the logistics of team collaboration more challenging.

The State of Teams

According to the Atlassian State of Teams study, only 17 percent of teams in the study ranked as “healthy teams,” based on the metrics of the study. Fifty-four percent were ranked “partially healthy teams,” and 29 percent were ranked as “unhealthy teams.” The research was based on a survey of 1568 knowledge workers across Australia and the U.S. (535 from Australia; 1033 from the U.S.) with a focus on knowledge workers aged between 21 and 65 operating in teams.

Interestingly, while the logistics of teamwork are more challenging with remote or hybrid teams than office teams, the Atlassian data showed virtually no difference between the health of in-person versus remote or hybrid teams. In fact, remote and hybrid teams were actually slightly healthier.

Factors Leading to Healthy Teams

So, what factors contributed to whether or not a team was healthy? Here are some of the key factors contributing to team health as reported by Atlassian:

  • A shared understanding of the team’s goals and each person’s role in pursuing them.
  • Adaptive planning practices that allow for adjusting the plan when the situation calls for it.
  • A culture that celebrates achievement (but doesn’t punish failure).
  • Regular opportunities to reflect in a blame-free environment.
  • Timely, constructive feedback that flows both ways between managers and their direct reports.

Factors that contributed to unhealthy teams included poor connection and alignment, a lack of psychological safety and a lack of a healthy climate.

In a knowledge-based economy, human capital is what sets great companies apart from their competitors. Individual performers are a key part of that success, but far more important is the ability of those star performers—or even average performers—to work together as part of exceptional teams.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Guest Contributor at HR Daily Advisor.