“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

A team grows best when it combines the tried and true with the new and innovative. If you want to see teamwork thrive in your company, driving collaboration between long-term associates and new team members is a necessity. Some enterprises excel at it. Others, however, struggle–especially with Generation Y joining the team in larger numbers.

Merging your company’s tribal knowledge with a fresh outside perspective of new hires promotes optimal collaboration amongst the team. By holding on to what has made your business successful, you remember your values and continue in that vein. By accepting new ideas into the mix, you are staying fresh and creative; never relying too much on your past knowledge and experience. Alone, neither will get you where you want to go. Together, they take you to new heights.

Here’s how you make it happen:

Merging the Cultures

You need to merge the cultures if you want to see your business continue growing. If you cannot bridge seasoned contributors with new hires, a culture of frustration can soon arise. Even worse, a lack of workplace education often leads to stymied creativity and production across the board. This can eventually result in you losing key members of the company.

That’s why our team believes that coaching is one of the best ways to infuse veteran leadership with new perspectives.

As I’ve mentioned before, education is a pillar to our beliefs–and it starts on day one. Beginning with our New Associate Education Program, we continually educate one another because there is a wealth of information to gain from sharing knowledge in the workspace. Pacesetter’s approach to coaching isn’t a one-way street from manager to report. Rather, we place the responsibility on associates throughout the organization to coach and educate each other. In doing so, each person is granted the opportunity to share their knowledge and insights, as well as learn from their colleagues. This begins creating a bridge of information that unites everyone.

Our experienced team members lead initial training sessions, providing new associates with an inside look into team culture, tribal knowledge and methodologies. Soon after, we switch roles with our new team members educating us about their experience with technologies and methods they’ve recently learned. We share best practices all round.  I follow the motto I first heard many years ago “Take what you like and leave the rest.” It reminds to listen to others ideas and be open, knowing that I can implement them in my own unique way.  This is something I discuss with our team members often.

Beyond combining the new with the veteran leadership of our company, peer to peer coaching, knowledge sharing and best practice sharing are proven approaches your company should consider. With benefits ranging from associate satisfaction/retention to productivity and career growth, developing peer to peer educational opportunities is sure to bring out the best of your entire company.

Team Building

A team can’t form in the classroom alone. It has to extend into the culture of the company. We believe in a series of team building opportunities at Pacesetter. From group efforts around our collaborative space in the center of the office to giving associates the days off to volunteer in their community, we want our team to know they are a valued asset to the family.

If you are skipping on work culture opportunities, it’s time to revise your approach. These events allow for team members to bond. Invaluable chances like these don’t always come about, and they can be hard to forge once the moment has passed. It takes a proactive mind(s) to gauge the needs of its team.

Don’t treat this as a call for grand plans, either. It can be as simple has having a get to know you or team building exercise at the beginning of a regular meeting. One could also host a small get-together in the break room over sandwiches or even do a potluck with a contest for best dish.

Don’t limit your teams to their individual silos. Instead, use these opportunities to bridge gaps and improve cross-functional collaboration. Having a manager from department XYZ link-up with a new team member from another department fosters bonds while giving managers a fresh look at what the company is bringing on board. If leaders are demonstrating this example, others will follow.

Steps like these are sure to strengthen team unity and minimize turnover.

See How They Work Together

Now that you have training and bonding sessions in your plans, it’s time to focus on daily application. With a constant eye on this aspect, you create an environment that cultivates relationships, trust and respect amongst your team. In short, you create a happy balance between work and play.

Some might think that work and play don’t go together in the workplace. At Pacesetter, we disagree and actively embrace fun as a vital component of team building. People often spend more time at work than anywhere else in their week. Their time must be meaningful and purposeful before it becomes tedious and monotonous. Creating an atmosphere where they can joke and collaborate allows for bonds to form. Work has to be serious at times, but not always. In doing so, people are more likely to be open with their team, share joys and ask for help when needed. This fosters an air of realness in the office, allowing for an open office and optimal productivity.

If you find your company lacking in this department, it’s time to make a few changes. The modifications are rather simple and quite effective. We promote a workplace that excels on teamwork. This happens through our partnership initiatives that bring our seasoned veterans together with new associates. We partner our experienced members with newcomers on projects, allowing for maximum collaboration amongst the growing team. In doing so, your company can maintain team unity through any circumstance. All with little changes to the overall company dynamic.

At Pacesetter, we embrace this sort of collaboration on every project. Going beyond customer service responsibilities, we encourage team efforts in everything from our lunches to implementing new strategies and techniques that benefit us as a whole. Keeping ideas fresh and partnership at the forefront of our minds, we position ourselves as the company we want to be.

Work is open; unity is the goal and success flourishes in no time.