What do you think of when you hear the term “fourth industrial revolution”? You’d probably start with the terms “digital disruption” and “breakthrough technologies,” such as artificial intelligence, automation, big data, and blockchain, to emphasise the innovations that have ushered in this upheaval. 1 These are some of the most well-known ideas of our time, with the potential to alter industry in the next decade and beyond.
Despite the fact that the speed of change is quickening and the corporate playbook is constantly being torn up and rewritten, one component remains consistent and critical to any company’s success: people. In fact, going digital has undoubtedly increased the importance of the human element in the business equation. 2
“Today, all the important things are the ones you can’t download.” It’s everything you’d have to upload the old-fashioned way: from one human to the next.” 3
— Thomas Friedman, New York Times Op-Ed Columnist
Professor Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive chairman, has consistently said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution would be “human-led and human-centered,”4 a notion backed up by numerous offices and boardrooms throughout the world. Almost a third of today’s CEOs think that employees working in teams conduct “most” or “almost all” of their work, with 74% believing that a team-based approach improves organisational performance. 5
This isn’t to say that putting together a team and hoping for the best is the only way to succeed in business. A workforce that is devoid of motivation is bound to fail. According to a recent Gallup study, barely a third of American workers are engaged, passionate, or devoted to their work and workplace. 6 According to another studies, the majority of employees are just “mildly” driven, passionate, or enthusiastic about their professions. 7
Organizations must focus on what it takes to establish and retain a competitive team and foster a thriving corporate culture now more than ever.
Shock to the system
Businesses that overlook the value of a healthy business culture do so at their risk. Culture is more than simply a motivating billboard or a clever phrase; it is the driving force behind an organization’s principles, and it necessitates a true dedication to living and breathing it every day.
When done correctly, corporate culture may provide a long-term and sustainable competitive advantage, as well as being a significant aspect in the successful implementation of a company’s strategic goal.
8 The truth, on the other hand, is frequently far less rosy. According to studies, just about a third of employees believe their company has a good culture,9 and almost half of employees say their leadership is only partially or not at all devoted to addressing the issue. 10 The implications for any company are staggering: Employees are increasingly citing culture as a crucial reason for accepting a position,11 passing on the perfect job,12 or quitting outright. 13
Traditionally, team building – the call for employees to gather for a scheduled group activity on a regular basis – has been seen as an important strategy for improving company culture. However, with as many as 80% of CEOs now believing that company culture must develop in order to prosper, grow, and retain the finest people, it’s time to reconsider traditional team building exercises. 14
A shattered structure
The data don’t make for especially good reading for any supporters of the existing quo in team development. According to recent study, barely a quarter of employees say that their company succeeds at team development. 15
The common concerns are that team building exercises are an unwelcome and time-consuming diversion, lacking in structure and even appropriateness.
16 To put it another way, many employees still don’t understand the point. Evidently, communicating the very real and important value of cooperation and collaboration to employees requires more than an impromptu quarterly event of forced engagement.
The new standard
The COVID-19 epidemic, which has become the scourge of ‘business as usual,’ may compel a shift to typical team-building exercises, highlighting the need for a rethink.
With nearly half of employees now preferring a model that allows them to work from home more frequently in the future17 and three out of every four chief financial officers planning to shift at least 5% of on-site employees to permanent remote positions18, business leaders must now consider a reality in which assembling a team in person may no longer be feasible.
Working from home poses a unique and significant challenge to team culture. Remote employees may speak less with coworkers than they did previously19, leading to a sense of isolation, decreased productivity, and even decreased creativity. 20 In a virtual workplace, it’s easy to forget the value of connections and treat employees like cogs in a machine that are out of sight and out of mind. 21 Furthermore, any sense of demotivation that stems from an employee’s perception of isolation can have a substantial influence on team spirit and set off a detrimental domino effect. 22
Clearly, the classic team building event’s ‘quick fix’ is no longer sufficient, nor is it even conceivable. A fresh course is essential in this new normal.
A shift in strategy
The continual devotion of individuals trying together towards a similar objective — not just once a quarter, but all year – is what causes true change and enables persistent growth.
Rather of imposing connection through contrived events that have nothing to do with a team’s daily work, there is great value in creating more spontaneous relationships by incorporating culture into everyday tasks.
Long-term success comes from cultivating mutual respect rather than capturing a flag or solving a riddle, and sustained fulfilment comes from building real-world relationships with an emphasis on emotional intelligence rather than capturing a flag or solving a challenge.
23 People are more productive, motivated, engaged, and nearly three times more likely to contribute to their full capacity when they feel appreciated and have a sense of belonging, which has major bottom-line business benefits.