How to Build a Winning Team

Almost nothing in our modern workplace is done single-handedly. Teamwork is the new normal, and the amount of time we spend in collaborative work has increased by 50 percent in the past two decades

Effective teamwork brings together diverse experiences and viewpoints to create the best possible outcome. But when it comes to your organization, could HR become more of a team player?

“The one common thread across every department is people,” says J. Paul Rand, executive director of RSolutions. “Only 17% of organizations are leading with a people-first strategy. There’s room for HR’s leadership throughout the organization.”

HR is in the business of people — people that your business can’t function without. A winning team has to include all of an organization’s key players, and HR can lead the way. Here’s how.

Build Cross-Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams are key because they integrate perspectives from across the organization to produce the best results, Rand says. “A good team is cross-functional and cross-hierarchical,” he says. “HR’s role is to facilitate teams that embrace diversity of thought.”

HR provides the structure for teams across the organization and is in the best position to find the intersection between a company’s culture and its individual people’s business intelligence. A good cross-functional team can drive profitable performance within each division, Rand says.

Team-building coach Georg Fasching agrees. “Siloed department structures are actually doing the organization's ability to achieve its goals a disservice,” he says. “HR is in a unique position to play a significant role in helping the organization build multidisciplinary teams.”

Reach Out Across the Organization

Diversifying team perspectives includes adding an HR representative to each team across the organization. For HR to truly play a strategic role, it’s vital to include a people strategy perspective in every team and at every level. “Taking on a strategic role means more than being the brain at the executive level,” Rand says. “HR serves a better strategic function as a skeletal framework, linking business intelligence with emotional intelligence across the organization.”

Managers and team leaders can benefit the most from HR’s support. Many leaders lack the tools and training they need to be successful in a people management position, but HR can fill that gap. “Learning and development for team leaders is vital,” Fasching says. “HR can teach team leaders the skills they need to support their teams and people in the right way.”

Plan for Disruption

Work is constantly evolving, and teams aren’t immune from that disruption. It’s important to know what affects a team’s success so HR can monitor those factors. “Eighty percent of the factors affecting a team’s success can be summed up in three aspects: composition and environment, kickoff and ongoing support,” Fasching says.

HR plays a crucial role in each of these areas, especially as work continues to evolve. And it’s in a particularly good position to keep tabs on team compositions and environments. As work changes, HR can supply new members with fresh perspectives or additional resources.