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November 9, 2021

Team Culture in the Workplace and Why You Need to Build it

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Written by
Denise Nel
Team & Culture, The Delta

In the workplace, teams of people with different personality types spend, in some cases, more time with each other than they do with their spouses, whether they like it or not. This is why the culture of an organisation plays an enormous role in creating a space where every employee feels valued and motivated to work towards achieving their goals.

Team culture is the ability for each staff member to work in an environment that is in line with their own values, beliefs, and goals. Team leads should want to see each team member enjoying their work, being happy, engaged, and productive while feeling supported and recognised.

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The Delta Studio team smiling on the beach together.
Image of author
Written by
Denise Nel
Team & Culture, The Delta
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Defining team culture

A strong team culture system is designed around four key elements, namely: values, rituals, stories, and consequences. 

Values: the qualities of expression that the culture considers most important. 

Rituals: the formal and informal procedures and celebrations that the culture adheres to. 

Stories: the formal and informal experiences that describe the culture’s values in action. 

Consequences: what happens when values are violated.

Intuitively, we all understand that building a values-based organisation can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved. It creates great organisational resilience, inspires the best in its people and customers and builds a sustained advantage that’s hard for competitors to duplicate. 

Team culture in action

At The Delta, maintaining a healthy and collaborative team culture is always high on the agenda. No matter how large our team becomes, time is always set aside for weekly catch-ups with the full team as well as regular one-on-one check-ins. Staff are also encouraged to give praise to each other online, do regular pulse surveys, share knowledge, showcase skills and experiences through ‘Delta Talks’ and demo days and celebrate our successes at least once a month with fun all-inclusive online team events. For those who can and are up to it, we also get together once a month to socialise and to support local restaurants and bars, getting the opportunity to mingle on a more personal level. 

The case for culture

The world as we know it has changed, and the workplace is not exempt. For us at The Delta, these difficult times revealed the importance of adaptability, innovation and the role that culture plays in helping to successfully make it to the other side of a monumental crisis. 

Some key things The Delta team have learned this year are:

  • Developing a strong team is about having a group of individuals who are working towards a shared goal or focusing on a collective effort greater than themselves. 
  • Regular meetings build rapport, encourage productivity and bring the importance of improving the team to the forefront. 
  • Great team culture emphasizes leadership and mentorship over harsh management. 
  • It is important to take the time to get to know the people on your team.
  • Proactive, constructive feedback is one of the best ways to help your team continue to improve. Don’t over-complicate this process; feedback is often more impactful when it is an informal and natural part of an ongoing dialogue.
  • Promoting a culture of learning motivates staff to want to keep growing and adding to their skill set. 
  • Employee wellness and insisting team members cultivate a healthy work-life balance is crucial to long-term output, creativity and productivity.

Building and encouraging an effective team culture is a bi-directional, inside-out model that starts with the self at its core, and then spreads to the team level and starts to shift the organisational culture as a whole. 

The organisations that come out the strongest are the ones where leaders have not only taken steps to strengthen and grow their team and company culture but have also peeled back the layers to focus on the individual, including themselves.

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