SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Collaboration and cross-functional teamwork are important and growing aspects of business today. Yet new research from Reflektive, the leading performance management platform, suggests that teamwork is a major pain point for U.S. workers.
In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees, 46% reported working on teams is difficult due to different working styles, and almost everyone finds it difficult to contribute in a meaningful way in large teams. More than a third of the employees surveyed said alignment is the biggest challenge to successful business execution. About the same share said they don’t track their team’s goals, and more than half said they have partial to no visibility into other teams’ goals.
“Business success today hinges on employees’ ability to work together in teams,” said Reflektive CEO Greg Brown. “And teams work best when their members and efforts are aligned. But without the proper tools, open communication and goal visibility, it’s hard for teams to get and stay on the same page, track business progress and achieve optimal business outcomes.”
Evolving Work Habits and Team Dynamics are Creating New Challenges
Today’s organizations work dynamically in agile and collaborative environments. The vast majority (81%) of the survey group said that they frequently work as part of a team. Teams are no longer just departmental – they also are cross-functional and project-based. That may help explain why 69% of workers surveyed said that company-wide goal alignment is key to their success. However, that does not match the way many businesses actually function.
Reflektive research shows that:
- More than 35% of survey participants said alignment is the biggest challenge to successful business execution.
- Yet nearly 36% of the survey respondents said they don’t keep track of their own team’s goals.
- More than half (53%) said they have only partial or no visibility into other teams’ goals.
Alignment Can Lead to Higher Engagement and Positive Attitudes Toward Teamwork
Companies that invest the time and resources to enable collaboration and visibility tend to be more productive, effective and engaging.
U.S. employees who work for organizations with good cross-functional alignment are:
- 180% more likely to agree that being part of a team inspires them to do their best work.
- 101% more likely to prefer working on a team vs. working on their own.
- 98% more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work.
Employees at companies with good cross-functional alignment are 56% more likely than others to feel excited when they learn about a new team project. That relationship may be particularly impactful for female and younger workers. The survey results indicate that women are twice as likely as men to feel anxious when they first hear about a new team project; however, older workers are 114% less likely to be concerned and 20% more likely to be excited about new projects compared to their younger peers.
Gen Xers are Perceived as Easy to Work With, but Some Views on Team Diversity May Surprise You
Workers across all age brackets found Gen Xers easiest to work with. Meanwhile, the general consensus across all generations was that millennials and Gen Z were the most challenging individuals with which to work.
While other studies have highlighted the business benefits of team diversity, and more than 54% of the employees Reflektive surveyed said they prefer to work with diverse teams, there’s variation on preferences — and some of them may come as a surprise.
The survey results indicate younger workers care less about diversity than their peers and don’t believe teamwork brings out the best in them. Younger workers were almost 21% less likely to prefer a diverse team at work, 232% more likely to prefer all-male teams and 146% more likely to prefer all-female teams. The youngest employees (ages 18 to 24) were 106% more likely to strongly disagree that being part of a team inspires them to do their best.
All Age Groups Agree it’s Important to Keep Team Sizes Manageable and Have Proper Tools
Regardless of age, workers said team size is an important factor in effective collaboration. More than 90% said that it’s hard to contribute in a meaningful way to teams of six or more.
However, older workers were 94% more likely than the other age groups to say they don’t have the needed tools to work with other teams effectively, and 40% of C-suite leaders believe that they could work together more effectively if they had new technology. That’s noteworthy, considering the full survey group cited communication as the biggest challenge to teamwork.
Feedback Is a Key Element of Effective Teamwork and Benefit of Cross-Functional Alignment
The survey results emphasized that feedback is an important part of team communication. Improved team communication can enable improvement, retention and stronger performance. Nearly three-fourths (74%) of the survey group agreed that high-performing teams share constructive feedback and commit to continuous improvements. Almost as many (72%) said constructive feedback helps their team execute on its business strategy more effectively.
Better processes for feedback and goal-setting also may motivate employees to stay with their companies longer. Reflektive research indicates that employees who believe their companies have good processes for feedback and goal-setting are nearly 2.4 times more likely to work at that company two years in the future.
“This research illustrates that having the proper tools in place allows for better alignment, improved goal-setting, greater employee engagement, healthier working relationships, higher worker retention and improved business results,” said Brown. “This is what Reflektive is all about. Our technology enables teams to engage in more meaningful ways, align on shared outcomes, and ultimately optimize business execution. We aim to empower cross-functional, project-based, dynamic teams across your organization to keep your business continuously improving.”
Reflektive is a performance management company built for top performers and growing businesses. With Reflektive, you can scale constructive, ongoing conversations that keep your people and your business continuously improving. More than 500 forward-thinking customers — including Allbirds, PagerDuty, Pinterest, Privia Health and Protective Life Insurance — trust Reflektive to modernize people and performance management. Backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and TPG Growth, Reflektive has raised more than $100 million to date and was ranked the 13th Fastest Growing Company in North America on Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 500™. For more information, please visit www.reflektive.com.