This article originally appeared in BOSS Magazine.
Building healthy teams requires business leaders to take an interest in the professional, emotional, and physical health of their team members. Those three components must be ingrained in the company culture if you want to grow your business, retain talent, and keep your organization on the cutting edge.
Keeping your team engaged is vital—and by engaged I mean that team members look forward to coming to work, are on board and enthusiastic about your company’s core purpose and values, and are actively working to achieve the goals of your organization. Research conducted by Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing/Aon Hewitt found that companies with the most engaged team members had 26 percent lower employee turnover, 20 percent lower absenteeism, and 15 percent greater employee productivity.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that half of your team is probably not engaged. A study by Gallup showed that 33 percent of employees in the U.S. considered themselves engaged in their jobs 51 percent were “not engaged” and another 16 percent considered themselves “actively disengaged.”
Most business leaders have seen their fair share of healthy teams and unhealthy teams. The unhealthy ones are easy to spot—team members come in late and leave early because the work atmosphere is less than supportive and senior managers show visible signs of being stressed out or out-of-shape physically. As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to create a healthy work environment that retains and attracts talented team members and maximizes their productivity. The cost of having an unhealthy work environment is astonishing. According to Mental Health America, workplace mental health issues cost US businesses $500 billion a year in lost productivity.
Building a healthy team requires a deep commitment. But if you follow these three steps, you’ll find your team members are emotionally and physically stronger, and in the right shape to help you achieve your company’s goals.
Communication is vital to engaging your coworkers and building a healthy team. Get into a regular meeting rhythm and keep the lines of communication open to ensure everyone is engaged, informed, and aligned.
Without a doubt, a daily huddle is one of the most useful tools for increasing engagement and alignment. In his breakthrough book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish describes how Nelson Rockefeller had daily meetings every day for 19 years while he built Standard Oil into an energy colossus. Daily huddles allow team members to share what’s going on in their lives, personally and professionally.
Make sure you’re also having weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings with your team. In addition to helping everyone stay on track to meet the business’s goals and objectives, there’s another important benefit: the rhythm of regular meetings benefits team members by reinforcing the need to stay engaged collectively and, just as importantly, support each other when challenges arise.
Get to know your team members. Have personal, authentic conversations with each of them on a regular basis or as often as you can. That can be difficult when you have a busy schedule, and it can be stressful, as you may get emotional or feel vulnerable, but that’s okay. Showing vulnerability allows your team to see more of the real you and will pay dividends when it comes to strengthening your relationship.
Take time to understand why you respect your team members. Learn what they want to hear from you and how they want to hear it. High-performing, healthy teams are built around mutual trust and respect, and that can only be accomplished by knowing the members of your organization on a personal level.
As a leader you need to show your team members how it’s done and dedicate yourself to showing your passion and motivation in everything you do. Pay attention to the little things. Make sure you’re open to communication with your team members, show up on time for meetings, and have a positive attitude.
Companies sustain their competitive edge when team members are actively involved with the business, share knowledge, and inspire each other—and it starts at the top. When your team sees your genuine excitement and enthusiasm they’ll be much more likely to increase their energy level and get on board.
Healthy teams exude confidence and drive. As a business leader, you owe it to your team to create a work environment that’s healthy, challenging, and fun.