Team-Building Strategies to Improve Employee Performance

Mary Campbell Jenkins

Mary Campbell Jenkins, executive vice president, The Arbor Company

Strong teams are instrumental to the success of senior care businesses, but with the stress and increased workload of the pandemic, it’s easy to lose the focus on developing those teams. Implementing improved team building strategies can help to develop a sense of value and engagement among staff, and the result may be improved performance and a better quality of care for residents.

The Importance of Team Building in the Senior Care Industry

Mary Campbell Jenkins, executive vice president of The Arbor Company, explains that team building can have important benefits in a senior care setting. “I think the greatest ultimate benefit of team building is creating a work environment where everyone feels they belong and can contribute,” she says. “The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. The team is high-functioning; every member is actively engaged and contributing.”

Jenkins advocates for an evergreen approach to team building, likening teams to the canary in the coal mine of a company’s culture. “Culture needs tending constantly like any living thing,” she says. Jenkins notes that both individuals and teams need attention and care, and suggests that taking an ongoing approach to this can help to support the team and the culture.

There are also situations that warrant an increased focus on team building, such as when a company knows it will be facing a challenge. She suggests that team building can help ensure that everyone is engaged and contributing during key times such as the implementation of a new program or initiative. “The stress challenges create will put pressure on a team, and you want to be well-attuned to each other before that challenge,” she says.

Finding the Right Team Building Solution

There are many different approaches to team building, ranging from different ways of staff having fun together to a session of staff doing deep work together. Jenkins notes that it’s important for a company to choose the right tools for the right moment.

Professional facilitators can also help, but Jenkins highlights the importance of choosing the right facilitator for the company. “I think the first quality that a great facilitator needs to have a strong curiosity or an ability to listen well,” she says. “I think you need to be comfortable that they are in search of a deep understanding of your organization, and that they’re not just selling off-the-shelf tools they use everywhere. They need to understand you and your needs and selectively pick out which tools they’ll use.”

Jenkins notes that sometimes leaders get nervous that they won’t know how to do team building exercises, and they decide they need to hire a consultant – but this can slow down the process. “There’s so much they can do on their own,” she says. She suggests that leaders visit, which offers activities designed to help staff get to know each other, build connections, solve problems together, and imagine a better reality. The tools are inclusive and easy to use.

Focusing on team building takes effort and time, but it’s an investment that can pay off with stronger staff teams who are better able to work together toward common goals. When staff feel included and valued, they tend to perform better, and your staff, your senior care facility, and your residents will benefit.

Topics: Featured Articles , Leadership , Staffing , Training