Team building mid-pandemic: About purpose, resilience and diversity
As workers across the globe navigate their way around another phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, Michelle Moss: Director: Assessments at Signium Africa notes just how necessary team building interventions are at a time of “pre” the post-pandemic stage.
“Over the past year people have been talking about mental health issues among staff members unused to working from home and not having personal engagement with colleagues.
“In our quest to give employees the time and space they needed to speak up about issues, it’s become apparent that company leaders were largely focused on the well-being of their staff and did not take the time to fully consider or take care of their own needs. Teambuilding workshops now give them the opportunity to explore these necessities and receive the empathy and support they made sure their staff got.”
Moss says good business leaders understood that people experienced lockdown differently and they developed agile team strategies that took into account the different challenges different employees faced during the first year of the pandemic.
“Now that we’ve reached a stage where we understand more about how to deal with the virus, it’s becoming clear that the C-suite could use some assistance in dealing with what is past and what is required for moving forward with tentative optimism,” she says.
Reflection and recalibration
Navigating new situations as a team is not always easy – and doing so remotely is that much more difficult, Moss says. “At this stage, team building that explores the most important lessons learned, both good and bad from the past 12 months is helpful.”
Moss lists the following as key to moving through the recent past, the uncertain present and a future that looks better than 2020 did.
Reflection: “To get the value out of what we learned and take the lessons forward, there must be pause for reflection. From the newest team member to the C-suite, the value in reflection will be understanding what worked and what did not work and using these insights to reset the team and reframe their vision, objectives, and roles if necessary.
Company culture: “If we have learned little else from our lockdowns, almost everyone now values belonging to a team and the importance of diversity to add richness not just in the workplace, but in everyday life. Many people are reporting how working with a varied team of people that have unique, cross-functional perspectives, brings communications, ideas, and solutions they may not have thought about on their own. Progressive managers in particular have experienced the positive impact of diversity on the team and company culture.”
Team dynamics: “As we adapt to a hybrid model of working from home and coming into the office for meetings, we must note that business leaders, too, are doing this for the first time. Connecting with each other again in person may feel a little awkward at first but it can also be an opportunity to show each other how we value one another, strengthen bonds even more and co-create a shared vision for what comes next.”
As the vaccines are rolled out and many people are still very cautious, Moss says a key term in most companies will be the word “resilience”.
“By moving through the various stages as a team, we will see just how much resilience each of us has and how valuable that is to us personally and to the company,” she says.
“People rarely go through something as life-changing as a pandemic without coming out the other side with some resilience. Team building is about focusing on our purpose and celebrating our differences, knowing that every team member has more to offer now than they did before 2020. Acknowledge it and use it well.”
Michelle Moss is Director: Assessments at Signium Africa. Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading South African-based executive search and talent management company servicing sub-Saharan Africa. www.signium.co.za
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