• 23/11/2016
  • Insights

Teams are essential for accomplishing business goals in today’s work environment. Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant upon teams for solution finding and production. Additionally, virtual teams are increasing in acceptance and popularity, as five million employees are projected to work remotely by 2016.1 Based on these trends, research is warranted in exploring teams. What are the characteristics of effective work teams? What challenges are teams faced with today? Are there uniquely important aspects which distinguish effective virtual teams from effective face-to-face teams?

The New Organizational Currency: Designing Effective Teams

The Human Capital Institute (HCI), along with research partner Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions, explored the current state of teams in today’s organizations. HCI surveyed more than 250 professionals, ranging from individual contributors to C-level executives at mid-sized to large organizations, of which 86 percent are located in North America. From the quantitative survey, interviews with thought leaders, and secondary research, the following results were revealed:

  • With most teams, there is room for improvement. While 92 percent of employees believe teams are important for organizational success, only 23 percent believe their teams to be very effective.
  • There are more remote workers today than ever before. Half of survey respondents indicate they work in virtual teams at least 50 percent of the time.
  • There are no differences in what makes virtual versus face-to-face team members effective. Effective virtual work teams are not significantly different from face-to-face work teams in terms of effective attributes. The ability to listen well, be receptive to feedback and be a problem-solver were the most frequently listed attributes critical for effectiveness in both face-to-face work and virtual teams.
  • Poor communication and lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities are the top challenges reported by team members. These challenges were the highest reported for virtual teams and face-to-face teams, including effective and ineffective teams.
  • There are three accepted ways to address team challenges. Identifying a common team goal, developing open communication, and clarifying roles and responsibilities are the most effective ways of addressing work team challenges.