Top 5 barriers to creating high-performing teams

By Shahirah Latif

As the cornerstone of every organization, work teams are expected to show dedication to the company, meet their OKRs, and achieve satisfactory results. In other words, organizations want high-performing teams. But what does that really entail?

Dorothy Yiu, our co-Founder, recently shed light on this in her interview with Tech In Asia. Let’s find out her hot takes on high-performing teams and what organizations can do to build such teams.


What defines a high-performing team?

What sets high-performing teams apart is their ability and willingness to go above and beyond their scope and expectations to achieve a greater goal. They understand the gravity of personal and professional goals alignment and make consistent efforts to give the best they can in whatever role they’re entrusted.

High-performing teams are essential in any workplace as their character manifests into several behaviors that are beneficial and desirable for the organization, including high productivity, a high level of trust, and the ability to motivate and inspire — regardless of the position they’re in.

However, building high-performing teams is not without a challenge. Below are the five barriers that can prevent organizations from building high-performing teams, which the EngageRocket team has found throughout the years of studying and working with various companies.


Barrier 1: Leadership


A study of over 250 organizations conducted by Harvard Business Review shows that companies that heavily invest in employee experience see four times the average profit compared to those that don’t. This is a clear testament that when you put your people first, you allow them to be more motivated — which leads to their best selves and performance.

However, approaching a people-before-profit mindset requires a fundamental shift. Leaders do want to see their team members as their greatest asset, the backbone of their organizations, but it can be challenging to translate this into people policies and the overall company culture.


Barrier 2: Lack of employee listening tools


When you work in a ten-people organization, it’s easy to say hi to your team members and ask how they’re doing, what challenges they’re facing, and what support they need from the company. But it’s a different story for medium- to large-sized organizations.

Relying on gut feelings or assumptions is definitely not recommended. Companies need to have a dependable tool or platform that allows them to actively and consistently listen to employees’ feedback and sentiment. Therefore, HR, leaders, and managers get to really understand their team members and they can design the right action plans and interventions to help them thrive — individually and in teams.


CTA-Banner-Blog-EX Guide


Barrier 3: Trust


If employees don’t feel safe at work, it’s very hard for them to voice out their opinions — they keep their good ideas to themselves, while good performance and results usually stem from good ideas. What’s more, the gap between employee and company expectations also grows.

While more than two-thirds of HR leaders admit they don’t do very well in building a high level of trust in the organization, it is not a dead end. Here’s how organizations can build trust and bridge the expectation gap:

1. Actively listen to your employees

Employees want their voices and opinions heard. Listening to them not only makes them feel valued but also helps you create the right policies and programs that meet their needs.

2. Empower your managers

Since they work directly with employees, managers are the key point of contact that connects employees and organizations. They’re in the best position to consistently listen to employees and foster trust at a ground level.


Barrier 4: Communication and connection


Human beings are hardwired to desire connection, even in the workplace, as it gives us meaning and purpose. However, connection can easily break down when communication is not nurtured.

Organizations need a tool that helps them encourage communication, especially between employees and managers. Hence, employees have a safe space to voice out their thoughts. Eventually, this will lead to, again, trust and high performance.


Barrier 5: Lack of managerial support


Many managers are promoted to their position because of their strong individual contributions and achievement, instead of their proven managerial skills. And a study shows that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.

This means that if the managers are not equipped with the skills to coach, nurture, and develop their team members, building high-performing teams will remain an unfeasible task. The already-busy managers need a platform that can help by prompting them with the right action at the right time, as well as allowing them to communicate better with their team members.


Overcoming the barriers to building high-performing teams with EngageRocket

Seeing how HR, leaders, and managers need tools to bring the best out of the employees and create high-performing teams, EngageRocket comes with various solutions to help you tackle these five barriers.

With easily-customizable, science-backed questions, EngageRocket’s BELONG automates your employee listening program. The anonymity also allows employees to feel safe answering the questions.

Managers can also benefit from AI-powered automated feedback and real-time analytics that helps them act on employees' feedback immediately, as well as design the right intervention for their team members to thrive. All these features come in one simple, easy-to-use platform, so tracking employee experience doesn’t have to be an extra chore among all the other work to do.

EngageRocket recently received an IMDA accreditation as a technology provider that empowers companies from 20 industries across 14 countries to enable human connections at scale. We have worked with, analyzed, and improved employee experience for leading companies such as NTUC Health, StarHub, Love Bonito, and many more.


CTA-Banner-Blog-EX Guide


Tags: Leadership, Employee Experience