10 cutting edge ways to build a positive team culture

Four colleagues gathered together with coffees, laughing while building a positive team culture

If you want to retain your employees and keep them motivated, team culture is something you can’t afford to overlook.

In fact, 92% of employees say culture significantly impacts their will to remain with their current employer1 and this is especially true for younger generations such as Millennials and Gen Z.

Also, a positive workplace culture stems from a great team culture. When individual teams foster a healthy culture, it creates a ripple effect that impacts the entire corporate culture and drives business goals.

This article offers 10 strategies for building a positive team culture.

You’ll also learn about the invaluable Fingerprint For Success (F4S) team tools for harmonizing team culture and increasing employee engagement.

Let’s dive in!

Table of contents
What's the definition of team culture?
Why is a good team culture important?
How to build a positive team culture
Frequently asked questions

What's the definition of team culture?

Team culture is the collection of values, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that a team shares. It is the unwritten code that shapes how individual team members interact, make decisions, and work together toward common goals.

Team culture demonstrates “the way things are done around here.”

Why is a good team culture important?

A strong culture is important because it creates an environment where members feel valued, motivated, and supported. It increases engagement and can boost performance by as much as 202%.2

How to build a positive team culture

According to research,3 a toxic culture is non-inclusive, disrespectful, abusive, cutthroat, and unethical. If this sounds a little too close to home, here are ten strategies to start you on the road to a more positive culture.

1. Understand team motivations

Before anything, it’s important to understand what makes team members tick. When you understand their motivations, you can create a positive team culture by adapting work styles and communications to suit the motivations of each team member.

For example, let’s say you discover that team members are motivated by Shared Responsibility. In response, you can create a team culture that upholds collaboration. When you establish a collaborative culture for team members who are motivated by Shared Responsibility, you’ll improve overall team performance.

The good thing is you don’t have to individually ask each employee about their motivations. F4S simplifies this process and is backed by more than 20 years of evidence-based research. The F4S platform assesses more than 48 work-style motivations to identify what drives your employees.

Start by taking the free assessment, which only takes a few minutes. Then, set up your team and invite team members to take the assessment. The Teams tab in the F4S platform will then visualize the motivations for each member of your team.

F4S show individual traits and team culture

Each team member can set a personal goal in the F4S app and AI Coach Marlee will make personal recommendations of coaching programs to suit their development needs.

Encourage team members to take the assessment at regular intervals to monitor their personal development over time. This ensures team members remain aligned with core values and organizational culture.

2. Create an inclusive culture

In an inclusive team culture, every member feels welcome, valued, and respected. This holds, regardless of their background, identity, or perspective. This type of environment is great for enhancing employee retention and morale and is where 76% of millennials want to work.4

An inclusive culture also fosters a sense of psychological safety. This means team members can comfortably share ideas and concerns without fear of ridicule. This environment also breeds innovation, gaining a competitive advantage, which is why inclusive companies tend to be more profitable.

Inclusivity begins at the top and starts with inclusive decision-making. Make sure everyone on the team has an opportunity to voice their opinions, even if they differ from the majority. This makes everyone feel heard and valued.

Furthermore, consider incorporating inclusive team-building activities into your culture. You could, for example, host monthly cultural potlucks, where team members bring in a dish or share a story related to their cultural heritage. This builds understanding and creates a sense of mutual respect.

3. Understand communication styles

Understanding your team members’ preferred communication styles allows you to tailor your communication to their individual preferences.

This improves clarity, reduces misunderstandings, and encourages a more productive and respectful work environment. 75% of business leaders credit effective communication skills for increasing team productivity.5

Insights from F4S make it easy to understand your team’s communication styles. In the Teams tab, select Team Motivation. Then, click the communication button to discover your team members’ preferred styles.

With this knowledge, you can adjust your communication approach accordingly.

Let’s say your team members are motivated by affective communication. This means that beyond your words, they also focus on tone of voice and non-verbal cues.

F4S shows your team dynamics such as communication preferences so you can build a positive team culture
F4S team communication preferences

When communicating with such a team, it’s essential for the team leader to maintain a friendly and encouraging tone. This keeps the entire team happy and motivated.

4. Strengthen bonds through team building

Team building activities can contribute to a close-knit team, which supports a healthy team culture. In essence, when colleagues view each other not only as coworkers but also as friends, they tend to be more engaged and productive.6

You can start with inspirational team-building activities. Games and friendly competitions such as trivia or “pick the lie” can be both engaging and enjoyable.

Another clever move to build healthy teams is incorporating fun icebreaker questions. Start your meetings with questions about past experiences, pop culture, or culinary adventures.

These questions enable team members to connect on a personal level and can strengthen their bonds.

5. Invest in training and development

Research by Zippia shows that offering professional development opportunities can boost employee productivity by 21%. Also, 94% of individual employees are less likely to leave, and 92% become more engaged when training is provided.7

So, there’s no denying that team development contributes to the strong team culture you want to create.

Always pay attention to both your team members’ hard and soft skills. For hard skills, consider enrolling them in relevant courses, workshops, or certifications.

Regarding soft skills training, our free AI coaching app, Marlee, is your go-to solution. Coach Marlee's is the result of more than 20 years of experience from F4S founder Michelle Duval, combined with decades of research.

After taking the assessment, and setting a personal goal, Marlee identifies areas that need improvement in your team's skill sets. It then provides personalized soft skills coaching and recommendations for improvement. For example, it may recommend Goal Catcher or Personal Power.

6. Conduct regular retrospectives and health checks

Team health checks and retrospectives are structured meetings where team members collectively review their past work, pinpoint areas for enhancement, and implement tangible improvements.

These sessions foster an environment that promotes open communication, self-improvement, and teamwork, all essential components of a positive work culture.8

Depending on your team's needs and project timelines, you can conduct reflections at the end of each project, sprint, or month. Just ensure it's a time when all team members can participate.

During the retrospective, encourage team members to share specific observations and experiences. When individual contributors give their honest inputs, be sure to implement them if they align with core objectives. This demonstrates to team members that their voices count.

7. Understand dynamics

Team dynamics define how team members interact, communicate, and collaborate toward a shared objective. It’s akin to the vibe or atmosphere among individuals working together.

These dynamics directly shape your team culture. A positive team dynamic manifests when team members collaborate smoothly, communicate effectively, respect each others’ ideas, and tackle team conflict constructively. This leads to a fun team culture where people love working together.

F4S offers valuable insights into team's dynamics. Through the assessment, you can uncover your team’s unique motivations as well as potential sources of conflict.

For example, you might discover that some team members are motivated by a Reading learning style and thrive in settings where communication is virtual and emails and instant messages are frequent. Others may prefer a Seeing learning style and have an easier time retaining visual information. Acknowledging these distinctions builds a more positive team dynamic.

You can, for instance, communicate important team messages in writing for those that prefer reading, and visually for the visual learners. That makes team members feel included and valued and may boost individual performance.

8. Hire a cognitively diverse team

A cognitively diverse team includes individuals with a wide variety of cognitive skills, perspectives, and thinking styles. These skills include problem-solving, risk-taking, emotional intelligence, empathy, and decision-making.

Within such a team, problem-solving becomes a breeze because diverse thinkers approach challenges from various angles. That’s why cognitive diversity is known to boost team innovation by up to 20%.9

The team is also more likely to find and address each other’s blind spots, encouraging a culture of self-awareness and growth.

To assemble a cognitively diverse team, identify the motivations and strengths currently dominating your team. This will ensure you understand the cognitive gaps that need filling.

For example, you might discover a surplus of Big Picture Thinking so you may focus on hiring team members with a high motivation for Depth.

Work with the hiring teams to adjust your processes accordingly. This might include refining job descriptions and interview questions to assess these essential soft skills effectively.

9. Celebrate wins

Whenever your team achieves a milestone, celebrate it. Celebrations and recognition boost morale booster and may even motivate team members to put in extra effort.10

A celebration could be as simple as introducing a Wall of Wins, for example. This is a dedicated section of your office wall or virtual space where you display photos and the achievements of team members. For remote teams, you could create a Slack or Teams channel for this purpose.

You could also take your team off-site to have some fun. Or for remote teams, you could organize a virtual escape room challenge with professional providers such as Escape Manor or Escape Hunt.

The twist here is that each escape room scenario can be customized to reflect the team's recent successes. For instance, clues and challenges might relate to the achievement you're celebrating.

It's a fun way to blend team-building, problem-solving, and celebration into a single engaging event.

10. Create rituals

Team rituals allow team members to come out of their shells, relax, and connect with other members on a personal level. This creates a productive environment, cultivates stronger bonds, and fosters a healthier team culture.

A simple skill swap session can be an excellent bonding moment for your team. The concept is pretty straightforward: team members teach each other skills they’re passionate about. This could be anything from virtual cooking lessons to coding workshops or yoga. This not only encourages your team to bond over shared interests but also introduces a culture of continuous learning.

Also, you can dedicate a portion of your team meetings to sharing personal and professional wins from the week. This breeds a culture of positivity and celebration.

Lastly, consider storytelling sessions, where team members share personal stories, experiences, or anecdotes during team meetings.

These rituals infuse a sense of fun into daily work interactions and create positive work experiences.

Frequently asked questions

What are the qualities of a positive team culture?

A positive team culture has team values like open communication, mutual trust, and shared goals. Also, you have an effective team culture if your team pays attention to their well-being and continuous learning.

What is a positive team culture at work?

A positive team culture focuses on creating a workplace with happy employees. These are people who accept constructive criticism and are highly motivated to work.

What are the five behaviors of teamwork?

The five-behavior model mentions trust, accountability, commitment, conflict, and results as the five behaviors necessary for teamwork. Having these as your company values can create a truly cohesive team and enhance the employee experience.

Start creating a positive team culture with F4S

F4S takes the guesswork out of building healthy high-performing teams. Simply take the free assessment and invite your team members to do the same. This will give you insights into their workstyles and motivations so you can enhance your team culture.


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Show References
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  1. https://assets.ey.com/content/dam/ey-sites/ey-com/en_us/topics/diversity/ey-generational-exec-summary.pdf?download
  2. https://teamstage.io/company-culture-statistics/#:~:text=Having%20highly%20engaged%20employees%20can,retain%20than%20to%20hire%20workers.
  3. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/why-every-leader-needs-to-worry-about-toxic-culture/
  4. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters
  5. https://www.grammarly.com/business/learn/state-of-business-communications-2023/
  6. https://hbr.org/2017/05/work-friends-make-us-more-productive-except-when-they-stress-us-out
  7. https://www.zippia.com/employer/employee-training-development-statistics/#:~:text=68%25%20of%20employees%20prefer%20to,with%20current%20career%20advancement%20opportunities.
  8. https://engineering.atspotify.com/2014/09/squad-health-check-model/
  9. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/deloitte-review/issue-22/diversity-and-inclusion-at-work-eight-powerful-truths.html
  10. https://d3bql97l1ytoxn.cloudfront.net/app_resources/238659/documentation/1179720_1652890459526_en-US.pdf
  11. https://www.fivebehaviors.com/

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