Stable membership is often perceived as the best-case scenario for a team. And yet, the reality for teams today is that turnover is likely to be high.
When you think of an example of a great team, you might conjure up a ‘Band of Brothers’ image. A World War II company welded together over time, with a reputation for bravery and resilience born out of competence, discipline and sheer commitment to each other and the cause. In these teams, success is underpinned by loyalty and deep personal bonds.
However, research suggests that teams in business today are unlikely to have the luxury of stable membership. Statistics indicate employee turnover rates recently reached a five-year high at 15.5%. Turnover within a team doesn’t have to be bad news. Newcomers can bring a host of benefits to a team.
Here’s our three tips to reap the performance rewards of team turnover:
1. Take a trip down memory lane
When a new member arrives take the team on a trip down memory lane. Use a timeline approach to reflect back on big tasks, complex projects or successful achievements the team has taken on and accomplished over recent years or months. Encourage everyone to reflect and share their own experiences of the same events, giving their perspective on what worked, what went less well, recording these team learnings as you go.
This reflection trip is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it surfaces the lessons and experiences more established teams tend to overlook. Secondly, it helps get newcomers up to speed on what the team does, how it operates, who does what and that all important sense of team history.
2. Use a Batman and Robin team structure
Being heavily reliant on one individual for their expertise can be problematic if they leave or are re-resourced to another team. Sharing leadership throughout the team by having different team members capable of performing multiple actions or tasks is a useful way to protect the team against the potential loss of specific skills or knowledge.
Where possible, for every important task or project have one person lead with another providing key support; in other words, for every Batman make sure there’s a Robin. Also, provide the opportunity for the person supporting, or playing ‘Robin’, to lead as well. Therefore, if the other team member is re-resourced they have enough experience and expertise to pass on vital knowledge to the next person coming in.
3. Unleash the potential of fresh eyes
Newcomers have the potential to boost creativity and enhance team processes with the new ideas they bring and questions they raise. Create an environment where it’s clear that this input is encouraged and valued. For example, set aside time in regular team meetings to hear feedback, challenges and ideas from the new joiners.
Ensure the time allocated is sufficient to discuss the topics they raise, not a token check-in, and, when relevant, assign team members to lead or ‘see through’ the further assessment or implementation of the new ideas.
Click here to read our full article ‘Not all turnover is bad: the performance rewards of a changing team’