5 Ways to ensure team alignment and improve performance


Screen Shot 2023-11-14 at 8.49.14 AMWhether you're managing a two-person operation or a department of 100, it's nearly impossible for your organization to grow and move on to the next chapter of success if your whole team isn't on the same page.

Teams are at their best when they work cohesively and rally around shared goals. To help you reach better team alignment, we've broken down what team alignment means, why it's important – especially in a remote context – and actionable tips to help you move forward together.

What is team alignment? 

Alignment in the workplace occurs when all team members have a better understanding of company goals and have a clear vision for collective (and individual) long-term success. It isn't enough to know the end destination; you need to all be rowing in the same direction.

But team alignment extends beyond bottom line objectives; employees must all be on the same wavelength when it comes to achieving and building sustainable business practices. It's one thing for everybody to understand what you hope to achieve as a company, but ensuring your team is aligned with company values plays a crucial role in an organization's success. This requires people to believe in the approach and understand the role they and their colleagues collectively play.

5 Ways to foster strong team alignment

Let's dive into some helpful ways you can foster strong team alignment within your business.

1. Make communication and transparency core organizational values

How well you communicate information at every level of your organization will play a major role in fostering team alignment. It's so easy to fall into information silos, especially in a remote context where many team members are working in their own physical spaces.

If you have major organizational news or project updates to communicate, don't leave your team members in the dark; make sure to carve out some time where you can answer employee questions and clear up any confusing tidbits of information. The more transparent you are, the more aligned your team will be. 

2. Set crystal clear goals for your team

The goals you set for your team will be your North Star in helping your organization achieve success. Without clear objectives, the big picture can get lost in the shuffle of daily operations.

But you might be asking yourself: what is the most surefire way to document your goals? Team alignment looks different for every company, so there's no one-size-fits-all solution. If you're looking for a tried and true approach, the OKR goal-setting framework might be for you.

OKR stands for ‘Objectives and Key Results.’ The whole approach centers on establishing a clear goal (objective) and the metrics (key results) that will measure that goal’s success. Company OKRs empower managers to set goals together with their teams, and from there, set individual goals for every team member. This creates an aligned workforce that is better equipped to achieve broader business goals by tackling them one at a time.

One final (and super important) tip about goal-setting: involve your team. When everyone is involved in setting team goals, they're more likely to support them, understand them, and remember them.

3. Check in with your team regularly

Communication around your company's values, strategy, and major objectives should not be one-sided. While it's important to keep your team in the loop from the top down, it's just as fruitful to uncover how these things are being understood and come to life on the front line.

So, once you've shared company objectives with your team and helped them set their own OKRs, how can you maintain a communication loop around alignment?

  • Book quarterly strategy meetings to clearly map out the connection between organizational, team, and individual goals. This can also be a good setting to discuss shifts in priorities or any possible tweaks to existing objectives.
  • Encourage anonymous feedback and messaging where employees can pose questions or raise any thoughts or concerns they may have. Having an anonymous touchpoint can help some employees feel more comfortable giving their candid feedback around alignment.
  • Carve out one-on-one time to discuss alignment with individual team members. Give them the time and space to ask anything that may be unclear about their specific objectives or how their role contributions to the broader picture.
  • Send weekly surveys with both quantitative and qualitative questions to measure your team alignment metric and keep track of trends over time.

    4. Find the right team alignment tools

    A recent study found that the average enterprise now uses an astounding 288 different SaaS apps. These tools are great for keeping us organized and on track and they're especially helpful for distributed teams. But with so many tools comes the potential for information silos and hidden work – both of which can wreak havoc on your team alignment. 

    The solution isn't to try to force people onto a single tool. It's to identify the key tools that will help you build and achieve team alignment while allowing employees to work how they're most comfortable. 

    Thankfully, there's no shortage of options.

     5. Highlight team accomplishments

    Whether you're congratulating your team for a job well done on a new campaign or giving kudos to an employee who reached their one-year workaversary, shining a light on employee contributions and milestones goes a long way in improving team alignment.

    The importance of team alignment in the workplace

    Team alignment has a significant impact on the overall performance of your business. Without clear communication on your organization's goals and shared company values, your team members might find it challenging to present a united front and stay engaged.

    On the flip side, there are countless benefits to strong team alignment.

    • Aligned teams perform better. Misaligned teams may spend more time going back and forth on specific initiatives and may not be able to perform to the best of their abilities.

      When teams are aligned, they're set up to succeed. Everyone has the information they need to make the right decisions, work swiftly, and prioritize projects that contribute to broader company goals.
    • Aligned teams are more engaged. When your team is aligned, each individual member understands the importance of their role and the roles of their colleagues and believes in the team vision. This creates a sense of camaraderie and belonging. People feel as though they're part of a collective in which everybody is working towards the same thing.
    • Aligned teams are more collaborative. It's a lot easier to collaborate when you're coming at a problem with a shared outcome in mind. People are more willing to compromise and support one another if they're all aligned on the desired outcome and what it takes to get there.

    Signs of aligned vs. misaligned teams

    Here are a few telling signs that can help you find out where your team is on the alignment spectrum.

    Aligned teams Misaligned teams
    Projects delivered on time and on the scope Frequent missed deadlines and scope creep
    Team and company achieve goals Team and company repeatedly come up short on goals
    Efficient execution of work Repeated or overlapping work
    Clear tasks and clear communication Miscommunication and confusion are common issues
    Defined channels for project management and communication Endless meetings and email chains
    High team engagement and high employee retention Low team engagement and high employee turnover

    Beyond these signs, one of the best ways for you to determine whether or not your team is aligned is to ask them. Don't overthink it! 

    How The GO gAME can help improve team alignment

    Team building plays a crucial role in helping teams at work improve their alignment and overall performance. Tapping into PLAY provide opportunities for team members to come together, bond, build trust, and enhance their communication skills.

    By participating in team building activities, employees can gain a better understanding of company goals and values, allowing them to work towards a common purpose. Additionally, team building exercises can help identify and address any gaps or misalignments within the team, promoting a culture of collaboration and unity.

    Through activities, such as problem-solving challenges, game shows, scavenger hunts, and space escape employees can develop stronger relationships, improve problem-solving abilities, and enhance their ability to work effectively as a team. Ultimately, team building exercises contribute to a more engaged and productive workforce, leading to better outcomes for the organization as a whole. The benefits of having an aligned team are immense: more efficiency, more team collaboration, and higher performance. You can crush your goals while keeping your team happy and engaged. That's something worth investing in.