Team Building Basics for Finance Leaders

By Jen Narayan

Jen is the Recruitment and Research Manager at Clarity Recruitment. With over seven years of human resources experience and a deep understanding of the importance of human capital, Jen is our go-to HR guru. Connect with Jen on LinkedIn.

Team building is not just some fancy buzz word that finance leaders are encouraged to promote around the office every so often. It’s a concept that will help team performance in the long run and make for a happier work environment. Just as the infamous quote suggests, there is no “I” in team. And while team building must be a group effort, you as the finance leader can follow these guidelines to get your team on the right track, together.

Before you start determining ways to improve the team dynamics in your department, first think about some of the pain points you may have noticed. Perhaps some issues were raised during team meetings or one-on-one check-ins. If you’ve noticed any of the following, you need to act now:

  • Employees are not engaged and don’t show interest in going above and beyond in their roles
  • Absenteeism is higher than normal
  • Productivity is low
  • There is a lack of innovation and minimal creative thinking
  • Office gossip is common part of discussion
  • There is a general lack of commitment; people are showing up to meetings late, taking longer lunch hours, etc.
  • Deadlines are being missed

If you face any of the issues raised above, or are a new leader for a finance team, there is definitely an opportunity to do some team building. Consider the following:

  • Establish team values.  Conduct a brainstorming session to explore and define what values are important to your finance team. Maybe ethics and collaboration top the list. Or maybe it’s fun and innovation. Whatever the values, ensure your entire team is involved in the process so they feel ownership.
  • Establish team goals. Ensuring all team members are on the same page and working towards common, measurable goals, it will be easier to hold accountability. Again, work together to set these goals.
  • Promote a trusting environment.  As the leader, you play a crucial role in setting the tone on your finance team. A good place to start creating trust is by discouraging gossip and negative comments, and having an open-door policy so your employees feel they can come to you with ideas or concerns.
  • Listen and encourage open communication. Employees need to know their ideas are welcome and heard. Take the time to have real conversations with your staff. Let them speak and really listen. That means turn away from your computer monitor and put down your cell phone.
  • Clearly define roles.  It is important for the team to understand not only their role expectations and goals, but to also those of their peers.  This will promote a collaborative working environment and ensure the staff feel ownership over their piece of the puzzle.
  • Hold off-site team events and meetings. Do something fun in a new space. This will give employees a chance to get to know one another without the stress of deadlines or the distraction of email.

Team building will make your role as a finance leader much easier.  Not only will your team be happier and get along better, they will be able to work more effectively and increase productivity.  Reaching and exceeding goals will be a part of the culture.  And if you are looking for your next career step, nothing will scream a promotion more than managing a high performing, highly engaged finance team.