The introduction of team working is a major step for an organisation to take. It is important that management, trade unions and employees ensure they know how teamworking will contribute to their business strategy and that it is likely to involve a long-term transformation. Even when they are in place, teams will need constant monitoring and development if they are not to stagnate.
The early challenge and excitement of establishing teams may fade and it is easy for organisations to accept a level of performance which is short of the optimum.
Teamworking is not a finite project but a process of continuous improvement and innovation. In order to achieve high performance, teams require regular changes and challenges. These may include: changes to team personnel; new tasks; re-examining the contribution the team makes to the overall business aims; and ensuring that the team has regular dealings with other teams.
The concept of autonomous teams may be misleading as teams will always be answerable to management and rely on the provision of resources and other support. Nevertheless one of the best ways to ensure that teams continue to develop is to move towards self-regulation - an important way of monitoring the progress of teams is to assess the level of dependence on management. It is for management to encourage progress by helping the teams develop greater independence.
Reorganising the workforce into teams is not easy but when successfully developed, teamworking has been shown to be a way of improving competitiveness and at the same time enhancing the quality of working life for employees.