When looking to recruit a new element to complete a team, we tend to rely on technical know-how as the deciding factor for assessing a candidate’s potential. However, we rarely ask ourselves the question of whether or not this person will integrate well. Similarly, when we look at a team’s performance, we focus on reviewing existing management techniques or setting up new processes rather than analysing the current team dynamics. But what if the secret of successful teams was hidden – just there – in plain sight?

A team is much more than just a group of collaborators

Indispensable to any company, teams are built on relatively complex systems which, according to a definition from Richard Hackman, consists of three elements:

  • group processes: the elements that make a team work
  • results and outcomes: measured by group productivity or satisfaction
  • inputs: the elements that make it possible to build a team at the individual level, the group level and with objectives

So, to really understand how successful teams thrive, we have to think like coaches!

When affinity improves performance

The definition of work affinity is two people’s natural ability to collaborate based on their cognitive abilities, motivations and personality. We can distinguish two types of affinities in the context of work:

  • socio-emotional affinity: characterised by the natural desire that two people have to connect
  • task-oriented affinity: characterised by the ability of two people to work together to achieve a common goal

It is possible to measure the compatibility of a person within a team by evaluating the sociometric variables of the members already present, namely:

  • direct affinities between employees
  • the employee who centralises the most affinities
  • the intensity of indirect or transitive affinities (the link established between two people by an intermediary person)
  • the collaborators who are qualified as ‘free electrons’, isolated or disconnected from the team
  • the central element of the team
  • the size of the team

Predictive recruitment: anticipating a new candidate’s successful integration

Let’s keeping thinking like coaches. By using predictive recruitment, we can determine how well a team will perform following a new member’s arrival. Not by reviewing their CV and career path, but through understanding their soft skills that will complement the team dynamics. To do this, we will need a psychometric assessment. They are any recruiters best friend, as they allow you to explore a candidate’s personality, aptitudes, cognitive capacities, and even motivations. This is the science of soft skills, a concept that we detail in our white paper, which you can download for free. Integrating a psychometric test into predictive recruitment makes it possible to enrich your team based on the behavioural skills most suited to the current and future needs of the company, and of course to those of current team members.

Energy serving team dynamics

Energy is another essential element that makes a team dynamic and efficient. It is how each member contributes to the collaboration as a whole. You need to forget the professional investment, even if it counts, and focus on the psychological investment. There are mainly two roles in team dynamics:

  • The relationship-oriented psychological role: employees favour creating links within their team
  • The action-oriented psychological role: employees are more invested in the accomplishing of projects

Neither of these two roles is more important than the other. On the contrary, they are complementary as long as a balance exists within the team: leading to higher performance.

AI can help us to make better recruiting decisions

If we are looking to recruit a new element for a team, thanks to artificial intelligence, it is possible to detect the most optimal role for the candidate. Understanding their positioning (by analysing their ability to solve problems, reason, communicate, listen, etc.) will avoid throwing the team off balance from where they are, as well as improve their overall performance . The true strength of AI? An impassive algorithm in the face of recruiters with conscious and unconscious cognitive biases. Thanks to this science and innovation, we can objectively determine if the energy of a candidate will truly complement the dynamics of a team.

Managers drive performance

If a team is not coached, supported and accompanied as it should be, you can’t expect positive results. Moreover, “employees do not quit a company, they leave their managers”. That’s what emerged from a study conducted in the United States, where 57% of respondents would leave their jobs because of a manager. Managers are not only responsible for a teams performance, but their well-being within the company as well. The two go hand in hand. Significant staff turnover in a team should be a clear sign to all HR…

There are two factors related to team management that contribute to performance:

  • the manager’s management style
  • the best style of management for each team member

Training managers in management styles that improve performance

To improve performance, we need to focus on the ‘manager’ more. A good manager knows each member of their team’s uniqueness, starting with their softs skills. Hence the importance again of using psychometric tests when recruiting an employee. Today, HR’s role in supporting managers can be aided by identifying the manager’s levers on which they will be able to act on to become true leaders. There are six management styles conducive to performance:

  • results-oriented: winning, directive and visionary
  • personnel-oriented: empathetic, coach and participatory

To remain competitive in Talent Acquisition and in-house recruitment, HR teams should anticipate a team’s needs by observing, evaluating and quantifying their dynamics. Thanks to AI and the sociometric data collected, it is now possible to determine the management styles that make a team efficient, even with all the members diverse profiles.

As you will have gathered by now, building a successful team no longer depends solely on a candidate’s technical skills and past experiences. Teams need to look at individual’s soft skills and choose both varied and complementary profiles, in order to improve performance and become more successful.