Teams have long replaced hierarchical departments in successful organizations. Today, team schematics rarely follow a top-down structure that resembles a rigidly formal chart of a static family tree. Instead, they interconnect and shift according to need, like highly charged particles orbiting a company mission. They are receptive to feedback, responsive to change, and transparent to those outside the team. “Department” suggests insularity and a strictly vertical accountability. Even the etymology of the word invokes a closed-off division, an area that is sealed off, lacking transparency.
A recent internal study by Cisco Systems determined that its organizational structure contains more than 20,000 teams interacting at once, with individual employees often holding membership in several teams at the same time. From enormous corporations like Cisco to smaller businesses, this tendency toward smaller and more numerous teams reflects the current demand in our innovative, high-tech business world for responsiveness and flexibility. A team forms and reacts to a rapidly emerging need, and as each team becomes more tightly focused on its specific project, managers find themselves more often tending to those project goals than the individual employees who may be sitting on multiple teams simultaneously.
In this shuffle of team work and goal achievement, individuals can get lost. Talent will always rest in the individual, and talent can only be retained in an organization when leadership takes an effort to measure individual employee engagement. Not every employee’s problem is a workplace problem, of course, but customized engagement surveys can help distinguish between a problem that is ubiquitous and symptomatic of the culture, and one that is simply anomalous. Making these distinctions allows organizations to buttress strengths and mend weaknesses efficiently, addressing issues that have become thematic. Giving employees the opportunity to voice concerns also sends the message from leadership that individuals have recourse when problems arise.
At TGC, we construct pragmatic, affordable engagement surveys for small to midsized organizations that help bridge gaps between leadership and individual employees. Raw data is just the beginning: we offer customized inquiries developed in collaboration with leadership; examples of invaluable personal testimonies from employees that help articulate the strengths and weaknesses in company culture; and incisive final analyses of statistics that direct an organization toward a felicitous workplace and a prosperous future.
As teams tighten, multiply, and shift according to business demands, managers rarely have time to attend to anything aside from their teams’ immediate goals. TGC’s customized engagement survey not only gives leaders a sense of their individual employees’ enthusiasms, grievances, and ambitions, it gives their employees a sense of place and personal value within the organization.
 Bersin, Josh. “Predictions for 2017: Everything Is Becoming Digital.” Bersin by
Deloitte, 6 Dec. 2016, http://www.bersin.com/uploadedFiles/120616_RR_Predictions2017_JB_Final.pdf. Accessed 25 Aug. 2017.