Working with teams can have many benefits and challenges. We’ve talked before about how important coworkers and your relationships with them can be for well-being. The more you work in teams, the more they impact your day to day work life. Today, we want to share recent research on a simple activity to help improve well-being and decrease team burnout!
Team reflexivity is a process where team members reflect on the team’s objectives and strategies and adapt as necessary. In other words, it’s the time a team takes to go through what’s going well and what’s not. Commonly, teams go through this process in debriefs or after-event reviews.
In order for a team debrief to be effective, it needs to be a systematic process and usually includes four parts.
- Each team member reflects and analyzes their own actions and behavior.
- Team members verify that they are on the same page with what happened.
- Team members provide and seek feedback.
- The team discusses and agrees on future goals and plans.
Why is it important for companies and managers to encourage and lead debriefs? Teams that do this are more productive, innovative, and make less mistakes. A meta-analysis (remember this is a study made up of many studies) found that debriefs increase effectiveness of teams by 25%! Companies can cheaply increase team performance by conducting team debriefs.
As you know by now, we don’t only care about performance. Performance is important but it can be argued that burnout is more important! We know burnout impacts performance and wellness for individual employees, but what does it do to teams? The results are the same. When team members experience burnout, teams become less stable and less productive.
We also know that having little control in your job (like the inability to choose how to do your job) and little to no support from managers and coworkers impacts overall well-being. Luckily, recent research shows that team debriefs can help improve wellness. Employees that participate in team debriefs feel more control over their jobs and more supported by their coworkers. This helps employees experience less burnout symptoms like emotional exhaustion.
Debrief to Help Teams!
Helping team member well-being seems pretty simple right? It can be! While more research needs to be done in this area, conducting team debriefs does seem promising. One thing to keep in mind is that the studied debriefs were frequent and also relatively short (5 to 10 minutes!). They were usually done at the end of shifts daily. This may make sense for shift-type work like retail, manufacturing, and nursing. For jobs that aren’t shift-based, debriefs may make more sense periodically during a project or once a week to allow time for things to progress. If you are able to put team debriefs in place, play with the timing based on the type of job or work you do! And we will keep you updated with any updates in the research.
Now, we’d love to hear from you! Have you ever participated in team debriefs? Have you found them helpful? Let us know below!