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Grow Your Business Your Team

Why Your Employees Hate Teamwork

Why Your Employees Hate Teamwork
Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

Teamwork is a source of major frustration in the workplace — so much so, that it causes many employees to consider searching for a new job, research finds.

A new study from 5 Dynamics, a provider of human performance systems, discovered that nearly 60 percent of employees either always or sometimes work in teams. Of those, 41 percent said they have felt friction when collaborating with colleagues, and nearly one-third have thought about looking for new work because of negative team environments.

The research shows that less than 10 percent of employees would choose to always work in a team setting, with 50 percent preferring a mix of team and individual work.

"How well teams work together and communicate can make or break a company's bottom line, not to mention employee satisfaction and retention," the study's authors wrote.

Employees give a variety of reasons for why they don't enjoy working in team settings. The study found that 35 percent said the most frustration comes from trying to motivate others, with 27 percent saying that making sure everyone executes on plans is the biggest aggravation. In addition, 27 percent said the planning phase of a team project is their biggest source of irritation. [See Related Story: No Trust Among Your Team? How to Fix It]

Company growth and changes at the top of the corporate ladder also cause teamwork frustration. Thirty-five percent of the employees surveyed said they have trouble working in teams during executive changes, and 27 percent said that rapid company growth contributed to a lack of team efficiency.

"Many survey respondents also expressed in open-ended responses that they feel stress and productivity issues when onboarding new staff or when they perceive other team members not to be pulling their weight on a project," the study's authors wrote.

The researchers found that 40 percent of employers invest resources to try to understand the working styles and behavioral preferences of their employees. However, the vast majority of employers, 85 percent, only sometimes, at the most, use what they learn in their work environments.

The researchers suggested that employers need to do a better job of deciphering how employees can work better together and then actually following through on what they discover.

"In doing this, they'll reap the rewards both from the bottom-line, revenue-generating perspective and in attracting and retaining quality talent," the study's authors wrote.

The study was based on surveys of 500 U.S. workers between the ages of 25 and 64.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.