Teamwork training has positive effects on behaviours and performance. Giving people the chance to actively learn and practise teamwork, through interactive training methods and simulations is the most effective training method.
People who go through teamwork training engage in more teamwork behaviours and perform better.
McEwan et al. (2017) examined teamwork training and its effect on how well the team performs its task, and how many teamwork behaviours people actually show. They selected 51 studies (from a total of 16,849 reviewed) for a detailed analysis. All these studies compared teams receiving teamwork training to teams with no intervention, a control group. Their meta-analysis found that from all the people receiving the training, 66% show more teamwork behaviours, such as defining the team’s mission or coordinating with each other while working, compared to those who were not trained.
Furthermore, teams also performed better on their tasks after going through teamwork training. This effect was also medium-to-large, and was present both on performance measured objectively (e.g. number of items produced) and subjectively (e.g. by external raters).
In a meta-analysis, summarising research on team training effectiveness, Salas et al. (2008) find that 12–19% of the variance in team effectiveness can be explained by team training: “To know that team training can explain 12% to 19% of the variance of a team’s performance . . . can mean reducing medical errors (in healthcare), saving an aircraft (in aviation), increasing the bottom line (in business), or saving lives (in the military).
Giving people the chance to actively learn and practise teamwork, through interactive training methods, had the largest effect on their behaviours and performance.
Those are workshop-style exercises involving all team members, simulations of tasks that the team has to do, and indeed team reviews and debriefs on their real work together (like CoachBot’s retrospectives). The aim is to stimulate people’s critical thinking regarding teamwork in the workplace, and simply lecturing them might not do it.