More than ever in today’s remote-first work environment, it is easy for team members to get caught up in their individual day-to-day focuses and become cut off from their colleagues. Cultivating a team that shares a common spirit, supportive culture, and strong connection is not only vital to your company’s success, it also increases employee engagement and improves retention.

I have the privilege of working with a group of highly-skilled, intelligent, and insightful team members who provide an exceptional range of expertise to Vizionara’s IT clients. We have come together organically as our networks crossed paths over the years. Each new team member has brought something unique to offer to the team and to the tech industry we support. We all work remotely and are extremely focused on meeting individual client needs for a given project, which can be somewhat isolating at times if we let it.

What has naturally evolved over time though, despite this, is a sense of spirit and connection that transforms our individual expertise into something special. It didn’t become clear until we were sharing our thoughts about our work at a group meeting last year when one team member said that the team evoked a powerful feeling of “esprit de corps,” a vibe of group loyalty and team spirit that embodies everything we do. From that point on, the term “esprit de corps” really struck a chord with all of us and became the embodiment of our culture.

Coined in the 18th century, the French term actually translates as ‘group spirit’ and was originally applied to military troops, but has evolved to a much broader, cultural concept of a feeling of group pride, fellowship and loyalty.

A year after embracing our “esprit de corps,” we checked in with the team and had them share their thoughts about what it means to them.

Team Thoughts on Esprit de Corps

Appropriately, their varied comments come together to make an inspiring whole. Here’s a glimpse at what we heard…

  • As a force, we represent a group that combines different business experiences, industry backgrounds, educational qualifications, and levels of technical and managerial expertise. This synthesis enables Vizionara to be even stronger than the sum of its parts.
  • Sharing ideas, work opportunities and helping each other with a sense of urgency, knowing that any of us would drop what we are doing to help out a teammate.
  • Empowered women empower women. The esprit de corps within our team is a constant reminder that we rise by lifting each other up. We are more interested in good outcomes than credit.
  • Understanding that when we have time, we work hard and smart. When we have non-work responsibilities, we are comfortable disclosing those to others. We are comfortable just being ourselves and we enjoy sharing our daily ups and downs with each other.

Connected Teams Just Work Better

So, what does all this reflecting on togetherness, in French no less, mean to you?

Particularly in this age of remote work, diverse teams, and a challenging labor market, helping your team members feel connected is a vital part of your organization’s success. You should strive to give your employees a feeling of belonging to something greater than their individual roles—a positive culture drives engagement, productivity, and retains your most critical asset, your talent.

Brought together by one
Connected but separate
Alike yet different
One’s weakness is another’s strength
Bonded in esprit de corps
— One team member’s ode to esprit de corps

On a more bottom-line basis, it is clear that creating a sense of unity and commitment around a common goal bolsters business success. As author Arthur Marara notes in a how-to article on esprit de corps, “It is more enjoyable and fulfilling to celebrate your success together with people who are devoted and loyal to a common goal.”

Bill Edwards also explores the merits of cultivating esprit de corps in a Forbes article, Why Leaders Should Consider Morale But Focus On Esprit De Corps.

Having a positive and connected work culture will also help you attract and retain valuable team members. For example, one prospective Vizionara recruit noted, “As a potential candidate for the Vizionara team, the esprit de corps of the group is extremely appealing, and one of the reasons I became interested in working for the company.”

At Vizionara, we feel like the culture is foundational to ensuring the team enjoys their work and feels supported and connected. It clearly makes a difference to our team and it is worth cultivating for your team members as well.

Barbara DeLoureiro