Author: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

The old adage ‘there’s no I in team’ might be a cliché, but there’s more than a grain of truth to it. No one person makes a business. The most successful brands are built on people – carefully curated teams of talent, experience and charisma. But, just like baking a cake, there’s a science to it. Too much of one ingredient, too little of another, and it’s ruined. 

The chemistry of the workplace is no different. If you’re going to build a successful team, you need the balance of personalities and skillsets to be just right. 

Why? We’ve all heard of, and may well have experienced, a toxic workplace. And a toxic environment happens when the chemistry is wrong. The person with the big ego, who collects every ounce of project glory. The person with the loudest voice, talking over others in the meeting room. The person who’s cynicism shuts down ideas. When certain characters aren’t tempered, it can lead to misery for everyone else. Job dissatisfaction, stress, time off sick, anxiety, low self-esteem, high staff turnover – the list is endless. 

But what happens when you get the chemistry right?


Yes, I know you all know that I think collaboration is the future of business. But that’s because it is! And a group of staff with great chemistry is exactly what you need for collaboration. A team that want to work together will be happy to reject old-fashioned silos, to come together and share ideas. They’ll want to bring in other teams from across the company because they know they won’t have to worry about workplace politics or tricky team dynamics. And they’ll be keen to take that spirit outside of the business too, opening up to work with other brands who share their ideals. And when you have true collaboration, that’s when the magic happens.  


When the chemistry is right, you’ll have a team that actually wants to work together – and works together well. No procrastination, no time lost to petty squabbling or misunderstandings. Conversations will be easier, more open and ultimately more effective.   


Genuine innovation can only be born from free-flowing ideas and unstifled creativity. And a supportive workplace with the right chemistry is a huge part of helping to create an environment where innovation, and the conversations needed to facilitate it, can thrive. 

If you have a culture where people are scared to speak up, where ideas are shot down, where discussions aren’t free to flow away from the beaten path – you won’t see innovation. Ever wondered why you see so much more innovation coming out of small companies and start-ups over big corporations? The dynamics, the culture, the types of people: the chemistry – that’s why. 

Happy staff 

And when you combine all of these amazing things – creativity, freedom, collaboration, culture, support – the result is happy staff. And a happy workforce is one of the most important parts of a business. Happy staff, with real job satisfaction, are loyal and dedicated; they are mentally and physically healthy; they’re engaged, with their work and with others; they become your biggest brand champions; and they stick around.  

So there you have your easy workplace chemistry equation: collaboration + efficiency + innovation + happy staff = SUCCESS!

But what can you do to help achieve workplace chemistry?

Be open-minded 

Building the right team starts at the beginning. So take a look at who you’re interviewing for roles. If you only ever interview a certain type of person from a certain type of background, chances are you’ll get a certain type of output. Teams, like society in general, work better when they’re culturally rich and diverse. Be open to inviting someone to interview who doesn’t have a degree; who is switching careers; who had a career break to raise kids. Be open to gender, race, religion. Chances are you’ll find some key elements that you’ve been missing. 

And the interview itself can be a great way to get a feel for a person. Instead of just asking questions, set a creative task. Let the person run with it and shine – let them demonstrate their spark and what makes them who they are. It’s a much better way to figure out who someone is and if they match your chemistry, than asking them about their biggest weakness. 

Team building

OK, so you probably thought most companies left team-building behind in the 90’s. But I’m not talking about some painful activity day where you have to work together to build a bridge. I’m talking about putting your team in situations that encourage chemistry, not stress and competition. It could be volunteering with local tree-planting or hosting a cookery class, it could be campfire story-telling or a pub quiz. 

Just like dating, when you put people in low-pressure situations, and allow them to be themselves, the chemistry will flow. 

Get hands on

As a senior leader, or even business owner, get stuck in. The company culture starts with you, and your staff are sure to follow your lead. If you make connectivity, inspiration and support a priority, the culture will form around it. 

And don’t sit in your office, waiting for people to come to you with problems. Really get to know people and understand the dynamics you have going on in your company; proactively monitor and manage them. Encourage the positives and gently work on the negatives before they reach boiling point. Don’t underestimate the power you can have as a leader to create and nurture great chemistry. 

So what do you think? Do you feel inspired to go and develop that chemistry in your own business? Don’t forget that Shipz can help. Our platform removes hours of wasted time by streamlining and automating daily tasks so your staff have less stress and more time to engage, innovate – and bring you more value. 

Sign up for your FREE trial now.