We’ve all seen it. Friday night at a packed bar, rows of customers waiting to be served. Behind the bar the bartenders flow effortlessly, seemingly telepathically moving around each other in the tiny space to provide great service.
This is team cohesion.
When we think of cohesion, we tend to think of different entities or processes working together. A cohesive fitness plan for example would be one that includes different exercises that are designed to lose weight and build muscle, with each element supporting the other.
Team cohesion in the workplace is very similar!
Team cohesion happens when a group of individuals are working together towards a common goal. This connection could be down to the support they give one another, their communication, their ability to acknowledge each person’s contribution to the project and also their trust and faith in the overall success of the team.
Team cohesion in the workplace relies on frequent interaction and an understanding of people’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ve all been in the situation where systems breakdown because of poor communication. 👎
Put simply, team cohesion means getting to know each other better so that it benefits the entire organisation.
Why is team cohesion important?
A characteristic that is often seen in teams that perform at a high level is cohesiveness. Team cohesion occurs when we understand ourselves and our roles, as well as the people around us. This understanding has been linked to those in highly cohesive teams who are more cooperative and effective in achieving goals they set for themselves.
When there isn’t cohesiveness within a working team environment, it could result in unnecessary stress or tension amongst co-workers. 97% of employees and executives believe that lack of alignment within a team impacts the output of the task or final project.
It's important to note that an overly competitive work culture will actually damage team cohesion, as employees are incentivised to view their colleagues as potential threats to their career progression. Easily resolve conflict with a more supportive and team focussed environment will determine employee engagement and overall happiness.
Team cohesion in the workplace is highly focused on team development and improving team dynamics.
How to build a cohesive team
1. Establish a culture of openness
One strategy for leaders who wish to grow team cohesion is to establish a culture of openness. What's that you say? Well, when employees feel secure enough to express themselves, they will share valuable information that helps the team to operate more intuitively. This means building trust by being honest, transparent and available to each team member who wishes to voice any thoughts or ideas.
Team members will feel connected and encouraged to work in a cohesive manner if they feel there are no barriers between them and their peers or management.
Group cohesion only works if there is a mutual understanding and space to talk and discuss ideas.
2. Increase communication
We’ve heard it before; communication is key. But when your team is scattered across the globe, it really is a top priority. Not only does clear communication avoid mistakes, but it also reminds team members you still care. And there has never been a more important time to show them some recognition.
Teams work best when communication is regular and clear, especially during a time where many organisations are operating remotely. To create a positive sense of team effort and to be able to work together efficiently, communication needs to be consistent. Only 5.9% of companies communicate goals daily, but a company could improve team communication easily by implementing daily-stand ups or daily emails.
3. Make it easy to stay connected
Employers should also provide the right resources so that the team can contact each other to offer support or help with an idea for a task.
Managers should be turning to apps to satisfy their remote teams' communication needs. With real-time communication, managers can build remote teams that work harmoniously together while giving extra attention to new starts coming on board. We've got a few suggestions to make it feel less like you're shouting into an empty void when you hit send, and receive approximately zero replies. We've all been there. It's not fun.
Avoid miscommunications and forget confusing email threads with the help of these apps:
- Slack - for business communications
- Zoom - seamless video conferencing platform
- World Time Buddy - organise meetings across different time zones
Keeping your remote workers in the loop should be effortless and enjoyable!
3. Create a schedule
Ensuring your team is on the same page is super important to increase team cohesion and achieve the desired employee engagement. We suggest using a virtual calendar as it's easy to use and accessible to your entire team.
Enhance your teams' productivity by setting reminders, scheduling meetings, and blocking time for important remote work projects. You'll immediately see a shift in your team's communication, organisation, and synchronisation once a clear timeline has been set and goals scheduled. Managers should make sure tasks are delegated fairly amongst remote employees and continue to review their calendar once the dates have been set.
4. Encourage and set sustainable routines
If your company is still making adjustments to new flexible working arrangements, it’s crucial to provide employees with stability in their remote work by establishing new virtual routines. Monday morning meetings are a great way to check-in with remote employees and set a positive atmosphere for the week ahead.
Make sure these routines can be realistically maintained by your remote team. Morning meditations at 6 am may work as a one-off but are not likely to stick. For obvious reasons. Here are some ideas which can be easily integrated and simple to sustain:
- Lunchtime catch-ups
- Afternoon coffee breaks
- Dedicated time to go for a walk
Creating this structure is essential when managing remote employees and building team cohesion. But remember to retain flexibility with their own personal routines while they adjust to working remotely. While it's important to have team-wide practices, setting habits can be a deeply personal activity, and respecting an individual's choice will result in higher satisfaction. Establishing these routines will make managing remote employees feel like a walk in the park!
3. Celebrate success
Celebrating success as a team building exercise that allows the whole group to measure and praise individuals for their contributions to team goals. This can improve team identity and helps each team member grow their passion for achievements.
Praising and recognising team members for their work has been proven to be one of the most important factors in driving workplace engagement, productivity and employee retention.
Celebrating success can help grow the self esteem of employees and every member will appreciate the recognition of their hard work while working towards team goals.
We've got three ways you can show appreciation that can massively improve your team cohesion...
give thanks by recognising your employees with something special. Make sure this consists of regular, meaningful gestures that motivate your team.
a highly effective way of ensuring your employees are aware of your constant guidance and support. Keep it constructive and insightful. If your employees don't know where they're going wrong, how can they improve?
create a positive atmosphere and build strong work relationships by getting your team to give each other feedback. This can be especially beneficial for new employees; allowing them to adapt to their role quicker.
So what do you need to remember?
- Adopt a consistent recognition scheme
- Provide in-depth real-time feedback
- Encourage active peer review
If you want to find out more about workplace recognition culture you can read all about it on our blog here!
4. Reiterate company values
It’s vital your team feel connected to the core values of the company, and the best way to test this to improve team cohesion is by asking them,
How does the group view the team and its goals?
They may have slightly different views to your own, and then that will present you with the opportunity to further their understanding and improve the team cohesion. This process could be done through a team building activity where the group comes together to vocalise their thoughts and ideas and how they reflect within the overall team.
Doing fun team building activities improves team bonding and encourages team members to get to know one another on a more personal level as well as in a group. This team development will support the group dynamics and help employees feel connect to the group and the team goals. Team building activities are also great for giving employees a better understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and interests which can impact the businesses performance and cohesiveness.
One way to create some excitement about a team day through a gift. Whether you decide to host a virtual or in-person event, we can help you give the perfect gift that will ease any nerves and make the day more fun, sociable and memorable.
5. Recognise individuals
Ok, so you should now be feeling a little more confident about what to do to improve cohesive teams. You've nailed the virtual outreach and your team members are feeling closer than ever. Sadly your work isn't quite complete. While you've been busy managing your team, ensuring they're coming together to enhance work performance and team spirit, you may have forgotten about the individuals.
Being seen as part of the team is not the only way employees should be recognised. Valuing individual workers is just as important when creating cohesion between the team as a whole. The best way to do this? Individual team member check-ins. Managers should schedule time in the week to prioritise team members independently to their colleagues. Take the opportunity to evaluate their performance, access their goals, and acknowledge their work.
At the end of the day whether you want to re-think team cohesion and adapt it for your new remote workers, or want improve the group cohesion to make every member feel connect to build and maintain a strong workforce - there's never a wrong time to get started and find success.
If you're still stuck here's 5 simple tips on how to create a culture of recognition in the workplace.