Building team cohesion leads to greater business efficiency.
Hiring the best talent for your business needs is a must for long-term success, but as soon as you have the right people in the right roles, it’s time to take it a step further. Your next job is to turn these individuals into a group that truly works together by building team cohesion.
Employees aren’t cheap. On top of hundreds and thousands of dollars in salaries, you can expect to pay as much as 26% extra in benefits and taxes—often even more for large-scale operations. With the amount of investment you’re putting in, it only makes sense that you want to get results back while keeping employees happy so you don’t risk the cost of turnover.
So how do you successfully improve your team performance without overworking your team? One of the simplest answers is building team cohesion.
What is team cohesion?
Team cohesion occurs when a group of individuals feels connected and driven to achieve a common goal. Group members don’t just respect one another. They also trust each other to contribute equally, support each other, and work with the team as a whole in mind.
While cohesive teams are often made up of people with diverse talents from different backgrounds, what ties them all together is a strong sense of identity drawn from the organization itself. They share values, goals, and processes. In a sense, a cohesive group can be likened to a group of fans rooting for the same sports team—all working toward a collective win.
Why team cohesion matters
The results of strong cohesiveness can be desirable to people at all levels of your company. For your team members, this social and professional connectivity can create a culture that inspires them to stay.
Currently, only 7% of global employees say they have a great job, a fact that aligns with low workplace engagement rates around the world. Increasing team cohesion naturally helps you boost employee engagement by creating positive relationships, team goals, and shared values that increase commitment.
With group cohesion, your team will feel comfortable in their work environment and satisfied that they’re a part of something greater than themselves. In many cases, this “something” is an even stronger motivator than their own desire to get a big raise or find a job with better benefits. They want the organization—and their team—to succeed, so they contribute their best and hold each other accountable.
This is where you can reap the benefits from the management side. As employees put their best foot forward, contribute to the decision-making process, and communicate with each other, efficiency increases. This allows for greater revenue with the same expenditures. Your team of individuals becomes a cohesive group where each person contributes wherever needed to achieve a common goal.
How to improve team cohesion
Team cohesion doesn’t always happen right away. It’s typically the result of purposeful actions taken by managers to facilitate great group dynamics. Managers are responsible for providing a solid foundation that allows teams to develop. Here are six steps you can take to improve cohesiveness in your organization.
1. Define goals and values
Before you begin shaking up your current team dynamics, it’s important to have team goals and company values in mind. If your business doesn’t already have a mission or vision, this is a good time to create these as well. These four items will give your employees a clear, shared picture of what they’re working toward, in what manner, and for what purpose.
While you should manage the process of defining goals and values, you may consider asking your team members how they currently view the team and its goals. You may find that their image is different than yours—for better or worse—and shape your final draft based on their insight.
2. Offer training and development
In order for your team cohesion to remain strong, every member of your group should feel like they are competent enough to contribute to the team goal in the first place. Upon getting hired, your employees should receive clear responsibilities, which outline their place in the team, as well as adequate training that ensures they can accomplish their job duties.
Over time, your employees should be improving in their work. To do so, they’ll need opportunities to develop their skills. This may be through cross-functional collaboration in the workplace or through company-sponsored conferences, programs, or education. This will help team members feel adequately prepared to move forward with the team and move forward in their career within the company.
3. Encourage team-building
A big part of connecting individuals (who spend 40 hours or more together each week) is boosting their self-esteem and morale as people, not just professionals.
Initiating team-building activities can be a great way to build the empathy and respect that’s needed for a successful team to function. As your employees interact with each other and get to know each other beyond their roles, group cohesion will rise.
4. Increase communication
Team-building only works with continuous, clear communication. As a team leader, you need to provide the resources your team needs to reach out to each other. Whether they need skilled support on a project or someone to brainstorm ideas with, they should be able to easily and conveniently connect with their peers.
We recommend opening up a few communication channels that help your team stay productive and engaged. Online messaging platforms like Podium Teamchat have risen in popularity over the years for this exact reason, enabling even remote teams to easily stay connected and cohesive without distractions.
5. Build trust
As you open up communication channels, it’s important for your team members to feel comfortable with open communication—not just discussing tasks and how to complete them. Whether they’re talking to you, a direct supervisor, or a coworker, they shouldn’t be hesitant to express their thoughts and ideas.
To build trust, you need to set the precedent and be transparent yourself. Team cohesion won’t occur if you’re keeping secrets at the management level, even if unintentionally. As a manager, you must communicate your ideas and any updates effectively. Then show your appreciation when team members contribute their own.
Building trust also acts as a deterrent to groupthink. Groupthink occurs when employees are in constant agreement (no matter the cost), and it’s one of the most common negative side effects of team cohesion.
6. Celebrate success together
Finally, celebrating success is essential for maintaining the bond of a cohesive team. When your entire organization is working toward shared goals, it’s appropriate to share the accomplishment as a group.
Remember to thank your team members for their hard work and recognize that everyone has played a part. You can further increase team satisfaction by reflecting on why the accomplishment matters, where it took the business, and where you’re heading next.
Reach more goals together
Moving forward as a company requires strong team cohesion that inspires individuals to become collaborators. Cohesiveness is the best way to ensure that all of your employees’ talents are maximized while also building employee engagement and satisfaction. This lasting connection will keep your team productive and more effective than ever, so you can do more as a team.