Building team cohesion leads to greater business efficiency.
Hiring the best talent for your business is a must for long-term success. But even when you have the right people in the right roles, you haven’t arrived. If you want to become the best, your next job is to turn these individuals into a group that truly works together. This means building team cohesion.
We work with local businesses daily, and a recurring pattern we’ve found is that team cohesion is the key to the efficiency of almost every successful business. In what follows, we’ll cover the unique aspects of team cohesion, why it affects your efficiency, and how you can impact it to increase revenue and beat your competition.
What is team cohesion?
Team cohesion occurs when a group of individuals feels connected and driven to achieve a common goal. A large part of team cohesion is maintaining unity throughout a project and being able to feel that one has actually contributed to the group’s success. Group members don’t just respect one another. They also trust each other to contribute equally, support each other, and work within the team with the 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
Team cohesion impacts nearly every facet of your business; but it is particularly crucial to your efficiency. Approximately 97% of employees believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. And the opposite is true as well. Strong cohesiveness leads to optimum performance, belonging, and personal satisfaction, which are essential factors in creating a work environment where employees want to stay and excel.
Team cohesion is also a main determinant in employee engagement. The percentage of employees disengaged at work under normal circumstances is normally around 70%. But in the wake of COVID-19, this number has increased for a multitude of reasons. Increasing team cohesion naturally helps you boost employee engagement by creating positive relationships, team goals, and shared values that increase commitment.
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. More engaged and happy employees also results in better customer service, which is the number one motivation for customers to leave a five-star review. All of these factors allow 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, transitioning your business from a group of semi-effective collaborators into a well-oiled machine.
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 effective group dynamics. To help you achieve that end, we’ve worked with our customers to compile six steps you can take to improve team cohesion in your organization:
1. Define goals and values
As you begin considering your current team dynamics, it’s important to have your 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. One reason furniture retailer James + James is disrupting the furniture industry is because all of the team members are united behind the company value and mission—delivering the best customer experience possible and pursuing constant change.
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 hiring, you should give your employees 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 improve in their work. To do so, they’ll need opportunities to develop their skills. These opportunities may be found in cross-functional collaboration in the workplace or through company-sponsored conferences, programs, or education. Dr. Rajendram and his team provide outstanding, unified customer service by putting in hundreds of extra training and educational hours.
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 one another beyond their work roles, team cohesion will increase.
4. Increase communication
Approximately 86% of employees cite lack of communication or collaboration for workplace failures. Teams only work effectively 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.
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. When transparency is lacking, teams begin to fall prey to a mounting of small errors, disunity, and an atmosphere of frustration and fracturing. Team cohesion can’t occur if you’re keeping secrets at the management level, even unintentionally. As a manager, you must communicate your ideas and any updates effectively. Then, demonstrate appreciation when team members contribute their own.
Building trust also acts as a deterrent to groupthink. Groupthink occurs when employees aim to be in constant agreement (no matter the cost), and is one of the most common negative side effects of team cohesion. True team cohesion necessarily includes team members feeling able to contribute their genuine thoughts and work despite how others in the group may feel.
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 enjoy 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. And when happier customers and increased revenue are on the line, there’s no reason not to get started.