How to Maintain Cohesion in Your Team When Your Company is Growing
The first few years of business are crucial to the success of your company. For a successful business it is often a time when pioneering employees are hungry and focused on a common goal. During this phase, spirits are generally high and people are motivated.
As your company starts to grow, it is important to maintain this level of energy into the future. Team cohesion is essential for continued company growth. Even if your company doesn’t encourage your employees to work together in teams or reach out to other teams on a daily basis, having good cohesion in a company can result in a happier and more productive environment, which also means that you’ll retain your employees for longer.
What is team cohesion?
“One team, one dream”. Cohesion is when group members come together as a unit, working towards a common goal. When a team is cohesive, members feel that they are part of a distinct entity, rather than a bunch of individuals working separately in a shared office space.
A cohesive environment fosters trust and respect and encourages positive relationships. By focusing on creating a good dynamic in the office, your team is more likely to produce higher and better results in collaborative tasks. This can make it easier to deliver relevant feedback, and to generate momentum towards company goals.
Several studies support the view that cohesive groups outperform non-cohesive ones. Such studies consider cohesive groups to score higher in behaviour and efficiency metrics, and reinforce the value of team cohesion.
How do you achieve team cohesion?
So, how do you make your team as cohesive as possible? There are a couple of techniques that you can implement, such as team building exercises and working to promote workplace unity. When applying these techniques, you should always aim to build trust as the main and most important value. When employees trust each other, they are more likely to talk to one another, and can form valuable connections and relationships that could benefit your company. In addition, they are more able to share experiences and ideas that will increase efficiency within a company.
1. Inspire: Create a common vision, and maintain it
Inspiration can be difficult to come by. But companies need to drive growth and employee engagement. It’s important that all team members understand a company’s objective, and are motivated to continually work towards achieving it. It’s one thing to create an inspiring company objective; it’s another to continually drive towards it.
Before laying out a new task or project, evaluate the objectives you’re hoping to achieve and draw them back to the company’s core goals.
Once you’ve opened up communications channels to talk about these goals with your team, continue to invest in communications and demonstrate how these goals relate to the work you are doing. Talk about your ideal position in the market, focus on your client’s ultimate goals, and communicate effective business strategies. What should be prioritised? How are different roles contributing to these priorities?
Find the big picture. Find a purpose, a mission. Then, make sure everyone in the company is always going back to it. If they are not, remind them to. You know what is best for your company, but if your people don’t, then it’s all for nothing; you won’t achieve anything. So continually invest time in communicating the values and culture of the company. As a leader, such communications are critical for group cohesion and success.
Leadership doesn’t only come from the top, but also the bottom and middle. Always try to recognise and reward team achievement, and make genuine connections with employees. Be a positive example and encourage everyone to work towards a common target.
2. Group similarity and selection
It’s important that your team can relate to each other. By clearly communicating your company’s values, you are more likely to attract employees that share the same ideals as your company. Consider the type of dynamic that you are trying to develop for your team. Having individuals that are able to find common ground means that your team will quickly strengthen their relationships in the workplace.
It’s important to consider a person’s capabilities and previous experience – but it is equally important to consider their personality. For example, if you were to introduce somebody new to your existing team, how would the new candidate fit in? Obviously, to achieve team cohesion, the members of each team must get along. And if workers are placed with individuals that are completely different from each other, they are less likely to get along, which could result in a lack of cooperation and respect.
Take your time when hiring a new member. It’s okay to be picky. Carefully consider whether the new candidate has the skills and attitude to drive towards company goals. Being selective can also make your team feel valued and appreciated; they may even feel like they belong to a highly effective, elite team.
3. Encourage feedback, and make sure everyone’s opinion counts
People like to feel like they are being heard. So make sure that there are opportunities for feedback. Give your employees a space and time to express constructive suggestions or information. It will help make your workforce feel valued and will also provide an insight into what is working and what may need to be improved.
The more your company grows, the easy it is to become distanced from your staff. Create opportunities for feedback and keep everyone in the loop, including managers, who are responsible for the team on a day-to-day basis.
A good way to get feedback is via a web-based anonymous survey. Employees can be honest without worrying about what their superiors will think. This can provide you with real and valuable information.
4. Encourage personal connections
Increasing communication between teams will also improve team cohesion. To achieve this, allow your team to interact outside of the office, in a more relaxed environment, so they can get to know each other as a person, rather than only as a co-worker. Once your team interacts with people in a social environment, they are more likely to trust each other and feel a closer connection to the company, driving them to focus on improving common goals.
Team building exercises outside the office are a great way to support personal connections. These could be short trips, birthday celebrations, outdoor activities, sport activities or holiday parties.
Maintaining open and easy channels of communication in the office is also a must. Managers should encourage team collaboration at all times, and it could be as easy as setting up an e-mail group in order to include everyone and send messages faster.
5. Conflict resolution
Finally, never forget about conflict resolution. No matter how well planned the team is, there will always be a difference of opinions which will create conflict. And while that’s perfectly normal, you need to be prepared to step in to regulate the situation, assist in conflict resolution and provide a concrete solution. The sooner you intervene, the sooner the conflict will be resolved and the better the gains to team cohesion and productivity.