Cohesion in the Workplace: A Guide
Each and every business, no matter the industry or product, needs to have a united working force, aiming for the same goal. Without cohesion in the workplace, any business can easily fall apart. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a large or small business, cohesion all amounts to the same working atmosphere and positive communication.
Especially in those industries which have a variety of departments such as the publishing industry, cohesion across entire departments and between people who may not have even met is imperative for the overall product and service provided by the company.
So how is cohesion formed and – more importantly – maintained?
1. Implement Team Building
The only way a team is going to learn how to effectively work together is by ensuring that there are opportunities to build that skill. Team building exercises are fundamental in any business, but in order to encourage better focus and form a united front, a team needs to have experience of working together.
The only way to truly gain cohesion in the workplace is by actively identifying and resolving conflicts, working together to come up with new ideas and solutions for the business as a whole, and build a supportive and positive environment for all staff members.
Companies should always make time for team building exercises, but it may seem impossible to work around a heavy workload. There are many options available in regards to finding more time for team building. This could include events and social occasions outside of normal working hours, or identifying the quietest day or period of time during the week to dedicate to team building.
Making time-saving changes to the everyday running of the business can also help. This can include investing in better technology and software which can run on automated systems, such as XCD HR Software, meaning employees have more spare time to focus on other tasks.
2. Create Clear and Achievable Goals
All businesses operate with a goal in mind, whether this be providing the best of a particular product, being known for the best customer service, making more money – or all of the above. Each business’s goal will be unique to the brand, image and the working force behind it. Yet, in order to achieve full cohesion, all staff members, whether employees or employers, need to be aware of the ultimate end goal.
Nevertheless, cohesion isn’t just attainable from one unified, end goal. Goals should be split into varying factors. This could be the goal of a particular department, or personal development goals for team members.
It may even be a fun or quirky ‘goal of the month’ which gets the team members working together. No matter the scale or focus of the goal, as long as every member of the business is aware of what their aims are, this leads to a unified working force working together to achieve that goal.
3. Operate in A Completely Transparent Working Environment
Cohesion will come from open communication, a trusting and welcoming atmosphere and building an understanding between everyone and everything. If your company operates under misdirection, unclear instructions, management who are often absent and team members who are perhaps afraid to speak up that they don’t know what they’re doing, this will lead to the ultimate business breakdown.
There are many ways you can operate with full transparency. This can include:
- Regular team meetings, to ensure that everybody is up to date with the latest on the business and what is required of them.
- Regular staff appraisals, which can be the ideal opportunity to check that staff members are completely comfortable and certain of what they are doing, as well as being an opportunity to provide valuable feedback on what staff members are doing correctly.
- Operate an open-door policy in regards to management, so that team members feel confident and comfortable raising any issues with management instead of keeping conflicts or problems to themselves.
- Produce information packs, particularly for new employees, which detail the company’s overall message and goal, along with detailed and personal job descriptions so that the employee knows exactly what their role entails and what is expected of them.
- Constantly ask for feedback and encourage staff members to speak up, as a lot of employees may not raise an issue unless asked directly. This can also encourage a positive image of management being interested in what employees have to say by taking the time to ask.
4. Provide the Right Tools for the Job
All employees need to be provided with a healthy, safe and encouraging working environment, with everything they need to complete their job efficiently. If an employee is provided with slow and outdated equipment, for example, this can have a severe impact on the daily process of their job role, which can lead to delayed or incomplete work – not to mention be very frustrating for the employee.
It may not always be the case that a business can provide top-end equipment to its staff, such as a small or start-up business which hasn’t yet formed the adequate budget. If this is the case, good communication is encouraged. This includes speaking with employees and telling them that you’re hoping to improve the equipment, or else thanking them for their hard work using equipment which might be slow. Employees won’t react well using inadequate tools to then be ignored by management when the issue is brought up.
Providing the right working environment extends further than equipment and tools. You also need to ensure that a healthy workspace is supplied. This includes a source of natural light, an attractive interior, a comfortable chair and anything which an employee is legally obliged to have during their working day.
By providing an adequate and positive working environment, you are ensuring that all employees will feel confident coming into work and not tempted to look for another job elsewhere. A high staff turnover with new employees constantly having to be found means that the communication and bond between workers will be frail, and this leads to the opposite of cohesion in the workplace.
5. Reward as A Team
Although it’s naturally important for individuals to be personally recognized for hard work, you also want to avoid a competitive atmosphere where team members feel as though they are working against one another to stand out and achieve a promotion, for instance. For team support and cohesion, recognition and reward as a whole can be more productive. This could include a team event or occasion such as a trip or meal as a team, rather than a reward personally for an individual person which ignores the rest of the team. This doesn’t mean extra rewards can’t be rewarded for outstanding individuals, but it’s a good idea to provide those in private and then speak positively about the team as a whole during team meetings, for instance.
You could also take the time to ensure that any goals are developed to be achieved by the team as a whole and not just individuals, encouraging employees to work together for a reward rather than for personal gain.
There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, however; this could be done as part of a team-building exercise with groups of employees working together to beat the other team.