The Art of the Workforce: Cohesiveness


Editor’s Note: We’ve commissioned artist Doug Shaw to explore the 16 Key Factors measured when it comes to compatibility between a candidate and employer and will be posting them along with his inspiration in this series.

When thinking of being “cohesive” in the workplace, many things may come to mind. Is there a unity in procedure or policy? What about with things like engagement and feedback? These are all equally important. However, let’s look at what can make or break cohesion at its very core – the employees. Because, without a unification of co-workers, everything else can fall apart if you rely on cohesion as a key part of your values as an employer or employee.

Teams usually consist of a wide range of individuals, so it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. However, it does have major benefits, including the possibility to bring together multiple ideas and create one amazing solution. According to the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, increased cohesion has been shown to improve performance, positive relationships, and great success in competition. Since both the sports environment and workforce need and grown upon these types of relationships and concepts, you can see the relation.

Another huge aspect is the idea that bringing people together in this way can result in workplace friendships, which is a big deal. Stated in a recent survey, 67% employees reported having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable and 55% feel that these relationships make their job more worthwhile and satisfying. It seems that all the evidence points to cohesion as being a fundamental need in the workforce.

Tweet This: 67% employees reported having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable. #Workplace

Despite this, it seems that some companies and employers are still at times hesitant. The Global Human Capital Trends actually found that 87% of organizations cite culture and engagement (which often includes cohesion) as one of their top challenges.

So, what about your workplace? What is your company doing to promote cooperation and unity among employees? If you’re struggling with this and not sure what to do, here are some tips from The Huffington Post on what you can do to build a cohesive team:

  • Establish a Mission. If you already have one for your consumer brand, try to find how that applies to your employees. What brings them together in support of the overall corporate mission?
  • Look for Diversity. Cohesion doesn’t mean we’re all the same. In fact, finding diversity within your workplace is a wonderful way to inject new ideas and innovation into tired processes. Avoid the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” trap.
  • Practice Teamwork (team building exercises). Team building can be as simple as a quick game of “get to know you” trivia or as time-honored as the (risky!) trust fall. Whatever you decide, try to add a team building exercise that’s not a project or meeting to your agenda at least once a month.
  • Utilize Individual Strengths. Everyone’s strengths are different. If you constantly try to build weaknesses into strengths, you may find yourself with frustrated employees. Instead, identify and use the strengths your employees already display.
  • Communicate Effectively. You likely have a team that communicates in all sorts of way. While it may take some work to adapt to how all your employees communicate differently, the dividends will be clear when you take the time to make sure your communication is clear and cast a wide net when it comes to channels (company intranet, individual phone calls, email thread or face to face meetings.)
  • Give Feedback. If you’re communicating effectively, your feedback will come through naturally. However, some managers struggle with giving feedback on a regular basis. Make a promise to commit to feedback at least once a week, in some form or another.
  • Ask for Feedback. While it sounds harder, asking for feedback is the best way to create cohesion within a team. If you don’t, you run the risk of “flying blind”. Another bonus? It makes giving feedback simpler when everyone is committed to the feedback culture.
  • Celebrate Success. Nearly every workplace is being asked to do more with less and your employees are likely no exception. So make note of the wins with a little celebration. Grab a pizza or take the gang out for a movie to mark your successes palpably.

From Doug:

When you run a business, how does it all fit together? We all have different strengths, wants and needs, and whilst that can make things complicated, it also makes things exciting. A good team needs clarity; an understanding of how each individual contributes to the whole. I chose the idea of shirts from a sports team to convey unity, and jigsaw puzzle pieces to show that even though every piece is different, when it all clicks together, we see a bigger picture.

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