How Can I Foster Group Cohesiveness?

Sheri Cyprus

To foster group cohesiveness, communicate a clear team purpose and make sure that everyone knows each others' roles. Each individual and department should be held accountable for a specific achievement for the organization as a whole as well as rewarded for good team effort. The mission statement and the details of what the company does and why should be easily identifiable by all. You may want to create a company policy to refer to workers as team members rather than employees. Experiences outside the workplace, such as team sports or a trip outdoors, can deepen the bonds and trust among individuals to help foster group cohesiveness.

Group cohesiveness is an important part of team activities.
Group cohesiveness is an important part of team activities.

Hiring a corporate trainer experienced in team building may help you add more social cohesion in your workplace. The exercises these types of trainers usually do with employees are usually fun and, even more importantly, memorable for those involved. For example, one classic type of group cohesiveness exercise to help foster the concept of a team of people working together for a common goal is a blindfolded egg and spoon race. One employee is blindfolded and must carry a raw egg on a spoon through an obstacle course while his or her teammates guide the person to the finish with just their voices directions.

Giving members a specific goal can foster cohesiveness.
Giving members a specific goal can foster cohesiveness.

Some companies like to create sports teams to compete with other businesses in the same industry. The idea of everyone working as a team is a very literal way to foster group cohesiveness. Whether the sport is bowling, soccer or something else, your employees will be playing as one team, all wearing the same uniform. Another possibility is to arrange a company camping or canoe trip in which everyone is responsible for one chore, such as cooking, setting up and taking down tents, dish washing or gathering wood for the campfire. These types of out of the office activities can be fun while also helping to bond the group.

Group cohesiveness in a household can be achieved by assigned chores to specific people.
Group cohesiveness in a household can be achieved by assigned chores to specific people.

Making sure that your company's policies enforce the idea of team members over just employees is important. Creating a company culture of communication, respect and fairness is also crucial, or workers may feel alienated and not want to stay with the company. Fair pay and reasonable conditions are necessary for group cohesiveness, but every team member must also be expected to do his or her part to accomplish the company's purpose. During staff meetings, on work boards or on office memos, try to include a reminder about the company's mission and each department's role in it.

During staff meetings, try to include a reminder about the company's mission and the department's role in it.
During staff meetings, try to include a reminder about the company's mission and the department's role in it.
Racism can impair cohesion in a group.
Racism can impair cohesion in a group.
Professional sports teams often hold a team-building retreat before they start their season.
Professional sports teams often hold a team-building retreat before they start their season.
Hiring a corporate trainer who is experienced in team building may help an organization foster group cohesiveness.
Hiring a corporate trainer who is experienced in team building may help an organization foster group cohesiveness.

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Discussion Comments

lluviaporos

@umbra21 - I know one of the easiest ways to get a group to come together is to give them something to complain about together. I've had teachers who managed to make their class cohesive almost by accident, and we used that cohesiveness to play pranks on them rather than to get our work done.

umbra21

@croydon - This is a valuable mindset to foster in the high school classroom as well. If you can get to the point where students know and trust each other and enjoy spending time together, you've already won half the battle.

I find that group cohesiveness depends a little bit on the ability to control your surroundings though. You can't force kids to get along, you can only get them to decide for themselves that's what they're going to do.

croydon

Being in a close-knit group has always been the best motivation for me when it comes to study at least. I tend to get lazy or bored when I'm sitting in a lecture hall with 200 other people and often I get to the point where I just won't show up and will take my chances with the readings. If the tutorial groups are large, the same thing happens.

But if I have a small group, where I'm known to the teacher and the other students and I know they would notice if I wasn't there, I always show up and do all my work on time, even if I am bored by it. Group cohesion might be difficult to build but for some people it really makes a huge difference to their motivation. I'll get out of bed early for the group but I might not bother for myself alone.

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