Building Team Cohesion

Learn how to help your team stay focused on the shared goal.

Building team cohesion

According to a survey conducted by Gusto, "working with a great team" is the second most important reason (after salary) why employees stay at their current company. 52% of the respondents also added that they have left a job or strongly considered leaving a job because they did not have a strong sense of belonging to their team.

Hiring a team is easy – all you need is a budget. But there is a difference between a team and a cohesive team. You can assign any group of people to work together on a project but that alone wouldn't make them work as a real team.

Let's dive deeper into what it takes to build team cohesion.

What is team cohesion?

Before jumping into how it can be cultivated, it's important to understand what team cohesion actually means.

Team cohesion is when a group of individuals in an organization share a strong sense of common identity. Simply put, it's the extent to which team members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal.

A cohesive team has the following characteristics:

Team cohesion increases employee self-esteem, improves team morale, and boosts overall performance. Members focus more on the team and organization rather than their individual selves and are more motivated to work towards the shared goal.

How to build a cohesive team

Team cohesion is not built overnight. It's a continuous process that requires patience and dedication. Whether you are building a brand-new team or are looking to make your existing team more cohesive, there are several steps most successful companies take.

Hire the right people

It may seem reasonable to assume that if you hire an excellent professional and put him on a great team, both the individual and the team will do well. But simply throwing together a bunch of talented people is not enough for them to turn into a cohesive team.

No matter how impressive the candidate's credentials may be, if they are expected to work on a team, hiring managers need to go deeper. They need to figure out whether applicants are in sync with the fundamental elements of their company culture and have the right soft skills and personality traits to fit in well.

Don't overlook the importance of the new employee onboarding process either. Making sure new members start off on the right foot is critical for building team cohesion.

Eliminate knowledge silos

Creating a culture of knowledge sharing is fundamental for building team cohesion. Now that many teams work remotely, knowledge silos can easily occur without a proper knowledge sharing workflow in place.

That doesn't mean that your team needs to schedule more meetings – in fact, it's one of the least effective ways to share information. Instead, make sure all knowledge is documented in one central, organized, and searchable place – an internal wiki or a company intranet.

Team cohesion and knowledhe sharing

Company intranet in Nuclino

A wiki or a knowledge base is the best tool at your disposal when it comes to preventing knowledge silos. Create a free knowledge base in Nuclino.

Communicate effectively

Effective team communication is a must for being productive as a group. However, contrary to popular belief, teams who spend a lot of time communicating are not more productive. Synchronous communication – such as meetings and instant messaging – is often a sign that the team is not fully aligned.

Asynchronous communication example for cohesive teams

Truly cohesive teams use meetings as a last resort and instead communicate asynchronously. They make sure all their work is clearly documented and accessible to their colleagues. They share their thoughts in the form of structured, thoughtful write-ups rather than one-line-at-a-time on Slack. The few meetings that do take place always have a meeting agenda and detailed meeting minutes.

Keep your team small

The larger your team is, the harder it is to maintain cohesion. The more people you add to a team, the harder it becomes to keep them aligned and synchronously working towards the same goal.

The best way to minimize the communication overhead while keeping your team cohesive is to keep it small. Harvard psychologist and expert on team dynamics Richard Hackman suggests a simple rule of thumb for determining an ideal team size: “No double digits.” Jeff Bezos adheres to a similar principle, known as the “two-pizza team” rule, meaning that no matter how large your company gets, if you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.

Celebrate success together

Boosting team morale is key to improving team cohesion. Whether it's a new product release or a closed deal, make sure to celebrate these successes as a team. Go out for lunch or dinner together. Plan an offsite. Plan a Zoom party and show your appreciation for each other's efforts towards achieving your shared goals.

Nuclino: Your team's single source of truth

Nuclino pitch

Nuclino is a unified workspace that helps you organize all of your team's work in one place. Instead of digging through the chaos of files and folders and drowning in endless meetings and notifications, Nuclino allows your team to break out of silos and collaborate more thoughtfully.

Try it for free

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