Champion Team Cohesion Amidst Change

Change is an inevitable part of any organization’s journey. Sometimes it requires reorganizing teams and introducing new team members. However, for teams to work cohesively and effectively, it’s crucial to champion team cohesion amidst change. And that requires cultivating a sense of unity and understanding. The success of any transition depends on how well you build team cohesion during these periods of change.

This article will explore practical strategies to foster teamwork, ensuring that the transition doesn’t hinder productivity or lead to conflicts. Whether you’re integrating new members or reshaping an existing team, the following ideas will guide you in establishing a strong foundation of collaboration and synergy.

Building A Strong Foundation of Collaboration and Synergy

It All Starts With Onboarding

You should consider implementing a comprehensive onboarding program that covers not only the practical aspects of the job but also the company’s culture, values, and long-term goals. You can foster a sense of purpose and engagement right from the start by providing new employees with a clear understanding of their role in the organization and how it aligns with the overall business strategy.

Revamping onboarding practices can accelerate team integration and foster a positive employee experience. Starting as soon as you announce the new team is essential to optimize this process. Conducting one-on-one meetings with new employees can clarify roles, address any concerns, and create a strong foundation for success.

In addition to personalized meetings, consider incorporating thoughtful gestures to generate excitement and make new employees feel valued. Simple gestures like handwritten welcome notes or welcome packages can go a long way in creating a warm and inclusive onboarding experience. These small but meaningful actions show your investment in their success from the get-go.

Establishing Psychological Safety

Transitioning into a new team requires patience and compassion from all parties involved. As the leader of a newly formed team, it is crucial to establish a standard of grace and empathy, offering unwavering support to each individual throughout the challenging process of adjusting to working together.

By openly communicating your expectations for the team’s journey, you create a safe space where members feel encouraged to embrace the learning curve and adapt to the inevitable changes. This environment acts as a safety net, fostering psychological safety. Research has shown that by enhancing psychological safety in the workplace, businesses can experience a remarkable reduction of 27% in staff turnover and a noteworthy increase of 12% in productivity.

In his book, The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle stresses the contribution of three major factors to an employee feeling safe in a workplace. Collectively, he calls these behaviors and actions belonging cues. They are:

  • Connection – these cues allow team members to feel as though they are supported by the group while being valued as individuals. They include physical connection, active listening and small courtesies.
  • Future – these cues let team members know that they have a future at your organization. They include discussions about upward mobility, correlations between team members and model employees, and conversations about long-term goals.
  • Security – these cues let employees know they have permission to speak up without fear of losing their position. They include embracing feedback, promotion of team opinion and acknowledging strong work.

Using these cues while leading with empathy and understanding sets the tone for a supportive atmosphere. When team members witness your empathetic approach, they are more inclined to reciprocate this graciousness among themselves. This mutual understanding nurtures collaboration, builds trust, and cultivates a harmonious team dynamic.

Maximizing Clarity and Collaboration

Statistics on workplace communication reveal that 86% of employees and executives attribute workplace failures to ineffective collaboration and communication.

When working with a new team, particularly in a virtual setting, it’s crucial to establish clear communication channels. By defining reporting relationships and establishing a streamlined information flow, you ensure everyone can access the necessary insights while avoiding overwhelming individuals with excessive communication.

To achieve this, setting expectations regarding communication protocols and tools is essential. Train each team member to utilize available collaboration and project management tools effectively. By providing comprehensive training, you empower your team to leverage these tools to their full potential, enhancing productivity and streamlining workflows.

Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge that individuals have different preferences and comfort levels with technology. Recognize and respect these differences while making clear expectations regarding actions within these systems. Creating an inclusive environment that embraces diverse technological comfort levels promotes a sense of psychological safety, encouraging team members to contribute and collaborate confidently.


Acquaint Them With Their Role(s)

Introducing the team to their clients and projects is essential for fostering team cohesion. It also helps ensure their comfort with the assigned work. Acquaint the team with internal and external clients they will collaborate with and set up meetings with key stakeholders and clients to discuss projects and initiatives. New team members can then ask questions, familiarize themselves with their clients’ leadership styles and expectations, and gain clarity on project goals. Additionally, it is crucial to review past progress, outline future objectives, and facilitate interaction among team members. Using project collaboration tools can promote accountability and ensure everyone contributes similarly. The aim is to address knowledge gaps early on, giving the newly formed team a strong start.

Create self-serving support content to facilitate the onboarding process and support ongoing learning. This entails sharing new project information and procedure expectations. Share it with the entire team in a format that is easily accessible for future reference. By providing resources that team members can revisit, they can absorb information at their own pace without repeatedly seeking explanations. This approach acknowledges the overwhelming nature of acquiring a multitude of new information and empowers employees to independently access the necessary resources, enhancing their understanding and efficiency.


When Conflict Calls

Despite everyone’s best effort at showing grace and empathy toward each other, conflicts may still arise as you reroute workflows. If this happens, avoid running from your new team’s issues. Address problems immediately – as professionally and gently as you can. Get into problem-solving mode quickly. Listen to everyone’s concerns and work toward identifying a solution.

In a remote work environment, using platforms like Zoom or regular phone calls helps consider the feelings and concerns of others. Additionally, as your team progresses, observe the unique value each member brings and highlight their diverse perspectives and experiences. This enhances satisfaction with their contributions and encourages mutual appreciation among teammates.

Looking Ahead

Navigating change in the workplace can be challenging for employees, as they often struggle to embrace new initiatives. However, with proper guidance and support, you can help your employees become more open and accepting of change.

Gain valuable insights and practical advice on effectively managing workplace change from renowned HR expert Lisa Brock. Her expertise and recommendations will empower you to steer change that minimizes resistance and encourages a smoother transition for your team. Check out our webinar, Steering Effective Change, to learn more.