How to Create Unity in the Workplace

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A diverse group of co-workers in a go team huddle.
A diverse group of co-workers in a go team huddle. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A cohesive team of employees is the key to turning your vision for your company into a reality. Unity, however, doesn't just happen. It requires a lot of hard work. Communicating and engaging others in your vision and building their relationships with you and one another are important.

Clarity of Vision

One way to unify your employees is to clearly articulate your vision for the company. Set one or two overarching goals that fit into that vision. Tell stories around each goal so the goals are easy to understand and to rally around. As all of your employees become committed to your vision and rally around these goals, they'll become unified in purpose. For example, suppose your vision is to be a source of innovative products to improve the quality of customers' home life. One goal would be to invent one new marketable product each year. To unify staff, you might tell a story of how one of your newest products has helped improve one family's life.

Relationships

Team members who care for and respect each other tend to be more unified than those who don't. While this axiom seems intuitive, results don't happen overnight. Begin by recruiting individuals who are already successful in similar roles at other companies so that everyone on the team is a professional. Then invest time in building rapport between team members. Activities that help employees get to know each other or work together to overcome challenges can help with this. One teambuilding game from Office Arrow is Boardroom Bingo. Prepare bingo cards with squares that contain information about members of your team, such as "speaks Russian" or "is an oldest child." General rules of bingo apply. To fill in a square, players must find a team member who fits the description listed and have the team member sign the square. A team member cannot sign more than two squares on any one card, according to Office Arrow.

Clarify Roles

Each team member has a role within the organization. Unity can be disrupted if members ignore the role assigned to them, while taking on another. For example, if an individual is hired to manage production, he shouldn't spend time telling the sales staff what to do. Likewise, the owner of a company doesn't try to manage all the functions, but rather trusts his team to do so.

Incentives

Compensation and incentive packages can do much to either encourage or discourage unity. If rewards are based primarily on individual accomplishment, especially if they create winners and losers, employees will focus most of their energy on themselves. Rewards based around the team's performance and given to all team members equally will encourage unity. For example, a share of company profits could be given to all employees, or bonuses could be based upon the performance of the whole group.

Understand Process

Teams typically go through a process when forming, according to Bruce Tuckman, professor emeritus of educational psychology at the Ohio State University. This process has five phases: forming, norming, storming, performing and adjourning. During the forming process, members assess each other. In the norming stage, they begin to work together cautiously. In the storming stage, they try to show their expertise through their contributions. Only in the performing stage will teams reach their performance potential. Each time new members are introduced into the group, it will go through these processes again.

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