How do you prepare and check the cohesion of a fast-growing team?

When a large number of contracts are signed in a short space of time, this can lead to the arrival of new employees, which in turn can cause disruption in a team that needs to grow quickly. The inclusion of a new employee in a close-knit group, where there is a climate of trust and a strong sense of belonging, must be carefully prepared to preserve its cohesion. Let's find out how to manage this situation and make sure it evolves correctly.

Cohesion within a work team

For Pierre Cauvin, Doctor of Social Sciences, "a team is a place where solidarity develops, where the actions of each individual are reinforced by the interplay of exchanges, where activity is unified, where a team spirit is created".

It's a way of working that promotes autonomy and interdependence. It renews authority relationships, by enabling the team to organize itself internally to achieve the objectives set for it by management.

Cohesion within a team requires that everyone has their place. All team members must be able to coordinate with each other, and not come into conflict with each other. Indeed, a team is a human construct in which each member has his or her own importance. It's a relatively fragile balance that the company manager must strive to maintain, especially as the team grows rapidly. It should not be forgotten that a single element can destroy it very quickly, as can be the case if the arrival of a new collaborator has not been sufficiently prepared.

Steps involved in including a new team member

Notify the whole team

The surprise effect should be avoided at all costs, as it is anxiety-provoking. So it's important to take the time to communicate with your team, explaining the reasons why you've decided to strengthen it with the arrival of a new member. This may be due to an increase in workload, or to the need for new skills. This clarification is essential, even if the request for help came from the team.

Existing team members generally know each other well, and sometimes for a very long time. They have confidence in each other's abilities and know-how, and the arrival of a new employee can cause anxiety and weaken the cohesion of the existing team. You can avoid this difficulty by being very clear about the position entrusted to the new employee and the tasks you intend to assign to him or her.

Set up an induction process for new employees

For a new employee to integrate easily into a team, you first need to familiarize them with your company. This is calledonboarding. Of course, you've already told them about your company when they were hired, but the day of their integration should be marked by the handing over of all the documents that will help them to get to know your structure better. For example, if you have goodies specific to your establishment, don't forget to give them to the new employee, as this will help him/her to feel part of the team he/she is about to join.

It's all about creating a reassuring environment from the day they arrive, by taking the time to show them around their workspace, while introducing them to the company's other departments. To help them embrace your company's culture, you need to explain its values and practices, so that they understand what makes it who it is.

By doing so, you'll avoid high turnover , bearing in mind that, according to the 2013 SkillRoad study on onboarding in France, "20% of employees who join a company consider leaving on the very first day because of a poor welcome in human, administrative or material terms".

Depending on your possibilities, you can organize a breakfast or lunch with all team members. This convivial occasion allows new arrivals to get to know their colleagues in an informal way, and to start building relationships.

Finally, plan a teambuilding session soon after his arrival to reinforce the cohesion of the team into which he is integrated.

Ensuring cohesion within the new team

This stage consists of checking that the newcomer has gradually taken his place within the team, and that his arrival has not disrupted the group's cohesion. This is an important step, because if inclusion is unsuccessful and conflicts arise, this situation will have a negative impact on team performance in the short to medium term.

To avoid reaching this stage, you need to :

  • hold regular meetings at which everyone can express themselves freely;
  • encourage informal exchanges ;
  • organize team-building events.