In a corporate, isolation based on thinking, cultures, and opinions is part and parcel of the package. Groupism is very common, and it takes place in almost every organisation. There may be several groups in which the entire workforce gets segregated.
One thing to note here is, it broadly differs from office politics. Favoritism is born out of similar opinions, typical cultures, comfort, the ease of getting along with each other, shared interests, like-mindedness, to name a few. It invites conflicts and issues among the employees and also becomes a primary cause of unhealthy competition among the workforce.
It Is A Pretty Common Phenomenon…
Groups at the workplace are usually never intentional — they occur naturally. Let’s take schools as an example. We become friends with the people we are comfortable with or those who share the same interests. This follows us to the organisations we work in. The difference is that groupism at a company is never beneficial in any way. It has unfavorable side effects that result in unpleasant work conditions.
Let’s Look At The Adverse Effects Of Groupism!
When employees get segregated into various groups in the organisation, it leads to the following issues…
- Disruptions in teamwork: Employees who are working together on a project, but are from different groups, could bring their internal conflicts into the project. Because of a restricted team effort, the project gets hampered.
- New joiners’ network hassle: When recruits come on board and learn about groups, they find it difficult to fit in. They are persistently under the dilemma of which group they should adhere to. It results in split, shallow networks.
- Individual group developments: Workers in a particular group indulge in bonding restricted to the very group. They slowly lose interest in building networks, by bonding with other colleagues.
- Unhealthy competition: This (groupism) leads to lousy competition at work where workers continuously try to be ahead of the curve merely to outshine the other groups, which is a bad sign.
- Demotivation: Unhealthy competition eventually makes way for demotivation among the employees. Such (demotivation) conditions restrict originality and innovation at work.
- Productivity depletion: Productivity is hampered, as a result of lack of motivation to deliver extraordinary work. This also results in altered individual performance and the overall project/assignment performance. Groupism is counterproductive.
- Unfavorable work-environment: These adverse effects bundle up to create an undesirable office environment. Workers face unrealistic competition and as a whole, the organisation’s performance gets compromised due to unforeseen favoritism/groups.
Here’s How Organisations Can Deal With Groupism!
If you find out and are convinced about the presence of groupism at the workplace, pulling a diplomatic approach to it becomes the first step towards conquering it. You are not supposed to interact individually with employees, but find a generalized solution to get rid of the groups and deliver a more comforting, positive, productive and happy work environment.
Let us learn how to avoid favoritism at the workplace and help build a positive and productive workforce. Following are the steps you must employ to curb groupism and eliminate the risks it brings onboard.
1. Enforce diversity:
Ensure a blend of people from diverse regions, religions, cultures in the team/groups so that, no bias or favoritism develops among the workers. Diversity will lead to communication and collaboration between the team members.
2. Team building based on age:
Consider building teams of employees that belong to similar age groups. It will ensure a synchronisation in the thought processes of the team, innovation, and enthusiasm in work and will help in delivering better results on the project.
The age-based teams/groups formation primarily depends on the organisational structure and requirements of the assignment.
3. Communication policy:
When people belonging to the same region or community come together, use of the vernacular language is a common occurrence. When it happens in a team at work, other people might feel left out, owing to their inability to understand the language. Such situations lead to group formation.
To curb the same, a predefined policy of communication has to be in place, and that is adhering to one common language for discussion in the office, depending on the nature of the company. It could be English or any other language with which all employees are familiar. It will eliminate any chances of groupism among employees.
4. Seating arrangements:
The allotment of seating arrangements of employees should be carried out as per the requirements of the projects/assignments. All members of the same project should be seated in adjacent cubes, or on the same table, in the case of open office layouts. It enforces better team collaboration and teamwork.
5. Cultural activities and outings:
Employ strategies dedicated to relationship building among your employees. Hosting cultural activities, planning team outings and annual picnics are few of the ideal options to bring the workforce together and have a quality time outside of work and competition. Cultural activities held in the office will bring a change in the office work environment, as work and fun goes hand in hand. Such changes boost employees to work better.
Team outings help workers in the team to know each other better, indulge in casual talks and encourage friendship between them. The annual outing will ensure involvement from the team leaders, managers, superiors together as one unit. It will promote bonding between seniors and juniors, and such fun trips will be proven fruitful.
6. Official communication on paper:
There should be strict guidelines for keeping formal conversations regarding business on emails or officials channels only; every business communication should be “on paper.” It reduced the risks of rumors spread and the consequences of it at bay. Placing proper business communication channels helps staff understand how the company works and how information passed on.
7. Equal opportunities for all:
Treat all employees equally — provide them with similar opportunities to compete and prove themselves. Enforcing this mechanism ensures an unbiased assessment of their performances and the fair distribution of promotions and appraisals.
8. Encourage teamwork & team building:
Provide knowledge and information regarding teamwork to the employees working on a project. State the importance of collective work, team effort and the collective success that it provides. Encourage workers to be more supportive of each other, to be team players, and work towards goals as a team, and not as individuals. These qualities will help develop team spirit in workers and make them perform effectively for projects.
You can slowly weed out groupism by encouraging collaboration among employees and taking these simple steps. Doing away with groupism will ensure a more flexible, and effective workforce, better equipped to deal with the challenges that the future has in store for your organisation!