In almost every company, whether big and popular or small and sophisticated, there is a particular culture of office politics that finds a way to creep inside the walls of a foundation built with years of hard work. It is something that is inevitable and exists in every organisation. There are groups created between employees according to their level of comfort and how well they get along with each other. It is somewhat like the groups in school, with dorks and nerds on one side and the cool ones on another. For competitive purposes, this might be helpful for an organisation to some extent, but it soon gets ugly too with the addition to new employees who are de-motivated by these groups.
Going by what some top management experts have to say about how they managed their company, the truth is that groupism in companies needs to be denounced, and the sooner your workers get rid of this, the better it is for your company’s growth.
Here are some of the ways in which you can attempt to get rid of groupism between the employees of your office:
8 Important ways to get rid of groupism between employees
It is beneficial for the employers to hire individuals who come from different backgrounds, have a different culture and hold different beliefs. It is not necessary to go by typical stereotype and hire only those who come from a reputed college or belong to a particular community only because you as a leader belong to that community. It can backfire and lead to groupism in your company since like-mindedness would be a factor to have a group with the majority belonging to a particular community.
Also, there is no point in hiring people who have similar ideas and beliefs since there would be no active competition if that happens. Therefore, when you form a team or a department, make sure that there are people from different walks of society, all working together and collaborating with each other to boost their team’s performance. This way, there would be no particular cool group or a biased view held by a particular set of people or group. Also, this would greatly improve the performance of your employees since competition is always a score booster.
When making teams, consider the age group of employees.
Rather than going to their races, skin colour, or friendship, it is better to divide the teams in your office depending upon the age group of your employees. Put the younger and the same age group in one team and put the older and more experienced ones in another group. This will not seem prejudiced and is pretty logical too. There would be no cases of groupism either since groups being formed on the basis of age groups and experiences are least likely to happen. When new employees join in, divide them likewise in the teams.
This has two benefits to offer. Firstly, there obviously would not be any groups between your employees and the constant feeling of competitiveness will be maintained. Secondly, having people of the same age group on one team will have some ideas, which will prevent any small rifts from happening inside the team. While the older ones will have the advantage of experience, the younger team will have a much more enthusiastic and innovative approach to things. Thus, the next time when you divide teams, divides them on the basis of age groups rather than things like religion or races.
Do not allow regional languages to be spoken.
One of the persistent reasons behind the formation of groupism in office has been the division among the employees on the basis of their mother tongues or the regional languages they speak. For instance, when three or four members in an office happen to be of Spanish origin, they take the liberty to speak among themselves in Spanish, which is very unsocial to do among many people in the office. They eventually form a group, and this starts the flame of groupism.
To avoid anything like this from happening at your workplace, take whatever opportunity you get and make it clear to your employees that one universal language is to be spoken in his office, whether English or any particular language that all your employees speak. This keeps things from getting ugly, and even if there are a majority of people from a particular community, they won’t go ahead and talk in their mother tongue in the office. Such minor details sometimes sow the seeds of office politics, and it is better to stop it in the very beginning than to watch it dismantle your groupism in the workplace.
Choose team leaders or supervisors.
When a group of people work together, it is obvious that there will be indecisiveness between them over one matter or another since no two people think exactly alike. In order to stop such small issues from developing into big fights, it is better to have leaders assigned in teams so that whenever something like this happens, the matter is resolved in the team itself, and it does not become a big issue.
Having managers or supervisors in teams makes the team work responsibly with someone above them to guide them and assist them when needed. A supervisor can also work to keep the team united and encourage them to work better than the other team. It keeps the employees motivated, and they give their best in whatever tasks or responsibilities that they are assigned. Furthermore, a leader knows the shortcomings as well as the high point of the employees he has in his team. Thus, when it comes to working as a group, he is able to divide the work in such a way that everybody does what they are good at, ensuring efficient working of the team.
As a boss, never encourage backbiting
In every office, one of those employees try to stay in constant connection with the boss by bringing to him the gossip that goes on in the office. They are not as competitive as the others and becoming the favourite seems an easier option than working hard. It is very important to discourage such behaviour if any employee tries to practise it. As a senior, it is automatically your responsibility to keep the workers united, and not one of your pawns should be out of the place.
To start with, do not let the workers try to get on your list of favourites and practise treating each employee equally. It is inevitable to avoid praising the ones who do good work, but other than that, do not let the workers think that one of them is favourites while the others are not. This leads to the employees plotting against that one employee who appears to be on your list and groupism in your organisation buds. Stay as neutral as you can and encourage all employees from time to time. If possible, rather than praising an individual effort, praise an entire team for their combined efforts.
Give equal opportunities to everyone.
When there are four individuals working together in a team and one gets praised and promoted for the combined effort of the entire team, it becomes unacceptable for the rest of the three members since they did equal handwork for that particular project and deserves a fair share of opportunity too but maybe because they are not as sociable or easy to like as the one who got selected, they lose an opportunity, and they have the right to feel unappreciated. Such conduct from the senior bosses is like a spark that fuels the fire of office politics.
To avoid such scenarios from happening, give each member a fair opportunity to compete for the promotion by assigning them separate tasks and rather than handing over the promotion to one, who seemed the unanimous choice, go for the one whose performance impressed all the bosses equally. This will, at least, let the ones who do not get promoted know the reason behind why they were not chosen. Such small things can also fuel groupism; in fact, anything done unmindfully on the bosses front can be so the thing that can be a risk for the organisation. Therefore, each step you take shall be unbiased, not at all partial and acceptable by both your seniors and your employee.
Organised outings or dinners for the entire office
If there comes the point where you realise that the seeds of groupism have already started to bud in your company, you should take some instant steps to avoid it. If you have never practised taking your workers out for dinner or never organised a get together for the entire office, you should probably organise one now.
Such get-togethers give everyone a chance to meet outside the workplace where there is no competition to mind, and they can all take freely to each other. Talk to all your employees when they sit around the table with you and try to tell them how you loathe groupism in the workplace and how you expect them to work together as one united organisation. If there are some issues, try to make them talk it out to you and try to resolve that issue at your level. It will further ease the tension that might arise among the employees due to constant politics in the office.
Keep all official conversations on paper.
It is very important to have a disciplined and organised working in companies so as to keep any controversies from rising out of nothing. Usually, what happens in workplaces is that one not-so-ethical employee would make up something out of his own brain and pass it on to another person until it takes the form of a well-spread rumour. Such cases usually happen in times of appraisal or promotions, and the office had to bear the wrath of politics and groupism.
To avoid such scenarios from occurring at your workplace, it is better to keep everything regarding work and business on paper so that all your employees know how things happen at their workplace and do not fall prey to such rumours spread out of sheer insecurity from an employee not competitive enough to deal with situations. Even if the rumour does get some acknowledgement, it is better to bring the one responsible for it to face questioning and the source of the news. Having everything on paper will help you prove your ground and explain to your employees the truth behind any such nonsense.
Groupism and office politics can be said to be a very common culture, and it is something that becomes a biological need of the individuals working together. They tend to get together and talk about someone in the office they don’t really appreciate, and sometimes it is even the boss against whom the entire group of employees hold the grudge. It is not a very big deal as long as it does not start affecting the performance of your employees. However, it is not something that should be promoted either. Gossip and random chatty attitude are acceptable, but when it comes to the point where an employee feels threatened by it, you need to take action.
The best way to get your groupism in the workplace rid of such issues is to maintain a disciplined work environment and work as a team. You could also keep the entire group of workers working together as one big family by organising a random get together and parties on special days that are not holidays. An office free from politics and gossip is a workplace that ensures 100% efficient employees, and the chances of meeting goals are much more than in companies, which have to witness a battle among their own employees and employers.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the Groupism in Organisations, so just go through the link.