Cohesion is in

Engagement is out; Cohesion is in.  

Guest blog By Dr. Troy Hall

Leaders actively pursuing a culture of cohesion are focused on building a strategic framework that includes three important elements: belonging, value, and shared mutual commitment. When teams function in a cohesive manner, organizations have seen up to a 50% increase in productivity and creativity. Plus, cohesion is a key element in helping to retain talent and saving the company between 40-50% of an “exiting” employee’s annual salary.

Today, talent retention efforts can rapidly have the most impact on a company’s bottom line, and leadership is finally recognizing that retention efforts begin even before an employee is formally hired. Why?

Because effective and lasting engagement is an outcome of cohesion.

If leaders want engagement then they must consider building cohesive teams and a culture that supports the growth, development, and advancement of individual contributors and managers.

Cohesion is a causal phenomenon

Cohesion is a causal phenomenon. Meaning that when cohesion is present, performance follows and the level of performance attained is that of engagement. Organizational leaders want employees who are helpful, active, vested, and eager. They want employees who will go the extra mile, support a colleague, and submit ideas and suggestions that make the company a best place to work.

When leaders recognize that cohesion drives engagement, they can proactively incorporate pre-hiring activities for a head start to aligning the right people to a culture of cohesion.

Leaders within global organizations of all sizes and industries recognize the value of functional groups to accomplish a series of activities aimed at achieving a shared purpose or task. This cohesion between team members is essential for an organization to reach its performance apex.

What do the numbers mean to leaders?

The Numbers Don’t Lie

With a degree in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, my dissertation was in group dynamics with an emphasis on cohesion. The main hypothesis of the research proved that cohesion positively impacts performance in all stages of a group’s life cycle. This was an important finding as it offers evidence to the claim: “Engagement is the result of the presence of a cohesively functioning team.”

Simply put, Cohesion is in; engagement is out.

Although engagement is the sought-after result, it is best attained when the elements of cohesion are present: belonging, value, and shared mutual commitment. Instead of trying to manipulate engagement through the half-hearted attempts of trying to make employees happy or satisfied, leaders should spend more time ensuring that employees feel a sense of belonging to something important, are valued with meaningful and purposeful work, and can share in mutual commitments that first begin when the leader focuses on others than self.

According to Towers Perrin, “Research confirms that engagement lowers employees’ intention to leave. The Corporate Leadership Council found that the most engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization. The same study found that the 100 Best Places to Work (according to their research) had an average voluntary turnover rate of 13% as compared with the average of 28.5% of other businesses in the same industries.”

So, what does this mean in relation to cohesion and employee retention? 

Making Sense of the Numbers

When research reports on “engagement,” as with the Towers-Perrin study, my research suggests that the only true form of engagement (helpful, active, vested, and eager) is the result of cohesion. Simply put, if cohesion impacts performance, and performance brings forth engagement, then it can be said that cohesion impacts engagement. This is especially important because when moderate teams transform to becoming high performing teams, the bottom line is improved exponentially. Last year, global organizations spent in excess of $7 trillion dollars to rectify dysfunctional teams that lacked a cohesive bond.

Why does it matter whether employees act cohesively or leaders call them “engaged”? Although it may boil down to semantics, it is smarter for leadership to clearly articulate goal clarity using the three elements of cohesion:

1.     Sense of belonging,

2.     The feeling of being valued with meaningful and purposeful work, and

3.     Shared mutual commitments that begin when leaders focus on others first then self.

Additionally, it is less abstract than trying to quantify happiness or satisfaction, which are surface emotions at best.

If cohesive teams are productive and employers want teams engaged in productive work, then engagement is the outcome of cohesion. Knowing the elements of cohesion and working toward it makes engagement a less ambiguous term and actionable steps more defined.

To learn more about the leadership values that can positively impact your team and create a Cohesion Culture™️ that retains talent, connect with Dr. Troy at https://DrTroyHall.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drtroyhall/


Dr. Troy Hall is an award-winning talent retention consultant, public speaker and best-selling author of “Cohesion Culture: Principles to Retain Your Top Talent.” As the founder of Cohesion Culture™, he has dedicated his career to establishing a cycle of culture wellness in the corporate and professional sphere. Hall’s executive coaching is built on the strategic framework of Cohesion Culture™, making the concepts of belonging, value, and shared commitment easy for organizations to adapt and implement.

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Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event EMCEE & Speaker at over 100 events a year.  He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities.  He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021.  Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind  “Speaking Success”.  If  you want to make this the year that you master your personal brand, check out Dan’s Full Service Personal Branding Agency. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

2 thoughts on “Engagement is out; Cohesion is in.  ”

  1. Very true. A cohesive team delivers better. Mid management / Team leads understand this better and do everything in their power to build team spirit. Top management hasn’t caught on with the advantages of a cohesive team yet. Its high time they read your dissertation Dr. Hall

  2. Thanks for your refeshing analysis of the relationship between cohesion Dr. Hall! I look forward to digging into more of your work!

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