Team cohesion is an important aspect of success amongst groups. It is the embodiment of unity and togetherness that acts as the glue within a group to keep them happy and functioning towards shared goals. The Group Environment Questionnaire or GEQ is a commonly used measure for determining team cohesion or unity. It is broken down to four categories reflecting both social and task oriented cohesion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).
In an article for The New York Times, Martha C. White discusses the rise in corporate retreats. Specifically, how new companies are incorporating the more laid back corporate retreats tailored towards team building, rewarding hard work, and brainstorming new ideas (White, 2016). In many ways these retreats can be seen as furthering all four categories of cohesion. The first factor of team cohesion is group integration-social (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). In the article, White discusses how corporate retreats are focused on the group being able to get together socially. By allowing teams to interact socially and take part in fun activities as a group, companies are able to maximize feelings of group integration on a social level (White, 2016).
The retreats also improve group integration when it comes to tasks. This factor of the GEQ refers to the way groups perceive task cohesion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). Because these retreats offer the opportunity for work shopping and brain storming, groups are able to come together to discuss goals. The retreats therefore further the group perception of task cohesion as they are able to come together as a team to determine how best to move forward (White, 2016).
These concepts also work on an individual level to promote individual attraction to the group socially and in terms of task orientation. By encouraging coworkers to socialize together outside of the office, companies are able to improve how individuals within that company perceive the people they work with. This could potentially lead to individual employees feeling a stronger sense of an emotional bond with the people they work with on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, by being able to witness how other members of the team participate in brain-storming and other task related activities during a retreat, they are likely to find greater satisfaction with their team’s commitment to task completion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).
As companies continue to transition away from more traditional corporate environments to more relaxed settings, one could imagine that corporate retreats will become increasingly popular. Not only does it provide a way for companies to reward hard-working employees without making the financial commitment of a fixed pay raise, it allows employees to have a stronger sense of unity and cohesion. Retreats are a way for corporations to provide a healthy culture while improving team dynamics.
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
White, M. C. (2016, January 11). In retreats, start-ups find a way to recharge workers’ batteries. The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/business/hotels-company-retreats.html?_r=0