When you have a group of people stuck in the same building everyday for the rest of their lives, social dynamic and hierarchies are fairly inevitable. Cliques are normal. Despite their teenage mean-girl connotation, cliques are simply a small social group where the people in the clique spend more time with other members than with people who aren’t members. But if conflict has begun to cause problems in the office, it’s time for you to step in and nip that in the bud.
Humanize Each Other.
Tribalism can be a big problem in some businesses. The classic example is the smooth, charismatic sales team talking down to the nerdy IT team. At its worst tribalism can dehumanize people. The inferior group becomes subhuman because they don’t meet the dominant group’s expectations of what it means to be a real person worthy of respect. Disrupt tribalism by changing around lunch breaks so that only one salesperson, one IT person, one administrator, and so on are at lunch together. Without their clique to rely on, employees will begin to socialize regardless of discipline. It’s much harder to dehumanize a person you talk to and who made cookies to give your kid for their birthday.
Respect One Another.
Another common issue can be employees with different skills and abilities being disrespectful to one another. People tend to value the skills they have and to under appreciate the skills of others. This is especially true for specialized employees. It can be hard for the staff at large to appreciate how much better a specialized expert is at a task when that staff member is mediocre at the task themselves. Like the amateur actor unable to accurately evaluate the difference between their performance and a masters, there can be a lot of grumbling. Tasks that everyone are modestly competent in, like writing, answering phones, and scheduling, are particularly vulnerable to underappreciation.
Overcome Conflict Together.
Conflicts can be artificially created by positioning opposing forces against one another, but they can also be artificially removed. Escape rooms, like the ones at Esxoss Manway, offer an extremely useful tool for forcing conflicting employees onto the same team. If they want to succeed and escape before the clock runs out, they’ll have to work together. Achieving their goal, winning against the clock, and (perhaps despite themselves) having fun together, can help build empathy and respect for teammates with different strengths and abilities.
There are few things as fun as escaping together from a locked room. It provides a great opportunity for employees to practice communication and teamwork outside of the office. Escape rooms offer a clear goal, add a little drive with the strict time limit, and force your employees to succeed together or fail together. And if they fail, at least you have the satisfaction of having locked them in a room together for an hour. Schedule your business’s team building activity today!