Frequently Asked Questions
Community Cohesion is simply about making sure that people of all different faiths, ethnic and other identities develop trust and respect for each other and can work together. It means tackling some of the prejudices and stereotypes - often reinforced by inequalities – which contribute to separateness, rivalries and conflict.
Harmonious places to work provide a stronger social environment in which employees are much more likely to reach their potential and perform to the best of their ability. How people interact with each other affects all aspects of the workplace including recruitment, induction, retention and progression.
Having a cohesive workforce allows people to feel at ease with each other and themselves and therefore encourages working with difference and diversity becomes valued rather than tokenistic.
The workplace provides this opportunity because it is bound by organisational rules. People have to act professionally and with civility because they have to work together to achieve the company’s goals.
The workforce also provides an opportunity to bring people together to work on specific issues that affect them - and often brings together people who would not necessarily collaborate within the community.
Cohesion is for ALL businesses. Below are just a few reasons why cohesion is important:
- Operating on the front line in communities, and therefore feeling firsthand the implications of tensions between different groups of people.
- Recruiting locally – yet wanting to ensure that there is a pool of wide local talent.
- SMEs may reflect – and reinforce – the divisions within the local community if they are unable to recruit on a cross-cultural basis.
- Within the workforce – ensuring people get on. SMEs tend to have minimal HR or Personnel capacity and are less able to cope with, poor relationships and morale and and have disproportionate cost implications too, in terms of recruiting new staff.
- They are part of the supply chain of larger businesses and public bodies and sooner or later will be bound by the same ethos.
Take a look at the case studies section of the toolkit for evidence of cohesion working.
There are a number of issues affecting organisations at the moment, but some of the key ones relate to:
- Language and how to deal with different languages in the workplace.
- The benefit of having networks in the workplace.
- The effect of structural and physical divisions.
- The importance of integration and open discussion in the workplace.
- How to deal with contentious issues
Visit What people told us for information
There are some basic things you can do to get started. Take a look at How do I cohesion proof my organisation? for a guide to getting going
Very often the workplace often simply reflects wider social divisions based on longstanding rivalries of culture and class – and inequalities. Tackling these divisions is likely to improve both internal and external relationships and may also help to alleviate some of the divisions within the wider communities in which the workforce live and socialise. Indeed, multicultural workforces may well be able to play a much more positive role in bringing different groups together, promoting understanding and tolerance and helping to avoid community conflict and disorder.
You may incur some costs in the short term as you cohesion proof your organisation and adopt policies and practices. However over the longer term you will save as a more cohesive workforce allows for better retention of staff and therefore lower recruitment costs, less absenteeism, fewer health and safety incidents, higher productivity, greater loyalty and commitment and less litigation around employment issues.
View How do I cohesion proof my organisation for help