The value of building social cohesion within teams after a long time apart

Did you know that 1 in 4 Australian residents were born overseas? 46% have at least one parent born overseas. We’re a proudly multicultural nation made up of over 270 ancestries. As businesses many of us enjoy the benefits of a rich fabric of diversity across our teams.

Why is social cohesion in a workplace important?

Diverse teams foster unique perspectives, arrays of skills, and broad insight into tasks. In fact, when social cohesion is grounded into the culture of an organisation studies demonstrate that they are three times more likely to be high performing, eight times more likely to have better overall performance, and are twice as likely to exceed financial targets.

With this being said, integrating social cohesion into the workplace is crucial to boosting organisational performance but it’s not always easy. With many businesses working from home, some teams spending extended periods apart, this has never felt more important.

Currently, even the act of getting to know our colleagues at a surface level can be hard, let alone facilitating strong team engagement and appreciation of our diversity.

How can business leaders promote social cohesion?

With A Taste of Harmony, an annual workplace cultural diversity initiative that promotes social cohesion through a shared love of food, coming up next month. Here are the three fundamental principles behind why diversity should be a priority in your workplace:

Bolstering bottom lines

No matter the industry, the purpose of every employee on the daily is to meet and exceed targets. However, this is often not a successful endeavor without collaboration across teams and can fall short if those teams are not seamlessly working together in harmony.

When you have social cohesion, when you have colleagues that have developed a great mutual respect in the face of differences, the financial benefits will come.

Enhanced risk taking

When individuals work alone on a task, they are less inclined to take risks as the responsibility to succeed falls solely on that person. And businesses without risk takers will never grow.

Staff members won’t stretch outside their core wheelhouse, contribute new concepts or suggest ideas if there isn’t the trust in risk tasking. In contrast, when in a harmonious team, individuals are more inclined to partake in risks that have increased opportunistic outcomes.


A diverse workforce provides opportunities for an abundance of creative ideas – with people offering a rich source of lived expertise from varied backgrounds. Social cohesion provides individuals with the confidence and capacity to share new ideas without fear of judgment.

As such, organisations with a strong sense of community and teamwork will demonstrate bigger and better projects – with creative contribution from an array of employees.

Unifying a workplace to challenge, celebrate and explore new ideas creates a culture of honest and supportive employees who have the confidence to contribute a broad range of skills and creative insight into projects. As a longtime supporter of A Taste of Harmony, I have seen the impact this event can have on fostering social cohesion across teams.

A Taste of Harmony provides plenty of event ideas and free resources to help celebrate both social cohesion and cultural diversity so I would encourage every workplace to participate. After all, when working in a harmonious team, brilliant things happen.


Huss Mustafa OAM is a proud Australian with Turkish-Cypriot heritage who immigrated with his family at the age of 10. Under very difficult circumstances, Huss was able to learn English in just over five years, pass his grades and at the age of 16 obtained his first job at the State Bank of Victoria. Until his recent retirement, Huss was the longest-serving senior executive with more than 48 years’ service at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).