What Are the Main Features of Groups? (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies often use groups to build trust among employees and create a positive work environment. Employees can also use them to develop relationships, build trust, receive support and solve problems. Learning the features of groups may help you determine which type is a good fit for you. In this article, we explain the main features of groups and provide examples of common ones in the workplace.

Related: Working Well on a Team: Types of Teams and Tips for Finding Team Success

What are the main features of a group?

Workplaces may form groups for a variety of reasons, such as to achieve a goal or provide support related to a specific topic. For example, a group's purpose may be to complete a project. Here are some more key features of groups in the workplace:

Number of members

Typically, a group consists of two or more members. These may include a group of all managers, all employees or a mix of both, depending on the group's purpose. While the minimum number of group members is two, there can be any unlimited amount of members that join a group. To help the group remain easy for managers to oversee, most workplaces keep their groups to 15 to 20 members.

Related: 10 Tips for Building a Successful Team

Influence

An important feature involves group members having a positive influence on one another. Group members may impact each other while collaborating on a task or communicating frequently to achieve their goals. While team members may be a positive influence to others, they may also consider the influence that other members have on them.

Goals

Most groups have certain goals for team members to achieve. This may include a quota, project deliverable or task that they can complete. Workplaces may create groups with team members that have similar goals so that they can understand each other's workload, including challenges and accomplishments.

Norms

Norms are the standards of behaviors that the group accepts. They are the expectations and requirements that group leaders or members may encourage everyone to follow. Norms often include communication techniques, participation and standards of work. For example, a leader may establish the expectation that all group members check in each morning with information about their workload progress. Having norms ensures that groups maintain specific standards that group members can follow consistently.

Related: How To Define Your Team's Roles and Responsibilities

Structure

A group's structure defines the roles that each member has. It describes the part that a member plays in helping the group achieve its goals. The role may relate to a member's position, like if they are a sales professional, they may track the number of sales throughout the group. The roles can also relate to an employee's specific part in the group, like if they help the group maintain a positive attitude by sending encouraging messages. A leader may assign roles to each member, or the members may adopt their roles naturally as they become comfortable with the group.

Interaction

Interacting with team members and leaders is an important feature for groups since it allows for group members to build trust and develop healthy work relationships. There are numerous ways that interaction can take place among team members, including through instant messaging, video conferencing or in person. Leaders often create team-building activities where team members can interact with one another. Team members may also communicate with other members for help on their work or with a question about a task.

Examples of groups

Here are two examples of groups that many workplaces have:

Formal groups

Formal groups are teams that management forms to achieve a specific goal. Team members may work together to achieve a company-related goal, like increasing clientele or boosting brand awareness. They may also provide support to one another as they achieve individual goals, like hitting an individual sales goal or completing their work quota. Here are the different various types of formal groups:

Self-directed teams

Self-directed teams are groups that have the authority to make their own decisions. Management allows these groups to determine their own structure and norms. These groups are often more independent and may report to management on a regular basis to provide updates on their progress.

Quality circles

Quality circles involve multiple employees that meet to discuss work-related topics, including challenges, questions and accomplishments. Management may assign them a specific time to meet and decide if they meet weekly or monthly. Generally, workplaces use these groups to give employees an outlet to discuss issues and seek solutions from their colleagues.

Task forces

A task force is a temporary group where employees from various fields and departments work together to perform a task. Typically, a task force's goal is to improve company operations or resolve an operating issue. Employees from various fields can provide their expertise on how to complete a project successfully. For example, a technology professional may share how to create the software for a new project, while a marketing professional may work on promoting the finished project to consumers.

Committees

Management forms committees to discuss various issues within the workplace. The purpose of a committee is to identify issues that employees face and resolve them quickly. Employees may share their feelings with a committee about their company's employee policies, management techniques and workload.

Informal groups

Informal groups are teams that employees may form depending on their needs and interests. It's common for employees to develop healthy relationships with their colleagues, and they may allow them to create an informal group of members that have similar interests, goals or roles. Employees' social needs and proximity may also influence informal groups that form. For example, employees that have desks next to each other may form an informal group since their space is close together.

Employees may choose to advance their informal group to a formal group, depending on the group's purpose. It's common for informal groups to become clubs, committees and quality circles, as long as they receive approval from management. Then, management may add additional members once they consider the group to be formal.

How you can set goals for groups

Regardless of the type of group you're a part of, you can use these steps to set valuable goals:

1. Determine objectives

To begin, determine the objectives that you and your group members want to achieve. This may relate to your workload, like if you want to double your quota or complete a project successfully by the deadline. It may also relate to your group's structure, like if you want to add members to your group or enhance the relationships that your group members have with each other.

Consider conducting a meeting with your group to determine important objectives. Each team's goals may vary depending on the type of group they have. For example, a task force's goal may be to implement a new business process smoothly, while an informal group's goal may be to provide support to one another.

Related: 8 Team Management Skills Every Leader Should Know

2. Write goals

Be sure to write your team's goals so that you can identify them and ensure they're specific. Try to post the goals in a place where your group can see it. If your group is online, consider emailing each member a copy of the goals. You can also post the goals in a visible location in your workspace, like on a whiteboard or door.

3. Meet regularly to determine progress

As a group, it's important to meet regularly to determine each member's progress in reaching their goals. Consider having regular meetings or check-ins where each member can provide an update on their workload, accomplishments and issues that may affect their performance. During this meeting, team members can provide encouragement and offer possible resolutions.

4. Provide positive recognition

When a group member achieves a goal, be sure to recognize their accomplishment. Your group may consider sending them congratulatory messages or you may celebrate their accomplishment by providing a group lunch. Doing so may enhance your team's relationships and contribute to a friendly work environment.

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