How do you feel when you get to work?
That’s the kind of question that your employees are asked every day while they perform their tasks. Their response has an unexpected effect on their productivity. If employees are content with their workplace and are satisfied, they perform better. Employees decide how much time and effort they’ll put into their work after meeting their minimal expectations for performance; when employers create a positive environment where employees feel connected to their colleagues, and work workers will be able to be more motivated to create exceptional work. Thus developing a sense of belonging among employees is essential to increase productivity and engagement of employees.
Luckily, you won’t need to create a new system to build an atmosphere of community. Humans’ nature of social interaction virtually assures them that they will build communities on their own regardless of the support from management. Consider your workplace like the garden of your workplace; communities will develop regardless of what. However, when there is management involvement, the workplace community can be trimmed to make it as productive as is possible.
Take a look at these strategies for enhancing collaboration in the workplace.
1. Gather Input.
While you think about ways to foster a sense of an environment of trust between your employees, make sure to get their opinions. It is possible to host an event or hand out questionnaires, but be sure to get employees to think about what the word “community” is to them as well as what type of community they’d prefer to have at work. Do they prefer working in groups? Do they like to go to off-site events? What about a book club? The implementation of your employees’ social-building ideas can increase their participation and enthusiasm.
2. Work & Play Together.
After-hours social gatherings have for a long time been used to foster an atmosphere of community within the workplace. Events organized by companies like holiday parties, happy hours, and retreats foster communities by providing an environment off-site for employees to meet one another. There is no need to spend a lot for these events to succeed. How about arranging an organization-sponsored soccer or softball team? Perhaps you could distribute the sign-up sheet for events that are culturally local? Make sure that your events are attended by a large number of people by making your social events exciting and relevant.
3. Communicate Company Values.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides two definitions of community: “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location” and “a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society.” Employees may feel a connection to their specific department or division, but their bond will be stronger if they feel they’re working towards the same goals and values as the whole company. In their book, Credibility How Leaders Build Credibility and Lose Credibility, James Kouzes and Barry Posner explain that people see that they are part of a group when they believe their goals are cooperative and they have an objective. Communication of company values is motivating and helps employees assign more significance to their job.
Specific values should be incorporated in order to foster community-building. If employees are able to see values like respect, empathy, and teamwork exhibited across the organization, they’ll find themselves more closely to both the company and its people.
4. Encourage employees to engage in unsupervised off-site interactions.
Alongside workplace gatherings and social gatherings, encourage employees to interact with one another outside of work. NetApp was ranked first on Fortune’s list for 100 Great companies to be a part of, achieves this by offering employees five days of paid time to serve in the outside world outside of the office. A lot of NetApp employees participate in group activities, which strengthens the bonds between them. For instance, over sixty NetApp employees are involved for Second Harvest, a local food bank.
5. Arrange Mentorships.
New employees often feel alone and isolated from colleagues who have been in the same company for a long time. One method of welcoming new employees to the company is to offer each one a mentor. Mentors can make sure that the new employees do not feel overloaded, are given enough time to learn new procedures, and start to feel like they belong to the community. Mentorships can be an excellent method to assist new employees in making friends in the workplace.
After your new community-building strategy is set up, you can continue using ongoing feedback to track and improve your program. Solutions are available to provide feedback to employees in order to enable management to maintain engagement of employees, which is a crucial element to long-term success. Like the late Mr. Hitz says, “When you get energized people who enjoy what they’re doing, they’re proud of what they’re doing, they will do ten times more.”