A recent Gallup report found that 87 percent of employees lack motivation and are unhappy at work. That’s a scary statistic when you consider that we spend more than a third of our lives at work. I am a firm believer that as more companies make an intentional effort to nurture and develop a positive workplace culture, this trend can be reversed.
However, at its core, you can’t create culture; instead it stems from your employees. You can take the first step in hiring the right people, but ultimately your employees are the ones who shape the culture, maintain it and improve it. And while you can’t dictate culture, it needs to be consistently nurtured by both executives and employees in order to thrive.
Great culture is caught, not taught. It’s something that no other company can replicate and something you should take tremendous pride in building everyday. There is no set formula for creating the perfect culture, but the following four tips will help put you on the right track.
Trust is arguably the most important factor in any relationship, be it personal or professional, which is why it’s important for both executives and employees to foster mutual trust. We’ve found that transparency is key to building trust within an organization.
Set a team mentality, which lets coworkers work together and motivate each other instead of gouging each other for promotions and other recognition. If coworkers can trust each other, they’re more likely to confide in one another when they’re struggling or need help. This allows coworkers to create a community and internal support system, which in turn lets them feel more confident taking on a daunting task.
Foster Developed Communities
Your employees are interesting people with lives outside the office. One of the most effective ways to enhance company culture is to allow them to bring their outside interests into the workplace. This allows employees with similar interests to create communities and foster relationships with coworkers they may not interact with every day.
Consider providing the time and resources for coworkers to connect over common interests. It can be as simple as allowing groups to meet out of the office on a regular basis or supporting engagement with the community. For example, support regular book clubs for avid readers or sponsor a corporate team for local races for employees interested in running. These communities help promote well-rounded employees, while also boosting morale and culture.
Encourage New Ideas
A great way to promote a positive culture is to recognize your employee’s ideas and talents. Each team or department has a unique focus, and every employee brings a unique set of strengths, experience and perspectives to the table. Departments should set aside time on regular basis, whether it be every week or every month, for idea sharing, allowing different departments to come together to solve problems within the organization.
At UrbanBound, we host Power Hours, where we gather for lunch and an employee shares an insightful presentation about what they’re working on and learning. It helps us understand the challenges different departments face and how they overcome. Most importantly, this allows us to promote fresh ideas and problem solving strategies across the office. Regularly scheduled idea sharing promotes inter-office learning and allows employees the opportunity to take pride in their work as they showcase it to others in the company.
Events are another great way to promote culture. While bi-annual holiday or company anniversary parties are great, pepper in frequent smaller events like happier hours and game or trivia nights that allow employees to let loose and have fun. For these events, aim to provide an environment for employees to socialize and meet coworkers outside their team.
Great company culture is ultimately derived from employees who have a vested interest in the company, one another and the work they’re doing. Companies can help employees adopt these behaviors by providing a variety of opportunities for coworkers to connect with one another on both personal and professional interests. Nourishing a great culture takes work, but when you’re able to achieve it, your office transforms from just a place to work to a thriving community.