Belonging to a great community has great positive impact on our motivation, health and happiness. The feeling that you’re together in something, sharing the same struggles and enthusiasm, brings both comfort and extra energy in doing your work.
According to Matt Cronin, founding partner at House of Kaizen, the best businesses don’t push culture, they build communities. He describes the mistake that many companies make when setting rules before people, which creates isolation and a sense of being controlled. Communities, on the other hand, are created and governed by values instead of rules, creating a more free climate for the members where all personalities are welcome.
We are all different. Some people prefer to work flexible hours from home, others need a regular “9 to 5” schedule. In line with the development of today’s digitalisation, it’s becoming increasingly common to work remotely. But we are, after all, social beings, and it’s meeting with others that creates energy, ideas and stimulus.
If you’re in the search for some ideas about how to build a great sense of community at your workplace that can drive people to do more together, you can use some of the following activities to get you started.
Informal company get-togethers
Workplaces that manage to build communities simply create opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other better. It doesn’t take more than some informal meetings like company breakfasts or participating in a competition together. These meetings are great opportunities to get to know people and share successful employee stories.
Have a mentorship program to support transfer of knowledge between employees and create bonds across the company. Have regular meetings between departments or among people that indirectly influence each other’s work to spark ways of combining knowledge and make it flow across the organisation.
Organise events your employees are proud to be a part of. They’re are great opportunities to make people feel special and respected. Informal company dinners or other similar gatherings can easily create a space where employees enjoy being together with their colleagues, bringing them closer to each other.
Spaces that spark conversations
Have company cafés or just a simple coffee machine away from the employees’ desks; great ideas and conversations have happened while waiting in front of the coffee machine with a colleague. Many great companies are known for using this as a technique to make people talk to each other and get ideas moving.
Some external inspiration is always good. Guest lectures are an excellent activity that creates stimulus in the workplace, it’s part of your employees’ education and it can disrupt their usual ways of thinking. You can also easily get them to exchange thoughts and reflect on what they’ve learned, creating opportunities for them to connect with each other more.
Opportunities through responsibility
Having ownership over our work gives us a high degree of satisfaction and influences our well-being positively. Great communities allow for all its members to matter, to be given trust and freedom. Aim for big goals, but let the people who will help you achieve them, feel that they can drive their own success and leave a mark.
The ping pong table
It’s not about the furniture. It’s about the message it sends. It signals that great effort deserves reward, that it’s ok to take a break from time to time and just have a bit of fun. Great culture isn’t just perks, of course, but having some basic ones shows that you care about your people and their comfort. That can go a long way to building a sense of belonging and respect to the company you’re part of.
The main factor why communities often are a more powerful and effective way to success is because they are driven by the people within them. Being surrounded by like-minded people in a community, where all strive to achieve certain goals, creates big opportunities to build a successful culture and a successful company. A strong sense of community means people know and can rely on each other, that they feel supported, have meaningful relationships that could increase their morale during challenging times. It creates a feeling of security, of comfort, and more interaction that could lead to solving more problems easily. Take some time to invest in cultivating this team spirit and you’ll reap many business benefits, but also surround yourself with more enthusiasm and joy at work.