It’s easy to tell a prospective employee that your company functions as a tight-knit community. But how will you ensure they feel included and welcomed once they join your team?
Fostering community in the workplace is essential to creating a positive work environment and retaining employees. This can also improve performance and quality of work. A Forbes article discusses how community creates belonging, and “belonging can motivate members to elevate their performance and dedication to what they care about most.”
Additionally, Kenzie Academy explains that “if a hierarchical separation exists between the varying levels of a company, you’ll have employees at all levels who feel disconnected from the organization and their work. When this disconnect exists, people are less likely to care.”
An essential part of fostering community is finding a way to bring team members together over something other than their work. Finding opportunities for bonding outside of the workplace can create more genuine connections. For example, your company can take a Friday to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or other charity. This offers team members a chance to socialize, spend time together outside of the office, and give back to the community.
The community can also strengthen through leadership’s interactions with employees. Emphasizing gratitude and finding reasons for celebration can make the workplace a more positive and welcoming environment. When employees feel valued and important, they are more likely to put full effort into their work. This can be as simple as having everyone sign a card congratulating them on a life milestone such as buying a home, getting engaged or adopting an animal. Even planning a small lunch party with takeout and simple decorations for events like an engagement or baby shower is a nice gesture. Actions like these acknowledge that the company cares about employees’ personal accomplishments and that they are valued even beyond the work they get paid for.
All of us want to genuinely enjoy our workplaces and feel known and important amongst our peers. Fostering community in the office can ensure that employees are accepted and embraced, which can in turn boost motivation and productivity.