In the corporate world, community-building wasn’t always a “thing”; leaders thought everyday interactions in the office were enough to fuel their culture. You would have an annual Christmas party and maybe an occasional happy hour and that was the extent of any intentionality in building community. That was a norm for a long time, so employees didn’t realize things could and should be any different in the workplace. Times have changed and now employees expect more out of their workplace experiences (which they should!).
Organizations that take time to build and nurture a sense of community stand out from competitors who believe community will come on its own. Fulfilling employees’ needs goes way deeper than monetary compensation – employees want to feel valued and like they belong to part of something bigger than themselves.
Instead of leaving community-building to the birds, take hold off it yourself. Why should you be more intentional about building community within your teams?
- Your employees will feel a sense of belonging
- Your remote/hybrid team will become more cohesive and aligned
- Your core values will be brought to life
- Your team will achieve more in a healthier way
1. Your employees will feel a sense of belonging
Money makes everybody’s ears perk up, but if that’s what you lean on to attract and retain employees… Spoiler alert – it won’t be good enough. According to a workplace culture study, the #1 factor keeping professionals with their organization for 5+ years is “a sense of belonging and having people they can be themselves around at work”.
From day one, employees must feel valued and included within your team and organization. Right off the bat, introduce new employees to their team members and lay out the team norms. Make it comfortable for employees to ask questions, voice their opinions, and build connections within your team. When this is normalized, a sense of community will grow itself naturally. Employees want to know their individual skills and talents are appreciated, but they even more so want to know they are a key part of something bigger than themselves.
2. Your remote/hybrid team will become more cohesive and aligned
Teams are no longer working around and with each other in the office every day. Often, teams are no longer together in the office 40 hours/week. This makes it tough to create a sense of community. Work flexibility is great for many; but because of it you now need to be more purposeful in forming a well-oiled machine. With less opportunities for unplanned interactions, you’ll need to take the reins and make sure your team is spending intentional time with each other. You could increase meeting frequency, add in a quarterly day together, or plan more happy hours. Whatever you do, plan out more time for your team to be together. Frequent and consistent interactions will build and foster relationships within your team, creating a group that is cohesive and aligned in pursuit of goals.
3. Your core values will be brought to life
I won’t point fingers, but you might be somebody who rolls their eyes at the mention of core values… Whatever your thoughts might be, you can’t deny that core values should have a place in the workplace. If you don’t believe me, you can check out a study done by MIT that showed a strong correlation between organizational performance and the extent to which employees felt the company values were being practiced.
Unfortunately, bringing your core values to life does take some work on your part. Focus on “connecting your employees with company values in a fun way that brings them together and builds pride and loyalty (LinkedIn Article)”. If one of your core values is faith, you could start a monthly bible study within your team or organization. If one of your core values is trust, you could schedule quarterly trust-building exercises, bringing in external leaders to make it a little more exciting for your team. If one of your core values is growth, you could set aside a time to celebrate failures to show how they have helped your team learn. There are so many ways you could get creative in bringing your core values to life!
4. Your team will achieve more in a healthier way
You will go crazy if you try to understand exactly what you can do to get the most out of your team, but at the most basic level it takes strengthening bonds and relationships to form a tight-knit squad. To do this, you must create psychological safety so your team feels comfortable taking risks and being vulnerable with each other. Creating an environment of psychological safety will help you nurture a strong sense of community, which in turn will develop your team into a powerhouse. A connected and aligned team will be more effective and productive than you could have imagined.
Whether your team is struggling, plateauing, or thriving, there is always room for improvement. Increasing the sense of community within your team will bring more belonging, creativity, collaboration, productivity, and loyalty. As a leader you have the responsibility to make sure your team produces; you have larger organizational goals to meet. With this responsibility comes the power to bring your team along on a journey that’s enjoyable and motivating. Nurture a culture of community and watch your team show up to work and actually be excited to be there!
- Reach out today if you’re ready to chat about how we can help you lead a well-oiled machine!