How to build a community at work.

May 26, 2016    Ken Bundy     , ,

However you look at it, we spend much of our lives at work. Whether it’s racking up 50 hours a week behind a desk or accepting that we will be working well into our 70s – work dominates our lives.

It’s because of this that workplace community is so very important in attracting, retaining and motivating staff. In the same way that being part of a community in our personal lives helps us to belong, feel supported and achieve a greater good, the same is also said in business.

There are lots of examples of big brand businesses that have worked hard to foster a community spirit within their organisations. These businesses understand the value and power of a fully motivated workforce. Whether they’ve reflected their sense of community through the design of spaces they occupy, the mentoring programmes they operate, the wellbeing initiatives they have in place, or the values and objectives they share – they are all committed to creating communities within their businesses in order to drive productivity, loyalty and efficiency.

Businesses on the cusp of change can find that the presence of a strong workplace community makes the difference between success and failure. Shared ownership is the key. So how do you go about building a community spirit at work that will pay dividends for everyone involved?

Recognition builds communities

Saying well done is a powerful motivator and an even better way to create a sense of belonging and appreciation. Recognition can take many forms – it might be peer to peer appreciation of a job well done, quarterly awards and commendations from management or sharing best practice and personal achievements through internal communications channels.

Feedback, recognition and influence are particularly powerful motivators for the millennial generation – get them onside and they will prove pivotal in helping to build a workplace community.

Shared vision and values and updates

Make sure there’s regular and open communication with your team. Talk about the business’s goals, challenges and opportunities and invite feedback and questions. Sharing and discussing helps to create shared ownership and belonging. Forward thinking businesses use their vision and values to inform office design and shape workplace culture.

Create community minded spaces

Provide employees with spaces to come together socially. This might be kitchen/ dining areas, informal seating scattered throughout the office or spaces for team training. Create areas that bring people together to chat, whether that’s about the weekend’s football fixtures or how to solve a particular workplace task. Brands such as Auto Trader have built community-minded spaces into their workspaces to great effect.

At the heart of workplace community is the idea of support and shared ownership: namely that everyone is striving for the same thing and understands why that’s important. A workplace should be the very embodiment of everything that business stands for – that is how work is done, the culture of its people and their need to collaborate, communicate and work together.

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