There is a company in my community that is THE place to work.
Why? They have created a sense of community among their workforce. It is the kind of community that helps people feel like they belong to a cool, fun group, so people want to be a part of it.
And once you are in, you’re in. Even former employees talk about having been part of the team and know lots of the new hires. In our community, people who work there feel like they belong to the cool group in high school.
Who wouldn’t like that?
Studies of millennials report that they really, really want this. And, having it makes it easier to attract and hire talent in your community.
So, how does a business owner/leader create that sense of community that makes people feel like one of the cool kids?
1. Have fun together, and encourage your people to have fun with each other. Spending time together outside of work creates shared experiences that allow people to increase their trust in each other.
2. Make work fun. When working together on a shared goal, have fun doing it. Have strategy meetings at coffee shops or breweries. Order pizzas and work over meals. Reward the team when the project wraps up successfully.
3. Create an identity. This company in our community has bumper stickers with their company logo and all the employee cars have them. These tell the crowd that you are one of the group—that you belong.
4. Have unique and exclusive events for your team—picnics, black tie events, Friday night bashes—whatever fits for your company. Go all out with gifts, recognition, awards, and appreciations.
5. Support team volunteer opportunities and match giving dollars from your employees.
6. Talk about your company as a family, then treat your family members like you care about them and want the best for them.
7. Give your events and teams names, or have a group of employees come up with those names.
8. Encourage good communication and respect among your employees. That’s how families should treat each other.
9. Adopt a slogan such as “Work Hard, Play Hard”, or whatever reflects your culture.
10. Conduct frequent mini-satisfaction surveys to keep your finger on the pulse of your culture.
These are just ideas—the desire to create this kind of environment must come from you, the leader. You set the tone and are who everyone looks up to.
Make it fun, make it exciting, make it fresh, but make it real. You and your company will be glad you did!