Building a Sense of Community at Work

sense of communityA sense of community is well regarded as an important component in any organization’s continued success. Whether you are a small business owner, administrator of a non-profit, or an entrepreneur running an online business, you no doubt are working with some sort of team. Regardless of whether you have employees, virtual assistants, or volunteers, building a team atmosphere is a crucial element to a happy work life. In a recent study, 50 percent of employees who have a best friend at their place of employment feel more strongly connected to the company. How do we build a sense of community at work?

Did you know that most workers spend half or more of their waking hours, during the week, at work? Their co-workers become an important part of their lives and often are the foundation of their social interaction. The workplace can become an important community in the employees’ lives: one in which they take pride in and are a contributing part. I read in the Harvard Business Review that when we use the term, Community, we mean caring about our work, our colleagues, and our place in the world; and from this caring we become inspired.
Here are three components for building a sense of community at work. As a leader in your organization, how are you sharing with your team members?

Shared Ownership

If you want to create a community, not just a workplace, you need to create a real sense of shared ownership among your team. This means specifically having an alignment between the employees’ goals and the company goals. Everyone needs to be invested in the company mission, understand the role they play in achieving it and willing to work together to make it happen. They must feel that the core values embraced by the leadership are the same values they believe in and are comfortable.

Shared Recognition

Building a sense of community requires interaction among all members regardless of their location on the corporate ladder. Individuals want to be recognized for their contributions, large or small. They want to know they are valued and that they matter. They want to be part of a successful entity, a winning team and a respected organization. Making this happen is what formal and informal recognition is all about. Shout outs in newsletters, emails and in meetings all help build a sense of community where everyone contributes.

Shared Ideas. Where’s the Water Cooler?

It used to be that the company water cooler was a great resource for the sharing of information. People would congregate around the water cooler to communicate their latest tales with their colleagues. This is where friendships developed. Now the water cooler has been substituted by social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Threads of communication are spun around the latest news. However, technology can provide positive community building if used correctly. Middle managers can use such platforms to bond with co-workers and listen to their suggestions.
In the hectic world of the company workplace, daily pressures don’t lend themselves to slowing down to listen to ideas, but that is exactly what can help transform a splintered culture into a thriving community. Reflecting on new ideas suggested by co-workers will promote mutual respect, recognition and ownership within the company. Creating a sense of community is one of the areas where we can help your company. Drop us a line at StrategicPeopleSolutions.com, and we’ll connect to see how we can help build your business to work brilliantly.

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Download Building a Sense of Community at Work as a pdf.

Dr. Ann Gatty is a partner at Drs. Gatty, LLC, a business consulting firm, helping businesses add value-assets to their businesses. For the past twenty years she and her husband, Gene, have been providing business leadership mentoring and solving HR employment issues. Ann has recently created The Business Sphere of Excellence® a strategic business planning model used to construct annual and long range business plans helping businesses run more efficiently and profitably. Dr. Gatty is an expert in understanding and improving the workplace culture which is foundational for implementing any successful strategic initiatives. In order to better explain the importance of employee engagement, Ann partners with Beretta, her Great Dane therapy dog to present her key findings. For more information about leadership mentoring or building a business to work brilliantly, visit www.strategicpeoplesolutions.com.
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