Creating a Sense of Community in the WorkplaceNatalia Persin
A group of people all place their hand in the center of a circle.
Considering that a large portion of an individual’s life is spent in the workplace, the culture must have a sense of belonging. In recent years, however, people have become increasingly more isolated at work, whether they work on-site or remotely.
Most managers and supervisors know that creating a sense of community within the workplace can have positive effects on the work that is being done. This is because when people feel they are a part of something, they tend to work harder.
Are you wondering how you can build a culture that feels more like a community in your workplace? Keep reading to find out how.
What is a Workplace Community?
A workplace community is a culture in which all employees feel valued and that they have a purpose within the company. This is often because trust is built in such a way that it creates the opportunity for further growth of the organization.
Studies have shown that companies that promote a sense of community in the workplace are more likely to have employees who work hard, are focused, and stay with the company longer. This is mostly because they feel like they belong which is a feeling that can sometimes be hard to come by.
While many companies claim to have a culture built around community, it is the employees that often tell the true story. This is typically done through their actions and attitude toward the organization as a whole.
Why is it Important to Create a Sense of Community in the Workplace?
Building a sense of community in the workplace is vital to keeping up the overall morale of employees as well as creating teams who work together well. When you have a community culture in your organization, employees tend to stay longer overall.
Check out these benefits of creating a sense of community in your workplace:
1. Creates growth opportunities
When the workplace is more community-oriented, there tend to be more growth opportunities. This is because a community-based organization knows what its employees need to thrive and ensures that they have access to those opportunities.
2. Increases employee morale
Many companies, especially in recent years, have created an environment where employees have lower morale. This is due to various constraints and regulations that have been put in place that often feel restrictive.
When managers focus on building a community-based culture, employees tend to have a greater sense of morale. Because employees are valued, they have more drive to do what is right for the company.
3. Improves communication between employees
A company that is focused on building a sense of community often encourages employees to work with each other more often. When employees are encouraged to work together closely, they will often develop their ability to communicate effectively.
4. Builds a support network
Managers who build a sense of community in the workplace create a plethora of opportunities for their employees. These opportunities often include being supportive of each other through good and bad times.
5. Creates more collaboration between departments
Whether your employees work in the office or remotely, creating a sense of community can be quite challenging. This is especially true for those who are working virtually since they lack day-to-day communication opportunities.
Managers and owners have to work harder to create opportunities to create a community-oriented workplace when the environment is more hybrid. However, when the time is taken to do so, it can end up paying off with collaboration that is off the charts.
6. Improves productivity
Oftentimes, companies will find that productivity has slowed down to a point where they are not making enough headway. This can prevent the company from moving forward and making enough to make a profit.
When managers create a sense of community in the workplace, employees are more likely to want to work harder. This means that the company as a whole will be more productive and thus move forward at a faster pace.
7. Better employee retention
When a company’s morale is at its lowest, this can often cause employees to want to seek other opportunities. As they leave, employers find themselves having to interview and hire new employees to take the place of those who leave.
This can in turn create an ever-revolving door for those who come in only to find the morale to be low and thus leave soon after. Employees need to feel a sense of belonging for them to want to stay with a company.
The bottom line is that creating a sense of community in the workplace has more benefits for the company which means that they can thrive. When a company has a culture of society, more and more people will want to come to work for your company.
What Does a Sense of Community in the Workplace Do for a Company?
In addition to the ways that building a sense of community helps employees feel like they belong in the workplace, there are many ways that it also benefits the company itself. This is because when employees are happy with their work, companies often benefit.
In most workplaces, the culture is directly related to how the employees relate to each other and their supervisors. When there is a sense of belonging, employees have the tendency to build relationships with their coworkers.
When these relationships are strengthened, it typically leads to higher levels of productivity which in turn benefits the company. In addition, when employees communicate well with each other, great ideas are created and implemented.
At the end of the day, those companies that encourage employees to feel like a community tend to be more productive overall.
Ways You Can Create a Sense of Community in the Workplace
While employers know that building a sense of community in the workplace is essential to moving the company forward, they often are confused about how to make it happen. This is because most managers are focused on building the business, and have a hard time with employee relations.
Here are some creative ways to create a sense of community in the workplace that will make a huge difference in how the company operates:
1. Create effective onboarding programs
One important factor when it comes to building community in the workplace is that it should start from the beginning. This means that you should have a strong onboarding program that is centered around community building.
Keep in mind that when you are bringing new talent into the organization, it is important for them to feel comfortable in the process. This often means including not only the team they will be working with, but also the rest of the employees to show that the company believes in the community.
2. Offer alternatives to the traditional staff meeting
One of the things that can sink employee morale faster than anything else is having endless staff meetings that are focused on the managers talking and employees listening. This creates an environment where employees feel they are just a cog in the wheel.
This is not to say that staff meetings are not important, but that they can be done in more creative ways. For example, some business owners have moved to team huddles and other short meetings that are also used as a way to help employees feel a better sense of community.
3. Build an environment where employees have a voice
Many companies have a top-down approach to running a business which typically means that only management has a voice. In these types of environments, employees often feel that they are not important to the business.
Companies that create a sense of community in the workplace are focused on ensuring that everyone has a voice. This means that there are programs in place that allow employees to speak up and relay their ideas to managers who are willing to listen.
4. Offer team-building opportunities
Another way to create a sense of community in the workplace is to develop opportunities for teams and individuals to build trust in each other. Some ways to do this include providing team-building opportunities that every employee can be involved in.
Whether your company has the funds to send employees out on retreats or just creates local opportunities, it is a vital part of building a sense of community. When employees have to rely on each other to get something done, they are often more productive in the long run.
5. Encourage volunteering as a team
Many managers and business owners become overwhelmed with trying to find ways to build a sense of community within the workplace. This often leads to frustration when they cannot find ways to do this effectively.
One of the easiest ways to create a sense of community is to develop volunteer opportunities that will bring people together. When employees are working together to help others, they often feel a closer connection that tends to stick with them for a long time to come.
6. Create mentor programs
Like a strong onboarding program, employers should develop a mentoring program that is focused on helping new and existing employees. Oftentimes, employees, whether they are just starting or have been with the company for some time, may struggle with their work.
Managers who create a mentoring program can prevent employees from burning out and eventually leaving their job altogether. These mentoring programs show employees that the company takes pride in ensuring that every employee has what they need to move forward.
7. Make professional development a priority
While creating mentoring programs is effective for those who struggle, professional development programs are also important. This is because employees who are well trained will often be more productive over time.
Providing professional development in a variety of ways allows employees to learn more about the company and their jobs. The result is often a community environment that is focused on making everyone better at what they do.
8. Encourage a healthy work-life balance
One of the things that many companies have learned from the events of the past several years is how important it is to take care of their employees. While this often means making sure they have what they need to do their job, creating a balance between work and their personal lives is also vital.
Even though a majority of time is spent in the workplace, that does not mean it has to be the most important part of someone’s life. Companies that have a strong sense of community in the workplace often have a healthy work-life balance that keeps everyone happy.
9. Build a culture of recognition and appreciation
Many people work for a company for many years that do not value what they do either daily or when they do something unique. This can often take a toll on their desire to work hard for the company overall.
A company that wants to create a sense of community in the workplace needs to value a culture that is focused on recognizing and appreciating its employees. When employees feel noticed for doing something, they feel better about being a part of the company.
10. Use the entire staff to build workplace values and missions
While many companies are already established and have been for quite some time, it is never too late to include employees in creating the culture. In many companies, when a new employee is onboarded, they teach them what the values and mission of the company are.
When you are trying to create a sense of community in the workplace, it is important, to begin with, the values that exist. Getting employees involved in the creation of such values and missions can create a better sense of belonging for all employees.
Ready to Build a Sense of Community in Your Workplace?
Now that you have all the information you need to create a sense of community in the workplace, you should make it a priority to do it. This is because if your company keeps going the same way they have been, you may find that more and more employees choose to leave. After all, they have lost interest in the company as a whole.