How to foster a strong sense of community in the workplace
As more and more companies turn to remote and hybrid working models, HR is working hard to foster a sense of community in the workplace. There’s a renewed focus on building solidarity and camaraderie among employees, regardless of location, in a bid to boost engagement, loyalty, performance and retention, and to help combat stress.
According to Forbes, part of the challenge is to rethink how technology, physical spaces and culture can create a more inclusive, cohesive workplace. Here are the key takeouts of its fascinating article on the subject:
– Companies need to take the pulse of employees regularly and use the insights gained to shape practical initiatives. These include actions that enhance the employee work-from-home experience with upgrades to equipment, flexible schedules and/or virtual events.
– Perks and culture-building activities that were tied to the physical office space need to be adapted to include remote workers. Potential initiatives include virtual yoga sessions and meditation classes, and automatic prompts to take breaks.
– Socialising and volunteering are highly effective ways to boost solidarity and camaraderie among employees. Companies should offer, where possible, both virtual and in-presence options. Group sports events such as after-work rounders or a football league are good choices, as are sponsored lunches, evening drinks and virtual pub quizzes. Charity activities including regular volunteering days at the local school or soup kitchen, sponsored walks and virtual fundraising auctions are also powerful tools to this end.
– Great verbal communication and/or high-quality virtual communication tools are also key for boosting team spirit in the workplace. Quality communication prompts mutual understanding and empathy, and helps lessen the risk of misunderstanding and ill-feeling. Technology and training investments should be made accordingly.
– A feedback structure that enables managers to publicly appreciate and reward team successes, including in competition with other departments, also helps foster solidarity among teams. Applied at a company-wide level, this principle nurtures a feeling of being ‘in it together’, and working towards a common goal for the collective good of the whole business.
– To feel part of the work community, every employee also needs to feel cared for. This can be achieved by being mindful of their individual personal and family situations, and giving them personalised solutions to support a healthy work/life balance.
These are certainly challenging times. Virtual and hybrid working models upend HR’s traditional toolkit and require us to get creative to build a robust sense of community in the workplace. But HR has all the know-how, expertise and technology needed to make the transition a success. And the wider business benefits more than justify the effort. There are exciting times ahead!
Are there any aspects of team building and fostering a strong sense of community among employees that you think we’ve missed? Please get in touch to let us know, and to brainstorm how we, as the UK’s leading multilingual recruitment experts, can support you. With a vast pool of high-quality candidates on our books, we can deliver perfect matches for all your open roles quickly, easily and cost-effectively.