Saturday, September 23, 2023

Standing up for the ‘new’ workplace culture

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Martha Weidmann is the CEO and co-founder of NINE point ARTan award-winning art consultancy and curatorial firm.

Recent workforce challenges from the pandemic and subsequent economic uncertainty have made one thing clear: employees are the driving force behind business success.

Ultimately, companies that focus on the employee experience first and use it to improve their overall customer experience will lead the way. In fact, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce, companies with engaged employees report 21% more profitability. And those with highly engaged employees are found to outperform competitors by 147%.

As organizations work to bring staff back to the office or create a connected external culture, they need to consciously think about how to drive creativity, wellbeing and purpose for their employees. To be successful, this new era of office culture (or remote office culture) must emphasize employee engagement and strive for engaging experiences for those doing the work.

Here are a few ways to cultivate a sense of community among employees in a modern workplace:

Team bonding outside the office

“Employees who feel strongly connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be engaged than those who feel disconnected,” said ADP Research Institute. Whether in the office or remotely, team building initiatives can help create this connection, bringing employees closer together and on their corporate mission.

This was especially true during our recent retreat, where employees from across the country gathered for several days of corporate meetings, individual check-ins, and group bonding time, both in and out of the office. The retreat allowed us to celebrate our achievements and analyze our challenges – as a whole company and across departments – and laid a foundation for collective learning and growth, as well as building friendly relationships for those who work in different cities.

Aside from the annual retreat, we look for opportunities to build individual and company-wide connections outside the typical office environment. For example, with a core focus on sustainability, we took the time to visit a botanical garden together around Earth Day. And as champions of community engagement and service, we participated in our city’s annual art week by creating a community mural that honors our office’s local neighborhood and culture.

These activities create a meaningful connection between employees as they move closer to our mission and enhance their sense of purpose.

Connecting mission and values

Authenticity is essential for employee engagement. Ultimately, an employee must feel like an empowered partner in an organization, who understands its mission, vision and values.

To start, make sure every team member understands the company’s value system from day one and builds a solid foundation that can withstand obstacles, success, expansion and growth. Then, encourage employees to follow these values ​​in a way that aligns with the company and individual interests.

For example, our employees create task forces that are in line with our core principles, but which are often linked to employees’ own ideals. From our Sustainability Task Force to our Social Committee and Community Engagement initiatives, these projects empower employees to take ownership and agency toward a specific purpose, while implementing our values ​​and even reinforcing our brand DNA.

Another way to connect mission and values ​​is to display them visually in your workspace. Nearly 80% of business leaders believe that a permanent art collection is a great way to build the brand of a space. Visually displaying your organization’s history, progress, mission, and values ​​can instill a deep sense of purpose and pride in employees, connecting them to the company as a whole.

Focus on employee wellbeing

A successful, modern and goal-oriented work culture is all about putting people first. Employees must experience an emotional commitment to the work of the organization. According to TINYPulse, this sense of meaning can lead to greater employee retention, with: 27% of employees say: purpose makes them more likely to stay in their jobs.

One way to reinforce purpose and show your employees you care is through carefully curated spaces that help them recharge and revitalize. In fact, a focus on nature and wellbeing in the workplace has been shown to have a lasting impact on mental health, a critical retention strategy in the current climate according to Harvard Business Journal. Encouraging time outdoors and incorporating artwork or plants are easy ways to cultivate these effects.

In addition, such strategies encourage employees to take brain-stimulating breaks as they walk around the office or spend time outdoors, reducing the fatigue, headaches and stress caused by having too much screen time. Regardless of location, such activities provide tranquility for busy workers, while enhancing overall well-being at work.

Make your team a priority

A company’s mission, vision and culture mean nothing without its employees. As organizations want to create unique experiences and differentiate themselves in today’s marketplace, they must first focus on creating memorable moments of engagement for their workforce. Moments like these can lead to a sustainable workplace culture where wellbeing and purpose are paramount, increasing the likelihood of business success. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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