With a growing number of employees working from home, it has become even more of a challenge to create and maintain a sense of community within companies. However, communities are a powerful and effective method to bring together and motivate employees.
Communities allow us to be a part of something larger than ourselves, and find purpose in the work we do. From a business perspective, a community bonds employees together and promotes higher engagement and overall employee satisfaction, helping to grow your business as a whole.
Key elements to building a community
Communities are guided by shared values and passions. It’s necessary to distill the core passions of your community into everyday work situations. Here are some key pillars to building your community:
• Mutual passions
Start off with vision/mission leader statements. Above all, it’s important to identify what values are important to your company and place a mission/vision statement that inspires all members. As your company grows and evolves, mutual passions remain a constant that employees can refer to to find meaning in their work.
Let’s take a look at Green Monday’s mission statement: “To construct a multi-faceted global ecosystem of future food that combats climate change, food insecurity, public health crisis, planetary devastation, and animal suffering.” This shared passion is what becomes a primary motivator for employees, and also serves as a guideline to reflect on for each decision, however small, made within the company.
(Heads up! Green Monday just launched OmniSeafood, a product line of plant-based seafood, on World Oceans Day!)
• Strong leadership
Leaders/Managers should help to break down company values and make them clear, actionable behaviors. This can be done in many ways through 1-on-1 feedback, culture meetings, etc. At Wantedly, our members join 1-on-1 meetings at least once a week. Not only are 1-on-1 meetings a time for employees to discuss specifics of work, but they provide a space to align goals with the team, and build a stronger relationship between managers and employees. Our team members also publish internal articles to keep each other in the loop about company activities and objectives.
• Individual responsibilities
In a community, each individual should feel that they’re taking a part in the changes within the company. Empowering employees through assigning important responsibilities allows employees to grow confidence and strengthen their relationship with the company.
At PALO IT, diverse ways of thinking and entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship are highly valued. As a “community of innovators, designers and technologists”, PALO IT offers an environment that supports each individual’s creativity and challenges. By viewing each team member as an entrepreneur, employees can explore their individual responsibilities and feel that their actions are contributing/changing the company as a whole. And to keep this system in place, PALO IT has adopted a system of promotion and compensation to motivate and support employees’ innovative ideas.
Whilst this article described the importance of community within a company, it’s important to note that community extends far beyond just its employees. Users who purchase your products and services are also inspired by the “why” behind your company. Companies that sell sustainable products will most likely have buyers that value sustainability. By sharing this connection with individual buyers, companies can create an external community of people loyal to the company not just because of the products, but also because of the idea behind the company, or the company brand.
However, community building all starts from within the company. It is vital to begin with a strong foundation of a shared passion between company employees.