September 9, 2015 Varum Padmanabhan

Making the Workplace a Community

Let’s be honest, the workplace is its own community. Employees are bound to see the same people and interact with their own group of co-workers five to six times a week; so it’s safe to say that your office will operate as a small community. This is something unavoidable and could prove to be a strength or a weakness. How so? Well it’s quite simple, if everyone is working cohesively and have positive interactions with one another, it could promote a healthy environment for new ideas and innovation; it can even boost employee morale and improve productivity! On the reverse side, if there are groups of people who don’t agree with decisions or actions, it could harm productivity and lead to employees questioning leadership. This will effect timetables on projects as employees can be less motivated to get their work done and could stir up some “anarchy” within the workplace as employees tend to act uncooperatively.

This prompts the next question, how can I control the situation? Well the answer isn’t as simple in that you don’t want to “control” anything. Someone trying to do so can meet resistance or let the company start gaining a negative reputation for a working environment (after all, word travels fast on the internet!). community+blogThe best action is to guide your employees. You want them to buy in on your vision and promote an environment that is safe for employees to communicate with each other and share ideas. You want to guide and promote employees to achieve a positive culture and have a shared sense of purpose within the company. HR Advisor suggests that “at company meeting or staff retreats to discuss the values of your organization and the purpose they serve.” It’s important to let your employees know what you are trying to achieve and why you’re trying to achieve it. By understanding what the goals are, employees can see how they can contribute to the mission; it’s important to get them personally invested in the vision and goals.

The next task is take that comradery and shared purpose to build company policies. These policies operate more as guidelines, rather than rules, as to how the company culture should operate. This is very key, especially when expanding or hiring new employees. The reason is so that new employees don’t have to rely on coworkers to figure out the culture of the company; there will be policies to address how to conduct themselves. It will also weed out those potential candidates who don’t buy into what the company is about, which would only have weaken the culture of the company.

It is important to foster positive relationships and keep employee morale positive within the company. As a leader, you don’t want to come off as a tyrant, ruling with an iron fist. Instead, foster an environment that promotes new and fresh ideas to bring about innovation. Some small things like team building exercises/events and even an open door policy can show a great improvement within the workplace for the better. After all, a community of committed employees who share a purpose to achieve the vision of the company can achieve tremendous things, plus you know what they say: “Teamwork makes the Dream work!”


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