Times have definitely changed in workplaces all around the world. In today’s corporate world, we find a staff that is more centered on their individual needs than that of the organization. The notion of taking one for the team is a little different than in the corporate world of days past. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t willing to become more team-minded anymore. So how do we develop a team that accomplishes success together despite this type of individualistic mentality? Simply put, we must ignite a spark within the people that make the organization. This requires establishing an internal motivation and great satisfaction in their role within the larger structure. Here are some techniques to improve office culture:
Treat the Office as a Family
The best way to accomplish this is by taking the time to know everyone on a personal level and make sure that their individual needs are met. Giving them a workspace that makes them comfortable, giving them the freedom and flexibility to speak their mind and make suggestions goes a long way toward making people feel appreciated. Impersonal relationships where everyone in the office is nothing more than an acquaintance will do nothing to improve office culture and the outlook of individual people in the company. CEO Rich Smith of Henderson Engineers in Kansas City will have Nerf battles with his staff, on top of a variety of other in-house leisure activities that promote the workplace as a family. This brings out the best in everyone at work. When everyone wakes up refreshed and excited about a new day at the place they enjoy being with people they value, everyone succeeds as a team.
Ask for and Listen to Opinions
Soliciting opinions from each stakeholder in the organization helps them to feel both valued and important. Most people don’t appreciate the notion that they are just a small cog in a much larger machine. Thinking outside of the box to make people love coming to work goes a long way to giving people job satisfaction. Money always talks, but there is so much more to lighting that spark in employees than just in the paycheck. Companies like Netflix and Ikea listened to what their employees were saying. When they expressed that they needed paid parental leave, the company responded and are now considered innovative leaders when it comes to paid time off for parental leave. Soliciting opinions isn’t just about putting out a suggestion box. Personalized conversations where management listens with the intention of making significant changes based upon the results of the feedback is a process that requires forethought and commitment.
Establishing a series of smaller committees or task forces with leadership opportunities available to multiple people can help distribute leadership and make the organization more task oriented. While this is not a new concept it is often seriously lacking in organizational structures. Every employee, large and small, have a somewhat different set of skills. Distributed leadership opportunities allow for everyone to utilize their skills to help the company succeed. This leadership model has moved from the corporate world into the world of education as well. Many school faculties have begun to use distributed leadership structures and have seen significant improvements to student achievement. Companies like Google have figured this out and are famous for their out-of-the-box methods for making everyone a leader and it has paid off handsomely for them.
Simply put, the old school mentality of a boss and minions has most definitely faded away. There are leaders in every structure and certainly, the buck has to stop somewhere. But realizing that you are stronger together with shared passion and goals is the new key to improve office culture and success.