First Reference just had its annual picnic and a good time was had by all. There was lots of food, chats and amusing repartee, and a mean game of croquet!
This is not the only time we come together to enjoy each other’s company beyond work obligations. We have several yearly events like the Halloween party where most of us don innovative costumes and have an amazing spooky lunch. Then there’s the Beaujolais Nouveau where we sample the new wines and learn about cheeses from various countries. And the famous Christmas Party, need I say more.
These events, which in practical terms might be characterized as activities to build the culture of the organization or team-building activities, have helped create a community at our workplace and not just a workforce.
When employees are effectively and positively engaged with their organization, they form an emotional connection with the company. This affects their attitude toward their colleagues and their daily tasks. It also allows them to be more productive and improves customer satisfaction and service levels.
There are many different things companies can and must do to improve employees’ level of engagement in a company.
These approaches start from the time the employee is hired. That means hiring the right people and providing them with a realistic job preview, a strong induction and orientation and very good training and development.
A must-have is good communication activities with and among employees, such as an internal blog, conferences and relevant and constructive meetings, which keep employees informed of what’s happening, what’s changing and what’s coming in the company and how they can participate to make these initiatives successful. These are communications outside of employees’ immediate team. Communication activities create an environment of openness and transparency within the organization such that everyone feels able to talk openly.
Having clear and humane HR policies also helps. Some companies implement reward programs. Money in itself might not be a motivating factor, but some consider financial rewards worthwhile. This type of reward might encourage those motivated by financial gain an opportunity to step up their game. These programs may be included in your compensation and benefits programs. Other reward options include stock ownership or profit-sharing schemes.
A great organization needs great leaders. Leadership development activities will stimulate good performance, boost creativity, ease succession planning and provide people with the leadership skills you are looking for.
The point is very simple, activities to develop the culture of the organization give employees a feeling of belonging and are crucial in creating a thriving organization that people feel committed to and others want to join.
First Reference Inc. Human Resources Managing Editor