There is plenty of data suggesting that a strong office culture is important, for multiple reasons. But once you’ve decided to improve your company culture, how do you actually do it? Here are three specific examples of approaches you may want to take at your office:
1) Set Up a Round Robin
One critical part of company culture is investment. A strong office culture is one in which employees are invested in an organization’s success and motivated to contribute to it. That motivation suffers when employees don’t think their peers are also doing what they can to help.
One way to underscore everyone’s responsibility – and willingness – to pitch in is to give everyone something to pitch in on. First, identify a recurring task that most people can do. Then, create a round robin schedule so that every team member takes a turn doing it. Every time the task is done, peers see each other’s dedication to the company.
- The person who’s pitching in feels more committed to the company. In psychology, this is sometimes called the “As If” principle.
- Team members can coordinate switching days, when necessary. This reinforces the shared responsibility, and also creates an opportunity for team members to work together.
- The task gets done.
What We Do at Cater2.me: In our New York office, we take turns cleaning up after lunch. Every team member, from the newest hire to the co-founder, is assigned his day of cleaning every month. A director is as responsible for hauling trash or scrubbing tables as a junior assistant.
2) Do Public Recognition
Another building block of a strong office culture is respect. Team members who respect each other’s contributions feel motivated to do their part well. And while some shining stars prefer to be quiet about their accomplishments, public recognition and celebration can help teammates be more aware of their peer’s hard work.
Recognizing the accomplishments of different team members not only makes them feel valued, but it also builds their reputation within an office. This cachet enables them to be more effective in all their collaborations, building a cycle of accomplishment. Preliminary research suggests that receiving recognition may have a positive effect similar to receiving cash.
- It gives everyone talking points for striking up a conversation with team members they don’t know well.
- The recognized individuals feel appreciated. This not only drives motivation, but also physical well-being!
- The nominators feel good about being able to make someone else feel good.
- It provides much-needed perspective on the progress made, so the focus isn’t just on the work that needs to be completed. This can be motivating for everyone.
What We Do at Cater2.me: Every week, we collect and send around props to the entire company. This gives everyone a chance to say thank you to another team member – and to see who else achieved something great or helped out a peer. Animated gifs help bring those shout-outs to life.
3) Include Personal Touches
There is no shortage of debate on where the line between work and personal belongs. With work spilling over into personal time, some want the personal to spill into the workplace. But it doesn’t have to be a choice between professionalism and “anything goes.” You can incorporate non-invasive personal touches without crossing lines.
People feel valued when they’re known for who they are, not as anonymous worker bees. Asking about favorite foods, pets, or even hobbies allows you to remain professional while showing interest in team members as people, not as contributors to specific projects.
- It gives team members a way to identify common interests, improving their overall working relationships.
- It reminds managers and peers of the importance of valuing each team member’s unique perspective and knowledge base.
- Including personal touches ensures that office birthday treats don’t grow monotonous.
What We Do at Cater2.me: For every birthday or anniversary, we get treats and balloons/cards/gifts that the recipient might like. That means knowing that one team member has two corgis she loves or that another team member thinks tiramisu is the best dessert in the world. It also it helps everyone else in the office learn those things about them too.
Hopefully, these Cater2.me examples have given you ideas to borrow or adapt for your office. An investment in building office culture pays out every day.