Community building can make a big difference in overall job satisfaction. Employees who feel like they belong to a community report a higher level of happiness at work. A sense of community is essential for the growth of company culture where every person feels connected and respected while working towards shared goals.
A study commissioned by Harvard Business Review uncovers some important truths about employee engagement and productivity. The survey given to employees at Facebook reveals the top three factors that employees value the most: career, community and cause. Excitingly, employees across groups of age, location and function give a similar range of rating in having a sense of community as one of the top three factors they value the most at work.
Career is the heart of intrinsic motivation. It’s about having a job that gives you freedom, power as well as promoting your personal growth.
Community drives a sense of connection and belonging. It’s a space where people share mutual interest, feeling respected, cared about and recognized by others.
Cause builds value and purpose upon community. It’s a feeling that makes you proud, make you believe that you create a meaningful impact in an organization.
Career, community and cause are the key factors that can be defined as the psychological contract— the unwritten expectations and obligations between employees and employers. When what employees value the most is fulfilled, they bring the best version of themselves to work, which means a high value for productivity. But when they fracture, even just temporary, employees will give less contribution and perform worse.
“Workplaces are communities, built around the relationships we have with our peers. When these relationships are strong, they can be a source of energy, learning, and support.”– HBR
The Perks of Community Building Within Company
Open up a conversation about community building, it’s important to acknowledge that the feeling of belonging is a basic emotional human need. Feeling that we belong is one of the most important aspects in seeing value in life. People crave a sense of community and knowing that we are part of a larger group.
Community building within a company gives employees a sense of belonging and connectedness at work. Employees value networking and activities beside the context of work that build trust and relationship as well as create a sense of togetherness in a team.
In 30 years of employee engagement research , Gallup has repeatedly found that friendship in the workplace is essential to productivity. Having a best friend completes the employee’s work life and fuels greater performance. However, this statement is only valid if the managers give basic engagement needs for employees where they get a clear understanding of what to aim for and the opportunity to do their best everyday.
“Friendships can take on a powerful dynamic in which casual, friendly banter turns into innovative discussions about how the team or organization can thrive.”– Gallup
Moreover, companies that are socially responsible with strong community ethics, drive employee engagement and retention higher. Forbes compiled statistics about the connection between employee engagement and wellness, one of it reveals that:
Community building within a company also helps employees in coping with mental health challenges. Workplace is intense, when compounded with personal life stressors can leave the employee feeling overwhelmed. This issue can affect negatively on a scale of job performance and productivity, employee engagement in their role, communication with co-workers and management as well as physical capability and daily functioning. Therefore, it’s helpful and important to adopt the attitude of “community over competition” in your company culture.
The role of community building is to bring more meaning to jobs and to the lives of employees. When employees feel that they are working in a community with committed coworkers and management, their work becomes more worthwhile.
How to Build Community as Part of the Employee Engagement Strategy?
A workplace community is beyond [corporate culture.] True community building exists when a company gives employees a great sense of psychological safety where employees have a voice in corporate values, knowing that asking employees for feedback can keep them engaged and performing at a high level.
Here are some key points to build a sense of community in the workplace:
- Team leaders can encourage employees to take the lead in establishing new communities based on shared interests. Intuit Inc builds ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), an employee led networks that are aligned to company culture and are often formed commonalities such as ethnicity, gender or shared interest, as a space for employees to belong and be seen.
- Invest in community-led activities, allocate time and budget. When employees work together for a cause based on shared value and interest, engagement grows stronger and community thrives.
- Use communication tools like Workplace from Facebook that connect, communicate and collaborate with everyone in the company even if they’re working remotely.
- Make it a priority to encourage all community networks to be involved in regular company events.
Incorporating community building into employee engagement strategy is beneficial for both company and employee’s well being. Employees across age groups, especially the young generations, our current and future workers value a sense of community at work. They are looking for a deeper partnership with company decision makers, seek stronger bonds with colleagues, and share a clear desire for better ways to collaborate.
Community building starts with psychological safety where employees have autonomy to bring their authentic self to work. Through the workplace community, employees have opportunities to interact with like-minded people, exchange information and share ideas which help them reach their personal goals. The role of active community building is even more crucial for remote employees as the social interactions only occurred through organized events or virtual team building experience.
A greater sense of belonging at work creates a company culture where friendship can naturally develop and thrive. It’s important for the employee to feel included from day one. Companies that manage to grow a strong company culture with a sense of community building have higher engagement and retention rates as the employees share a genuine connection with each other on a human level.