As business leaders, we talk a lot about company culture. And why wouldn’t we? It’s an important topic, encompassing such things as mission, values, goals, and expectations. But in our laser-like focus on culture, we may not be giving community the attention it deserves.
While company culture is the system of norms that guide our behaviors and interactions, workplace community is what brings employees together—it’s the sense of belonging, trust, and unity that members of a group experience.
The elements of a strong workplace community:
Building community impacts work at every level.
Employees who experience a sense of belonging report greater job satisfaction and less burnout. When you share goals with your coworkers, your job feels like a collective effort, not a solo mission.
Teams with strong communities make better decisions with less friction. They still experience conflict, but they tend to handle it in healthier ways, with better outcomes.
And companies that prioritize strong workplace communities see higher rates of retention, longer estimated tenures, better eNPS scores, and higher-quality work:
Community provides learning opportunities, mental health benefits, and a sense of support and safety, all of which motivates us to add value and makes us want to stick around.
How to foster a sense of belonging in remote and hybrid work models
The past few years have turned many of our former standard operating procedures upside down—particularly the norm of in-person interaction among employees. But the good news is that strong workplace communities can keep remote and hybrid workers connected.
Recognition is one of the best ways to impact employees’ sense of inclusion and belonging in a workplace community—specifically integrated recognition, the kind that’s personalized, versatile, meaningful, and built into the everyday experience.
Integrated recognition increases the odds of a sense of community for hybrid and remote workers by 341% and 660%, respectively.
Here are some ways to integrate recognition into your culture and make it more impactful for remote and hybrid workers:
- Encourage employees to recognize one another with personal notes of appreciation—a heartfelt message can transcend the greatest physical gap.
- Broadcast recognition via company intranet, newsletter, weekly Slack post, or social feed on your recognition platform. These digital walls of fame show employees their contributions are seen and appreciated far and wide.
- Celebrate life events and career milestones by sending remote employees personalized gifts or physical awards. These can break through the digital maelstrom and strengthen connection.
- Ensure everyone is able to easily give and receive recognition and feels empowered to do it, regardless of their location or role.
The secret to leading a strong community? Participating in it.
That’s right—”everyone” includes leaders. A strong workplace community arises from the collective effort of its members, and modern leadership is the catalyst.
Communicating purpose and championing one’s team increases the odds of having a strong workplace community by 269%.
Leaders who regularly recognize employees for their efforts are communicating company values and modeling behavior that builds strong workplace communities. You can even recognize people for recognizing each other.
Read more about how strong workplace communities drive positive business outcomes in our 2023 Global Culture Report.