At Ideas Collide we have been focused on building not only a great team but an amazing culture – it starts with leadership but extends to each team member acting as a stakeholder to ensure a great work environment. One of the driving reasons Ideas Collide was built, was on the notion that if you don’t love your work, how can you love your life? Work consumes so much of our day-to-day that a great work environment can be the key to retaining happy, engaged team members and reaching your business goals.
Here are three quick ideas on how you can build an amazing culture whether through your individual team or across your entire enterprise.
FIRST– remember it can start with you. Having committed leadership and executives invested in building a great culture is essential, but it can start from the ground up. Disengaged workers can cost a company loss revenue, upset customers and tensions across the workplace. Fast Company estimates that lost productivity costs U.S. companies over $350 billion annually. Simple employee programs that boost morale and the energy of an organization can make a big impact on the bottom line. Start small, start with a simple idea, start with your department and model the behavior you want to see and begin to advocate it to those that can influence and grow your ideas with you.
SECOND – give back and be generous. Whether you lead a large team, business unit or are the CEO – if you are a leader, you should remember that recognition and rewards go a long way. At Ideas Collide we end each week with a brag session where everyone can recognize another for delivering amazing work or pitching in to help out. It boosts pride in the work and drives a collaborative workplace. Being generous also means being willing to buy lunch – if I see our team pulling late hours and working consecutive days without lunch, I think it makes a big difference by bringing in something to help ease the stress and make people feel like you know they are working hard. The little things matter and coming from your boss, leader, manager – even something as simple and quick as a hand written note calling someone out for great work, you will see the difference in attitude and determination to go the extra mile.
THIRD – make it fun (but authentic, don’t schedule “fun time” on the calendar – yes, I have worked at companies where this was the “forced” fun goal of the firm). Find creative ways to allow team members to bring their own personality to work. Lunch breaks at Ideas Collide often involve a few board games being pulled out, trivia questions posed or viewings of the latest viral Saturday Night Live video. If casual Friday or Hawaiian shirt day feels forced and makes your team cringe, mix it up with a new approach. We’ve had college football Fridays during the fall season where everyone is encouraged to come in wearing their college team’s jersey or shirt to show their team fan support. It gets people talking, sharing and an opportunity to pause from the constant deadlines and pressure. Other ways we’ve made our firm a great and fun place to work is having breakfast as a team, taking a lunch hour to go play bowling or closing the agency early for happy hour or to go catch the latest summer blockbuster. You may not have these options in your work place, but think creatively what you can do to make work more enjoyable or break the ice now on then from the standard routine. Frequently before meetings we run a list of 21 questions that we read from each team member about what makes them unique or what people may not know about them. We have the team guess who the individual is as we read off their favorite song when they were growing up, the breakfast cereal they love to eat or where they dream about traveling to if they had an unlimited travel budget.
Bring the fun in, make your team part of the decision of what they want to do and see how it can change the daily grind of a workday.