Tips on Fostering a Strong Work Community

Category: How-tos

Every business owner dreams of a buzzing workplace. One where colleagues get on with one another, know each other’s strengths, and understand the importance of working in a team. Yet, there’ll be many of us (in fact most of us) who have yet to work on a team that creates such inspiration. In fact, some team environments can be downright stifling.

In order to avoid this, especially if you’re at the start-up stage. We’ve asked some industry experts for tips on how they foster a strong community at work. From gamifying the workplace to team quests, we’ve got some tips that you might not have thought of. Plus, we guarantee you’ll see a difference once you’ve implemented them.

Gamify Your Workplace

There are many buzzwords that float around in business circles, but gamification isn’t one… yet – and we think it should be! There’s endless innovation when it comes to the latest gaming technology, yet we don’t seem to pay enough attention to it in the world of business. Game developers know the allure of a new ‘level’. It keeps people gaming for longer, knowing that they’re going to hit a new target soon and potentially unlock some benefits along with it. Why not use this strategy in your team management? 

You can call it whatever you’d like, but give your employees the opportunity to level up. Everybody in the whole workplace starts at Level 1 and can accumulate points based on either personal, or company-wide goals. As they reach the next level, they can earn whatever perks your company can afford. It could be a gift card; it could even stretch to an extra day of holiday. Not only does this inspire a little bit of friendly competition, but it also externalizes the incentive to do well, giving tangible benefits to doing good work. 

If you choose to go down the route of rewarding employees for completing personal goals, this can be a great opportunity for fostering stronger friendships, too. In order to work out goals (and suitable rewards) you’ll need to have a meeting about personal and career development. This lets you find out first-hand what your employees want to gain from working with you.

Send Your Teams on a Quest

Sticking to the gamification theme a little! Team Quests can be a great way to really boost friendships between coworkers. There are only two rules to creating Team Quests: they must be achievable, and they must require an element of teamwork. Thinking up your first quests could be a little tricky, but once you’ve got the hang of it, they will pop into your head all the time.

For example, if you’re trying to liven up your customer service team, why not split them into two groups and ask them to improve customer feedback by 1 or 2% within a month? You could let them come up with their own strategies by working creatively together. The team that sees the greatest improvement wins lunch out on the company, or a gift card to buy something nice for the office. 

Not only does setting these quests enable your business to see great results, but it also lets your teams understand each other’s unique strengths. By working towards a common goal and the potential to win a reward, your employees are given the space to think creatively and given an incentive to do so.

Make Feedback Fun

It’s no new-fangled idea that teams that provide each other with feedback, also perform better. However, not everyone enjoys giving feedback, in fact, some people dread it. In order to make giving feedback fun, try a ‘speed dating’ approach. You don’t need to go to town on this, but sometimes it helps people to shed their nerves if you do! 

This is one activity where you’ll need the majority of your team in the office, as it works best face-to-face. Set up the room with different stations and divide your team into two groups. Get the people in one group to sit at a station, and get the people from the other group to spend five minutes giving feedback to the people sitting at those stations. Once everyone from the first group has given feedback at least three times, switch the groups around.

In order to get ideas flowing, it can be helpful to provide prompt cards. These could include prompts that focus on the person’s strengths (what is this person’s most valuable skill?). They could include project feedback prompts (is there a way that this project could have achieved a goal better?). They could instead focus on how the pair could work as a team more, or any number of other things. By the end of the session, your teams will know how the feedback process works and should feel more comfortable talking openly with one another about the ideas they have to improve each other’s work.

Santiago Henostroza

Marketing Manager at Startupxplore, with experience in journalism, media, advertising and marketing agencies. Passionate about metrics, ways of communicating and innovation.

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