“Please tell me we aren’t going to do ‘trust falls’ today?” At the beginning of a recent strategic planning session, I was asked this seemingly omnipresent question. Whether it’s an acoustic guitar, trust falls or a rope course, there are many misconceptions on how we drive change or energy within our workplace. Trust is an outcome of a great place to work and culture helps to create that dynamic. I believe culture is something you can influence and it doesn’t happen in a 30-minute exercise; you build it over time, actions and authenticity.
Much is made about improving culture or increasing employee engagement. In fact, these are words we use on our websites to drive business. From my experience, the workplaces that have the most positive energy have intentionally created their culture and community and do it in specific and well-derived ways.
They allow employees to float and hope they come to work. Forward-thinking companies are making spaces for employees to move around and feel at home while achieving higher work related attitudes. The layout of office spaces is changing dramatically from cubicles to offices with open space. Collaborative and community space is now vital. Regardless of size, organizations that expect a lot from their employees and show ample amounts of recognition create an environment where employees don’t want to work from home every day—for fear of missing out on what’s happening. Space matters in this regard.
This past month a client of ours re-worked their office layout. I was skeptical at first and the results have been helpful. Instead of organization leaders designing each aspect of the change, they went to employees and asked for their input and to lead the change. The physical changes were fairly subtle and today, the office has flow, open space, team space and private space, a major improvement that is beginning to change behavior.
They invest in being results focused and a great place to work. A misconception that is frustrating, in addition to the trust fall, is that an organization has to choose between being results focused or a great place to work. Now, that’s old school and not the kind of old school that is cool. Igniting work place excitement and cracking the code isn’t all that difficult; set high and clear expectations, illustrate and call-out how individuals’ work impacts the organizations, get out of their way and celebrate success.
They have some fun every once-in-a-while. While one organization’s version of fun may be the trust fall, others may not. Make it a priority to set at least four fun team development activities a year. Play a round of mini-golf, catch a mid-day baseball game, see what works for your team and do more of it.
Every employee wants to make a difference and wants their work to matter. It takes hard work and dedicated leadership to intentionally create a culture and community that is exciting and ignites the energy of your employees. Invest in a few of these strategies and your organization will more often than not be referred to as a “Great Place to Work.”
So what’s the takeaway?
- Space matters
- Results and fun can go hand-in-hand
- What are you going to do to ignite energy and excitement in your workplace?
Blogging by J. Forrest