In today's work environment with employee engagement among American workers consistently averaging less than 33 percent according to Gallup research over the past 15 years, many of our leaders are challenged with trying to motivate their teams and energize their company cultures. As a result, leaders are looking for more creative ways to engage their teams.
My company, CBST Adventures, has worked with hundreds of companies in the areas of team-building and leadership development, oftentimes focusing on this idea of engagement. Below is a summary of some of the keys to success we have discovered.
Team-Build with a Purpose
Sometimes as leaders we might try to dictate what team-building might look like, or we attempt to force team bonding. If your purpose is to bring a team together and make them more of a cohesive unit, team-building can be as simple as getting people together for some time out of the office, taking a hike, competing together in an event or working together on a common goal that isn’t work related such as community service. I remember many years ago, a team from our company competed in a 24-hour race event in Moab. Our race team was complete with jerseys, socks and flags with the company logo. For this race, our team trained, competed and then celebrated after. The result was some incredible memories and bonds that are still with us today.
Allow Employees to Build Bonds
The book “Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without” discusses the power of having friends at work with the following: “If you have a best friend at work you are significantly more likely to engage customers, get more done in less time, have more fun on the job, have a safe workplace with fewer accidents, innovate and share ideas, feel informed and know that your opinion counts, and have the opportunity to focus on your strengths each day.” And if you report that your manager is a close friend, you are 2.5 times more likely to be satisfied with your job. Friends are not only good for your health, they’re good for your business. The sad fact is, however, that only 18 percent of people report that their organizations offer opportunities to develop friendships at work.
We find that when employees can build bonds and have fun together at work, they are much more likely to stay with a company longer and work to build a thriving culture for the company.
Have Fun along the Way
Ed McVaney, one of the founders of J.D. Edwards, made it part of the company’s mission statement to “have fun along the way.” While many companies may believe this, it’s always powerful to actually say it and, moreover, reinforce it often. We spend a disproportionate part of our lives at work and if we aren’t having fun along the way, then we are truly missing out on the juice of what life with a team has to offer.
The best company cultures that I’ve been part of or seen firsthand have employed at least a few, if not all, of these keys to transforming their teams. Which key will you employ this year to energize your culture and better engage your team?