When management thinks of nurturing and fostering a positive and welcoming corporate culture, their minds usually go towards planning large company getaways and team building activities. The most commonly thoughts of are after work events followed by during work hours activities. Each creates their own challenges, for after work activities accommodations for childcare or other commitments creates stress for some staff. For in office activities work loads need to be balanced and staffing levels monitored to provide coverage in essential areas.
While generally successful forcing these types of interactions between employees outside of the office or at specific in office events can lead to less authentic connections, a lower level of active, positive participation, or even create additional divisions between teams and staff members.
I’m of the mindset that corporate culture is fostered in the workplace every day through microinteractions. It’s all about creating smaller micro opportunities for individuals in different departments to get together and learn more about each other, and make connections with people outside of groups or individuals they usually work with in their role.
At Versature, the classic example is our foosball table. There’s a Google Hangout dedicated to foosball that new employees are added to, but there’s no forced participation because employees can always remove themselves from the conversation if foosball isn’t their thing. Practically the whole office participates, and employees from different departments chime in throughout the day to get a quick game going. You learn about the other people you’re playing with when waiting for the 4th person to get to the table, and start making connections by playing with the same people over and over again. For those who aren’t into foosball, we have a Super Nintendo setup with couches, a dartboard, and have had an arcade room.
Ice Rink and Volleyball
A staple on our Instagram feed, our outdoor ice rink and volleyball court are often seen as a benefit of working at Versature. These ridiculously popular lunchtime events go beyond connecting staff during game time. Maintaining the rink from beginning to end takes teamwork, from setting the boards up in the fall to shovelling and resurfacing the ice during the winter.
Every single day, just before lunch, the entire Versature team gets together and talks. We give updates about our work priorities, challenges, personal milestones and share results. Why do we do this every day? To build a real team. Not just people doing their job, but a group of people truly working together. Knowing whats going on with your colleagues means everyone is helping, supporting, encouraging and celebrating each other. #canada #tech #SaaS #ontario #teamwork #inspiration #work #team
Corporate culture can also come in the form of a more scheduled event. Every day at 11:52, we have a company-wide huddle where employees share what’s going on personally and in their department. This gives employees a chance to share things to the whole group that they might find awkward to share one-on-one. Huddle also enables individuals to feel more connected to the company as a whole because they understand and are consistently updated on what’s going on in different departments.
Even something simple can bring your employees together and increase connections. For us, having dogs in the office is a chance to learn more about the dog’s owner when you go over to their desk, and gives you a chance to relax and pet some dogs during your day or even take them for a walk. There’s often a quick Tim Hortons run (or homemade baked goods if you’re lucky) for some human treats, and employees come together over a piece of cake, cinnamon roll, or muffin.
The most important thing about fostering corporate culture with microinteractions is to have many ways for employees to connect with each other. From our foosball table to our weekly beer o’clock Fridays, there are limitless possibilities for employees to get together during the day. At the end of the day, I’ve found it IS the little things that matter and those little things that keep us all together. You don’t need to invest big dollars, just a genuine desire to connect and some time.
How will your organization implement microinteractions to foster corporate culture?