Guest post by Eleanor Whitney, Managing Editor of All Hands
As an office professional, you know first-hand that company culture plays a critical role in business operations. While sometimes regarded as a “warm and fuzzy extra,” workplace culture plays key factor in employee recruitment, engagement, productivity, and retention. It impacts how teams collaborate, and whether employees feel included, respected, and recognized—which enables them do their best work.
Implementing cultural initiatives successfully takes careful planning, organization, and facilitation, all skills which administrative professionals possess. The challenge for office professionals is that often they are tasked with taking on a culture building role, whether it’s recognizing employees’ birthdays, organizing a staff retreat, or planning the company holiday party, on top of their operational tasks.
At Managed by Q we work with thousands of offices across the United States to help them nurture their unique workplace culture while seamlessly meeting the operational demands of the modern workplace. Based on our experience, we put together a guide for office managers and administrators for building culture in the workplace on a daily basis.
Start With Your Mission and Values
To have a lasting impact, workplace culture and cultural initiatives must connect to and be guided by a company’s mission and values. Before you leap into planning cultural activities, work with your leadership team to define your mission and values.
Once you have these defined, brainstorm events and initiatives that enhance and highlight your company’s goals, philosophy, and values. This is especially important, because to have an impact, a company’s mission and values must be authentic to your company, disseminated widely across your entire team, and reinforced regularly.
Collect Ideas and Feedback From Your Team
You don’t have to take on every aspect of culture building, but can make strengthening your workplace culture a collective effort. In addition, when your colleagues feel that your company culture is responsive to their interests, they are more likely to engage in it and help out with planning and running events.
To get employees involved in the culture building process you can:
- Set up a system to collect and communicate about employee requests.
- Send out a quarterly culture and office operations survey to learn more about what employees want.
- Form a “culture committee” with one representative from each department to get team input and help with planning cultural activities.
Be Deliberate About Community Building Events
Community building events, whether casual happy hours, offsite strategy meetings, or an annual holiday celebration, should have a clear connection to your mission and values. When well organized, these activities can connect co-workers to each other across teams and departments, build deeper connections that encourage collaboration and creative thinking, and drive employee engagement and retention.
Many administrators and office professionals plan meetings and events as part of their job, so you can also apply these skills to culture building.
When planning any type of company activity:
- Define the purpose and goal of the activity.
- Set a budget.
- Make a timeline and logistics checklist.
- Take into account differing working hours and schedules, especially those with long commutes, families or care-taking responsibilities.
- Focus on activities that enable participants to engage with each other.
- Consider how to include remote employees in the activity.
Use Your Office Space as an Extension of your Culture
While amenities such as snacks and team meals are often thought of as perks, they are actually important hospitality gestures that make your team feel welcome and comfortable at work.
While you may not have unlimited budget for these amenities, think about what will be most helpful and appreciated by your team. If your office is a high-stress, busy environment, high quality coffee and healthy snacks can help keep your colleagues going on busy days. If your coworkers have a hard time making time after work for a happy hour, planning a regular team lunch or breakfast can serve as a chance for different team members to bond within the work day. If your colleagues want more opportunity for collaboration, installing comfortable couches and large, shared work tables throughout the office can help you give them space to do so.
Overall, it’s up to you, your colleagues, and your leadership to create the culture you want to work in. To keep the work of culture building manageable, Managed by Q created the free guide, Creating a Great Company Culture. Download your copy today for ideas and support for managing your administrative tasks while building a company culture your team loves.