The challenges of remote work during extended periods of pandemic isolation made building team spirit and a sense of shared purpose even more difficult. But keeping employees feeling good about the work they do and who they do it for is central to productivity, growth, and success.
Employees who are pleased with their work and workplace are more likely to talk positively about their employers, recommend their company’s products, and encourage friends and acquaintances to apply for open positions. Employees who are enthusiastic about their workplaces are also more likely to provide a better quality of customer service. They’re less likely to be looking around for another job and more likely to pitch in with special projects and help out in crunch times.
When employees feel heard and valued, knowing you care about their lives as well as their work, they’ll be much more likely to offer innovative ideas and promote your company. Often, they’ll recommend your products and services. They may even gift their friends and family with company swag and wear your company’s custom logo beanie hats with pride.
Keeping employees engaged and happy when they’re working remotely presents new obstacles to building esprit de corps. Try these tips on how to promote company pride in your employees to help keep morale high and company pride strong.
Try the “Day in the Life” Approach
It’s not fun to feel like a cog in the wheel, especially when you don’t know what the other parts of the wheel are or what they do. Employees who don’t have the big picture about where they fit in the larger organization and how the whole thing moves are less likely to exhibit company pride.
Hold educational events that help employees understand how their work fits together with other teams and departments so that the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. You might even institute a rotation training approach as part of the onboarding process, so new employees understand how their role will fit with the rest of the organization.
Offer Leadership Opportunities
There are only so many promotions and managerial positions to go around, but that doesn’t mean your company lacks leadership opportunities. Offer employees the chance to lead project teams or to coordinate volunteer and community support activities. Reward success with company-wide public recognition.
Send Kudos up the Ladder
Strong performance deserves recognition beyond an employee’s immediate supervisor and team. Inform senior management about team accomplishments and make sure managers inform their teams that they have praised them to higher levels in the company.
Solicit Feedback and Take It Seriously
An annual survey about employee satisfaction is meaningless when nothing changes. Solicit employee feedback quarterly on how to make things better and make sure you get back to employees to tell them what you’ve done to respond to suggestions and concerns. If you can’t accept a suggested change in procedure or a costly improvement, be honest and transparent about it, explaining that although it’s a good suggestion, implementing it will have to wait until a more favorable time.
Make it safe for employees to speak up, suggest changes and innovations, and submit ideas for new processes and products. Respect your employees’ experience, which is much more direct and closer to the needs of customers and clients than members of the C-suite’s experience.
If you choose to adopt an employee suggestion, give credit where credit is due. Failing to acknowledge the originator of a good idea, or worse, taking credit yourself, will surely generate a wave of departures that could swell into a tide you can’t stop. Replacing experienced and skilled employees costs you far more than simply reining in your ego to recognize the achievements of others.
Communicate Your Mission
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to promote company pride in employees is to clearly explain your company’s mission. Why do you do what you do? “To make money” is a completely uninspiring answer, especially if employees don’t share in your profits, or you make 100, 200, or 300 percent more than the wage earners at your business.
Have a better answer for how your business makes life better for your customers, clients, and community. What does your company do that truly benefits the world? Employees want to feel that the company’s work has meaning beyond simply making money (although appropriate monetary rewards are certainly important to employee morale).
Quantify Employee Impact
When you announce results, quarterly and annually, show employees exactly how the work in their department and on their team contributed to the successes you’re communicating.
Give numbers that are meaningful. How many tasks did the team complete vs. last year, how many customers did they serve, and how many laudatory messages did you receive about the team’s customer service?
Single out high achievers and encourage a culture of support and congratulation. One team member’s success is an expression of everyone’s success because no one individual can do it all alone.
Successful business leaders maintain humility in the face of success. While leadership articulates a vision, mission, and goals, it’s the employees and their managers who execute plans and turn vision into reality. A company’s success is never about its founder, owner, or CEO. Rather, it’s about the responsive, passionate, hard-working, and innovative workforce that puts in countless hours of effort to run machines, write code, drive trucks, answer phones, and stock shelves.
Offer Appreciation Regularly
Encourage managers to set achievable goals for their teams—and reward individuals who exceed targets—on a weekly or monthly basis. Rewards for good performance and recognition for those who keep their teammates’ spirits up don’t have to be lavish—they can be fun, everyday little things that make people’s days a little bit easier or more entertaining. Examples include gift cards for coffee or lunch or a gift basket that employees can share with their teams.
Rigidity isn’t realistic. Employees who can’t work remotely still have to pick up their kids or look after elderly parents.
Those who do work from home may be contending with a frequently chaotic environment. They’re sharing the dining room table and the Wi-Fi with kids doing remote schoolwork, partners completing projects for their jobs, cats swatting at their keyboards, and dogs that need walks.
Be forgiving if the camera goes off for a few minutes during a meeting and flexible about work hours to accommodate family emergencies, school closures, and lack of childcare.
Employees take pride in a humane, fair, and successful workplace. Workers who are proud of their work and their company’s mission and impact in the community are walking testimonials for your business.