By Leslie Munas
Manager, Tax Services
Since people still line up out the door for its caffeinated creations, you’d be surprised what Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz considers the secret of its success.
“Anyone can open up a coffee store,” he said. “The only thing we have is one another. The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company.”
In other words, Starbucks’ secret ingredient is the chemistry between the employees that turns their store into a home away from home. Considering how much time we spend at work versus our homes, a company’s staff should ideally feel like a second family. Employees want the comforting sense that they belong, not only professionally but personally and ideologically as well. In fact, Millennials — which represent 35 percent of the U.S. workforce — “prioritize ‘people and culture fit’ above everything else.”
So, how do you create a tight-knit work culture and sense of community? One way right now is by taking advantage of this warm weather and going on a company outing!
If you’re in Indy, head on over to the driving range at Back 9 Golf & Entertainment. Getting to know people in a more casual setting like this after work helps improve collaboration in the workplace. As a matter of fact, “a Kenexa Research Institute study found that 50 percent of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be credited to social interaction outside the workplace.” It only makes sense that the more comfortable you are with someone personally, the easier it is to interact with them in the office.
Another way of opening up around people is by tapping into their creativity. Pottery by You allows your staff to engage in art in various ways — from painting stoneware and carving wood to creating signature scented candles and more!
Escape rooms are a particularly popular destination for companies across the country. In this fun team-building activity, you and your colleagues have to put your heads together to break out of fantasy settings ranging from haunted mansions and Wild West saloons to sinking submarines, volcanic islands and runaway trains, to name just a few. An escape room can be a refreshing retreat from the daily grind of the workplace.
All of these events encourage employees to reveal their interests and senses of fun, which are integral parts of any culture. Other crucial elements are history and community spirit. Engage with both by visiting local museums and learning about the people and places surrounding your business. Even if you work for a big, national chain, consumers appreciate local pride and a small-town touch.
You can also make a personal investment in your community and staff by hosting fundraisers or team volunteer / outreach events. The bottom line: Sometimes, the best thing you can do to strengthen your company culture is to get out of the workplace!