The most successful workplaces are those built on strong relationships between employees and each other, as well as strong relationships between staff and management. This is also one of the most challenging goals to accomplish, given the diverse nature of many workforces. Camaraderie begins from the first day an employee starts a new job.
Have Fun on the Job
People who are happy tend to work harder and show a higher commitment to their jobs and employers. Use games in the workplace to motivate workers and stimulate social activity, both of which contribute to higher camaraderie in the workplace. Define a secret mission one day and award prizes to the workers who discover the mission and complete the tasks first. Hold a treasure hunt one day, with prizes hidden in places where workers must pass throughout the day, such as near the copier, in the break room or under a stack of folders in a common area. Get creative and assign a committee to come up with new challenges once a month.
Welcome Newcomers with Official Greetings
Assign a committee to welcome newcomers on their first days at the workplace. Get involved as a manager or company owner by allowing time for a tour of the work facility and introductions to new colleagues. Pay for lunch for an entire department or for a team when it starts a new project with a new employee. Create a sense of camaraderie on the very first day so new employees feel welcome and comfortable and can avoid the awkward first few weeks when they don’t know anybody.
In one of its studies, Gallup discovered that people who make close friends at work are 50 percent happier with their jobs than those that do not, which contributes to a much higher retention rate for the company. Allow friends to have input into their schedules so they can coordinate work shifts together. Also, let friends share breaks and lunch periods and even choose their desks and offices so they can be near each other.
Allow Employees to Participate in Decision-Making
Empower employees to take ownership of their work and feel better about what they do each day by allowing them to provide feedback when you are going to initiate changes or when you need to make a business decision that affects their work. Hold brainstorming sessions where workers can share ideas and get to know each other better outside of their normal duties. By fostering an inclusive culture, you create an atmosphere in which employees feel like they truly are a part of a team, working together toward common goals.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."