What do we gain from being connected and engaged with other people? Marianne Williamson wrote, “People crave comfort, people crave connection, people crave community.” So, what does it take to build and maintain a sense of community in the workplace? As a leader, what role do you play? Why is it essential for a good leader to understand the importance of community focus? How does a strong sense of community support employee engagement and retention?
In the workplace, the level of diversity in life experiences, work background, age, and overall thinking can potentially make building community difficult. Effective leaders build, maintain and sustain community within an organization. After all, we spend a lot of our waking hours at work or engaged in work related activities. Research indicates that the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. That’s a lot of time! But a leader who can drive team members to collaborate, communicate, and focus on common objectives is one who will go far. As goals are achieved, conversation, celebration, and other activities come into play, providing more opportunities to engage and retain team members and grow the community. Leaders who understand the broader purpose of their organization, how it relates to the general community, and how to instill that same sense of appreciation in the team are winners!
The impetus for having community focus can be driven by internal factors, external causes, or both. Internal factors can include such things as industry demands, regulatory requirements, corporate goals, employee-generated ideas, the desire to just do something good, and even C-suite “pet projects.” External motivators can include various community concerns such as education, hunger, housing, financial literacy, social justice issues…the list can go on.
No matter what the drivers are for embracing a community focus in the workplace, achieving this goal can positively impact employee engagement and employee retention. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately three and a half million people voluntarily leave their jobs every month, costing the company on average 30%-50% of that employee’s annual salary. The cost of not retaining good team members is a hinderance to the team’s productivity, organization’s culture, and it has a negative impact on the bottom line.
Whether you are working to create an organizational culture about community, maintain the existing momentum around community, or shift or broaden your organization’s community focus, here are five behaviors that will help you stretch your community leadership muscles:
Do you have what it takes to build community in your organization? If you would like to learn more about Community Focus and other leadership competencies, contact MSBCoach for our coaching opportunities, webinars, and leadership training.