What do they want? To feel they belong to something larger than themselves.
When we hear from disgruntled employees, they often complain that they are “treated like a number” or they work in a “cold, impersonal” environment. In the absence of camaraderie, incentive-driven motivational strategies fall flat.
To inject more warmth into the workplace, strengthen the bonds among your team. Create opportunities for employees to get to know each other as fully dimensional people, not just co-workers with narrow roles and accountabilities.
Just as popular author and business executive Harvey Mackay instructed salespeople at his envelope company to complete a 66-question form on each prospect, distribute a similar questionnaire to your employees. The “Mackay 66” covers the person’s favorite restaurant, educational background and other personal preferences.
Develop a questionnaire for employees with intriguing questions such as, “What was your first day at work like?” and “What ‘secret’ skill do you possess?” Collect the results and reveal a few choice answers from your employees to enliven staff meetings.
Another way to bring people together is to turn meals into social events. If you have a lounge or cafeteria, host weekly parties where you supply the food and pick a humorous theme. Encourage workers to mix and mingle rather than gravitate to their clique.
Finally, keep everyone laughing with good-natured fun. Designate days when employees can dress in a certain color or wear wild hats. Invite everyone to submit their favorite joke and (once you screen them for appropriateness) tell them to the group at opportune moments.