Building A Community is the Key to Workplace Happiness
Some days, we spend the majority of our waking hours with coworkers, which is why these relationships play such an important role in our overall sense of workplace happiness. When this interaction takes place in a positive environment, we're more likely to be satisfied in our jobs and attain long-term success.
According to the latest annual Labor Day survey by The Conference Board, 51 percent of US employees report feeling satisfied at work, with "people at work" ranking as the biggest factor contributing to job satisfaction. Some days, we spend the majority of our waking hours with coworkers, which is why these relationships play such an important role in our overall sense of workplace happiness. When this interaction takes place in a positive environment, we're more likely to be satisfied in our jobs and attain long-term success.
Fostering strong, supportive relationships with your coworkers takes time and some amount of effort, but it's also worth it for the enjoyment it brings during those long hours in the office. If you're looking to increase your happiness at work, here are some ways to build a community within your company.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Forming solid relationships with your coworkers helps you become more engaged in the office and can lead to longer-term success. If you'd like to build these types of connections, you can start by networking within your company. Networking events sponsored by larger companies offer the chance to meet others in the organization with similar interests. If no formal networking process is provided at your company, you can still develop informal connections by attending work-related activities such as community service days and other interdepartmental get-togethers to find others with similar interests, career experience, and backgrounds.
Seek Mentors to Steer You in the Right Direction
You don't necessarily need to network with people at your own level, though that may be the easiest place to start. Seeking a mentor to help guide your career can be an invaluable resource. If mentorship programs are offered at work, take advantage of the opportunity to connect with someone at the management level. This will provide you with a resource to call on for support or advice, such as when questions arise that you wish to run by someone outside of your chain of command or outside of your department.
Join Workplace Committees or Resource Groups
Consider joining workplace committees that will not only expand your network outside of your department but also provide an opportunity for developing leadership skills and knowledge about the company as a whole. You could also join an employee resource group which brings together employees with shared interests and common experiences. The Key Business Impact and Networking Groups (KBINGs) at KeyBank are employee resource groups which reinforce the diverse and inclusive culture at KeyBank. The objective of these groups is to create a supportive environment where all employees feel valued and can find ways to succeed. The relationships fostered with KBINGs help to identify top talent, make sure career development opportunities are given to those who would most greatly benefit, and provide everyone a chance to network with others throughout the company. Groups like KBINGs help you develop a company-wide pool of resources that you, in turn, can count on when you need career support or advice.
Find Ways to Stay Engaged With Your Coworkers
A recent Gallup poll reported that employee engagement is on the rise as companies are learning better ways to motivate and reward their workers. Improving relationships with coworkers was also a factor listed as contributing to increased engagement at work. If you feel less engaged with your job, expanding your work community can help. Ask for updates from coworkers in order to stay on top of what's going on in your department and company as a whole. Be an active listener in meetings and offer suggestions about process improvement. Surround yourself with a team you can rely on and work together to reach your goals. And if you still find yourself growing bored, it may be time to seek additional opportunities by reaching out to your company-wide network.
Create Opportunities to Build Community Outside of Work
Another way to build a sense of community with coworkers is to take time out of the day to get to know each other. If no one else is willing, offer to organize department-wide social events in a more relaxed environment, like a trip to a baseball game. Celebrate birthdays and promotions or welcome new employees with monthly meetings. Company-sponsored community service activities provide the opportunity to interact with your coworkers in a different setting and build upon your in-office relationships.
Remember, everyone develops their own network at their own pace. If your first attempts to connect with coworkers don't work as well as you'd like, don't be afraid to seek out other opportunities. Companies want to foster workplace happiness and will often offer more than one avenue for networking.