4 ways to build a community-focused company culture

Apr 29, 2024

In his book, “Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values,” LinkedIn’s Fred Kofman defines community as a “network of collaborative relationships” where people are “accepted, respected, supported, acknowledged, challenged, and fully engaged.”

At first glance, building all of this inside your fast-growing company might seem like a tall order. In some ways it is. However, there are several simple and straightforward steps that companies can take to build genuine communities that are adaptable and sustainable.

The key, though, is whether a company can shift toward having a more community-oriented company culture that supports rather than undermines strategy execution.

To adapt to strategic changes in a cohesive manner, here are the four specific areas in which firms can act to make the shift:

 Transparent Communication: The ubiquity of social media and the near-universal access to information challenges companies to be fully transparent in how they communicate with their employees, customers, and communities. Employees want to know what is really going on, be it good news or bad. Not until there are fully open and honest channels of communication will employees feel that they are ‘in this together’ with managers and colleagues.

 Workspaces that Bring People Together: How employees interact and collaborate in the office is more important than ever. There has been a revolution in workspace design and facilities management, and high-performance workplace cultures provide the right mix of open, private, and collaborative workspaces that bring people together in ways that bring out their best work. It’s imperative that firms attend to the workspace dimension of their culture development challenge.

 Generation-Friendly Policies: There are three generations working in most companies, including Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Y. While companies need to accommodate the needs of the rising generation of millennials (Gen Y), they must also respect the working needs and values of all generations. If your policies around career development, performance evaluation, flexible working schedules are focused toward only one generation, take another look.

 Learning and Mentoring: Strong communities provide opportunities for employees to grow and learn. High-performance workers want to be challenged and grow professionally, and this can be achieved through both individual development and through organization-wide mentoring. As Boomers near retirement, their institutional knowledge and wisdom is an increasingly valuable resource, and millennials will benefit greatly in companies that manage the knowledge transition.

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