Creating an employee community is really important to facilitating a good working environment, and I’ve talked about how this works before. However, building an office culture isn’t always about making employees communicate with each other in order to work better. It is also about having an open and honest environment in which employees can feel safe and trusted. Now, giving new employees certain information isn’t always the best policy; however, Square’s approach to office culture could teach businesses a thing or two about how to create a fruitful work environment that flows efficiently from executives to administrative staff.
Sharing Information to Create Loyalty and Commitment
Kyle Zink, director of experience at Square, told Mashable about Square’s information sharing policy: “Whether it’s your first day, or third year at the company, you’re given the same amount of information and opportunity to contribute.” This gives new employees a sense of ownership, trust, and responsibility, and while this wouldn’t work in every employment situation, it is certainly a great way to make employees feel valued, and that value breeds loyalty and commitment.
Creating loyalty in an employee is one of the most important jobs an employer will have to do, as loyalty and commitment are the key features of an excellent worker. While it is important not to overshare when it comes to protected information, giving a new employee access to information that makes them truly feel part of a team is important.
Creating a Forum for Employees to Speak
Establishing a forum where employees can talk honestly about their experiences at the company is crucial for building the type of office and office culture in which employees feel safe and welcomed. Square does this by holding a weekly Town Square where it talks to employees about company updates and addresses the top three employee concerns from the week. This encourages employees to bring up their main concerns and feel involved in their workplace.
Office culture has a really important impact on how employees function on a daily basis, and involving employees in changing office procedures and policies can make the process more democratic. Since employees want to feel welcome and included, and they are also the ones that office policies effect on a daily basis, consulting employees about changes around the office can help to improve office culture.
Making Supervisors Responsible for Individual Teams
A large problem with office culture is that some employees feel disconnected from the corporate employees, and that some general policies are not created with the regular employee mind. Rather than consulting all employees for what changes they want to be made, making supervisors responsible for their own teams and giving them the ability to set some individual team rules helps all employees to feel that their individual concerns are taken care of. When policies simply filter down from the top, employees can feel that executives are disconnected from the working realities of other employees.
In general, an office environment that encourages honesty, respect, tolerance, and acceptance will help people to feel comfortable and committed. Consulting employees about changes to policy and procedure, as well as asking for their feedback on how office culture could be bettered will help you to show that you are committed to them and in turn increase their commitment to the company, thus increasing their quality of work and job satisfaction.
Price, Emily. “How Square’s Transparent Office Culture Pays Dividends.” Mashable. http://mashable.com/2013/01/04/square-office-culture/ (5 May, 2013).