By: Michele Egan
Does your job give you a sense of identity and purpose? According to a 2018 Gallup poll only 34% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. These engaged employees feel connected to and supported by their organization. On the other hand, if you are unhappy at work, it could be that you are dissatisfied with the impact your company is making. Or, maybe the type of work your company does no longer aligns with your values, the contributions you wish to make, or your personal interests.
Company culture and mission can make a big difference in overall job satisfaction. Feeling like you belong to a community at work makes employees happier. A sense of community is fostered in a positive culture where every person feels respected while working towards shared goals. Millennials value work life alignment and authenticity and want to bring their whole selves to work. Employees who find their work culture to be accepting and inclusive with a strong support system will be more successful and contribute more to their company.
Aligning your job with your outside interests increases satisfaction. If you enjoy the great outdoors you would fit in well with the culture of a company such as Patagonia or REI where employees are encouraged to be physically active and the CSR focus is on protecting the environment. While not all jobs align as neatly with one’s interests, they can still be rewarding. If you believe in doing good, working for a company with an employee volunteer program will make you happier at work. It will also add to the sense of community by bringing employees together to support causes they are passionate about.
A workplace community is more than corporate culture. Companies create a true community by giving employees a voice in corporate values, knowing that asking employees for input can help keep them engaged and performing at a high level. A workplace community evolves as new people join the organization and add their experiences and perspective.
Organizations work best when committed people work together. New companies often feel like a family but can lose this feeling as they grow. Nonprofits have a sense of community due to their shared mission and strong sense of purpose, bring more meaning to jobs and even to the lives of employees. Companies that successfully create a workplace community improve employee morale and engagement.
In a workplace community there is a focus on communication and sharing of information. One downside of technology is that while we are more digitally connected we are losing the chance to be connected in person, which affects community building. Company-wide CSR initiatives help define company purpose and build community. When employees feel they are working in a community alongside committed coworkers and management, their work becomes more worthwhile.
Community means caring about our work, the people we work with and the communities around us. A workplace community gives employees a sense of belonging and a feeling that they are part of something larger than themselves. Companies with a true sense of community have strong CSR programs, increased employee engagement and higher job satisfaction.