There is a lot of talk these days about building “community” and “culture” in the workplace. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand that community and culture are not the same thing. They are two separate, yet equally important, virtues that drive success and employee satisfaction. By differentiating community from culture, you may find that developing one helps strengthen the other.
The difference between community and culture
Merriam-Webster defines community as “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. The population may be linked through proximity, common interest or a common goal”. By this definition, every workplace is a community. For most employers, however, building a sense of community carries a deeper meaning. It means fostering interoffice relationships that allow people to feel at ease, comfortable and productive. It is the creation of a general atmosphere of inclusiveness that allows employees to self-identify as a part of a larger community at work.
Culture, on the other hand, is the core of what the company is all about. It’s the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. Culture plays an important role in the development of community. Without a strong culture, a company may struggle to maintain its identity. Without a shared goal, employees may find it harder to work as a team and maintain healthy relationships with managers.
Building community and culture together
One of the best ways to begin building a community in your workplace is to first define your ideal company culture. Identify the core goals and values that can be shared by every employee. Then, take a hard look at the true culture you currently have. Don't just guess; look closely at what really goes on in your company. There is always a culture, but the culture may not always be positive. Maybe there is a culture of competition or exclusivity - these are things that can demoralize employees and detract from community. Take steps to reinforce the positive culture by communicating to managers and employees what the company should stand for, or better yet, bring employees together to communicate their own ideas.
Why community and culture matters
A strong company culture breeds a sense of contentment. It contributes to employee retention, productivity and quality of work. When a positive culture pervades an institution, its employees can feel at ease knowing what to expect and what is expected of them. It allows managers to communicate more effectively with their staff and share in their achievements, which in turn, allows for the growth of a beautiful workplace community.
- What practices are at your workplace to build a strong community and culture?
- Does your office current have a lunch culture centered around food?
Reinvent your breakroom with a micro market, a simple and convenient solution for food and beverages for your office. No cost to you and huge benefits to your employees.
Foster a lunch community in your workplace. Learn how a micro market can benefit you as an employer.
- Video: Transform your breakroom
- What is a Micro market?
- 3 ideas to make your breakroom a hub of innovation