Maintaining a work environment where employees feel supported and inspired is no easy task—and the events from this past year and a half certainly haven’t helped.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, organizational silos were already a problem for many companies. A survey from 2017 reported that a whopping 40% of employees felt that they weren’t adequately supported by their team members, resulting in a breakdown in communication and collaboration.
Needless to say, the pandemic accelerated these trends—and even initiated some new ones. Workers are quitting their jobs in droves, and those who aren’t have made their negative feelings about returning to the office exceedingly clear.
It’s more important than ever for companies to prioritize their employees’ well-being—and public relations has some excellent solutions for engaging and inspiring teams.
While external PR efforts post-COVID are valuable, take this opportunity to look inward and make sure your team is functioning as a cohesive unit.
Why Team Health Is Important to Employers
Employees are integral to setting the tone and culture for a company—which then reflects outward to everyone else outside the organization.
Your team members are walking testimonials. How they feel impacts the work they do, the interactions they have with customers, and the way they talk about your brand within their own networks.
Being stuck in a rut of miscommunication and stress creates a negative atmosphere in the workplace that radiates outward. Happy employees, on the other hand, make a positive impact, both internally and externally.
There are also financial benefits to keeping employees happy. Hiring, onboarding, and knowledge transferring require time and money—so it literally pays to cultivate longevity and retention on your staff.
But developing a strong, healthy team culture doesn’t happen overnight—especially if your employees are already feeling siloed. You must be willing to invest in your team’s well-being, whether that involves handling the process internally or hiring outside help to re-engage them.
Using PR to Build a Positive and Productive Work Environment
The opposite of isolation is contact. These strategies, many of which involve basic PR tactics, will get your employees talking to each other and feeling more connected:
Learn more about each other—and themselves. People love learning more about themselves, and their self-awareness can help them better understand each other, too. Have your team members take personality tests and facilitate discussions around their results. These conversations can provide valuable insight into managing different working styles.
Want to try a different approach? Encourage cross-departmental interaction by holding mixers for different departments in your company. Bring together team members of different ages, skill levels, and demographics so they can get to know each other and share their unique experiences.
Get a sense of each other’s roles. It’s easy to be dismissive of other people’s roles when you don’t understand what their job truly entails. One of my favorite team-building tips is to trade places for the day. Get someone from Accounting to spend the day in Marketing—and vice versa. Working in a colleague’s role provides insight into the value they bring to the organization.
Recognize contributions. Wanting to be seen, heard, and valued is part of being human. People like to feel recognized for their hard work. Plan an appreciation night or establish an awards system for stellar performers who produce great work and demonstrate the company’s core values. Even something as simple as publicly thanking someone during a team meeting can leave a lasting impact.
Create meaning and purpose. Young people today are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want meaning, purpose, and engagement in their careers. They want to feel assured that what they’re doing matters—and frankly, they’re onto something. What value and purpose does your company offer them? Find ways to communicate those benefits to your employees.
Keep the spirit going. When you make promises, be sure to keep them. If you committed to throwing an annual company-wide party or implementing Summer Fridays, for example, follow through with what you said you would do.
Need some team engagement ideas? I have years of experience setting up events and activities for my clients, and I’m happy to share several of my favorites:
- Collective songwriting www.bandingpeopletogether.com
- Scavenger hunts
- Ropes course or relay races
- Custom awards
- Appreciation events
- Out-of-office activities (e.g. boat trips, picnics, apple picking, happy hours) https://eventgotoguy.com/
- Personality assessments with facilitated discussion https://www.capistranleadership.com/services/#cpcc
- Motivational speakers www.duncanwardle.com
- Learning workshops www.michaelallosso.com
If you’re unsure about what activities your employees would enjoy, conduct a brief survey. Just make sure you schedule these events on work time—absolutely no weekends!
Investing in your employees’ well-being is crucial to building a strong company. After all, behind every successful brand is a fully engaged and inspired team.