This is Part Six. in my series on Creating a Fiercely Loyal and Engaged Employee Culture. We’ve covered the ROI of creating this kind of culture, why your organization wants to create it, narrowing in on the Frame that will hold your community culture, Finding Those who are interested in your frame, and identifying the employees who are raising their hands and saying “Pick Me!” In my last post, I shared the non-negotiable elements that must be included in your organizational structure.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve done a lot of heavy lifting. Your reward for all of that effort is a community that hums along nicely. Everyone in it feels pretty good about belonging, recognition and safety. The connection and support points work and operations are predictable. You have a good, solid community. This is the place most internal communities stay. After all, keeping all of those parts moving and working takes, energy, effort and resources.
However, if you are in pursuit of that legendary internal culture where employees are fiercely loyal and highly engaged and all of the ROIs we’ve talked about, your work isn’t done.
Building Block #5 Advanced Evolution
There are three very specific characteristics that separate legendary cultures like Zappos from the pack. Your job now is infuse them into your employee community. They are:
Community members gain satisfaction and pleasure from participating in their community. They identify with the community so much that they are anxious to display their loyalty by wearing t-shirts, displaying online badges, serving as ambassadors and other outward identifiers.
Members not only trust the “head honchos” who run the community, they also trust each other. A spirit of mutual reliance, faith and transparency is pervasive.
Members are deeply connected to each other and to the community as a whole. It is a vital relationship in theirs lives and a part of how they identify themselves in the world.
As you can imagine, fostering these three characteristics isn’t a simple task. If it were, every organization would do it. Here are a few tips and strategies that will make the job easier:
- Commit the necessary time and resources to developing these qualities. This is a long-term invest, not a flash in the pan idea.
- Create intentional time and space to listen to your community. Consider holding “open mike” meetings and online chats. You may bring the topic but the members do most of the talking.
- Design offline and online experiences for the community that are specifically designed to enhance feelings of Pride, Trust and Passion. Be creative and offer multiple methods and levels of involvement in each opportunity.
- Make community members the stars of the show. Highlight their accomplishments (work related and otherwise) Allow them to contribute and take leadership roles in the online and offline gatherings.
- Encourage self-reliance and self-governance. Empowering and trusting individual members translates into members empowering and trusting the community.
After all this hard work, you’re really going to like my next post on how to accelerate this process. Stay tuned!