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How to Create an Engaging Culture Beyond the Ping-Pong Tables

Spoiler Alert: It has nothing to do with vacation time or compensation

© Getty Images | Two creative millenial small business owners working on social media

By Michelle Van Slyke, Inc.

In-house massages, meditation spaces, ball-pit meeting rooms, and indoor dog parks are just a few of the headline-grabbing ways companies are transforming their office spaces in hopes of making a place where employees want to work.

However, I have some good news. There are simpler (and less disruptive) ways to create a workplace where employees strive to succeed for themselves and the business. After all, culture doesn't always improve with kombucha on tap or a Ping-Pong table in the kitchen. Culture is something that is earned with the behavior and example of leadership throughout the company.

Here are few tips for creating a workplace where employees have the freedom to be collaborative and creative--and ultimately feel energized to come to work each day.


Create Opportunities

When employees feel limited at work, they won't speak up when they have breakthrough ideas. From the moment they are hired, employees need to know that their thoughts and ideas are valued. Those who feel isolated in their daily responsibilities are often the same employees who frequently pursue other opportunities. To prevent this kind of turnover and create viable career paths for your teams, look for ways to utilize their passions. Weekly brainstorms, open-door policies, and a shared understanding that no idea is a bad idea can create a culture where employees have endless opportunity.


Get Personal

Employees want to be known, plain and simple. In fact, it's so important that love and belonging is the third pillar of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Employees will be motivated to come to work every day to a workplace where they are known. You can tell the culture of an office just by the way people treat each other, know each other, and understand each other as more than just colleagues. A workplace where everyone knows each other's kids' names, hobbies, and quirks is a workplace that is centered around collaboration. Taking the time to get to know your employees will transform your culture from the inside out.


Empower

The best kind of leader sees the gifts in the people they lead and creates opportunities for them to utilize their skills. Leaders don't have to be the only ones pioneering the way toward a better culture. Employees who are passionate about their work can use their gifts to help too--and they will want to. Consider empowering those who are good at celebrating others to host monthly celebrations for the accomplishments of the office. Give employees with musical talent center stage to host lunchtime concerts. Ask those who are artistically gifted to design handmade birthday cards for members of your team. By tapping into the passions of your employees, you can create a workplace where everyone feels fully valued and empowered to contribute. Where your skills may lack--empower someone to take on the opportunity for their personal growth.


Make Work Fun

My number one goal this year is to make work fun. Who wants to work in an office that's boring? Life's best memories often come from fun moments--so why can't work be the same? Creating a fun environment won't happen overnight--you have to make a conscious effort to build a lively atmosphere. So, here's your homework until next time--laugh more, encourage more, and work harder to know what makes your employees smile.

See more at Inc.

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