I love the passion of sports fans. The sports fanatic in the midst of an exuberant conversation will often use "we" and "our" when referring to a favorite team. "We play well on the road" or "our rookies are playing great." Everyone realizes the fan doesn't throw a pass, catch a ball or hit a home run. However, the sense of investment that fan has is real and powerful.
Interestingly, that same passionate fan often will possess a far more disconnected investment with their other team: the workplace. In the hallways of "Corporation X," for instance, you might hear, "the company is unrolling a new product" or "the company isn't what it used to be" – minus the "we" and "our."
I understand that work is something people do because they must, and sports are a recreational pastime; so it's not an apples to apples comparison. At work, though, one has a direct influence on results by way of individual effort. In sports, this is not always the case.
Imagine an organization full of team members as passionate about their workplace as they are for their favorite sports teams. The results would be extraordinary. Here are 14 ways to create a workplace full of the type of fanatics you want:
1. Recruit passionate people.
In the interview process, weed out those people who are there for a job only. Look for candidates who exude excitement about the prospect of working for your company, as well as for the role they will play.
2. Re-evaluate your onboarding process.
Training for the required technical skills is important, but don't neglect educating your new hires about your culture. There's no better time than the beginning of a career to teach a new team member about what makes your company and culture special.
3. Leave room for your culture to naturally evolve.
Company culture should be a blend of company values and the personalities that work there. When upper management orchestrates culture too carefully, it will lack a feel of genuineness. Allow teams and team members to express their own personalities.
4. Emphasize consistency and transparency.
Teams want to know both what’s happening and what to expect. Treating employees consistently will help create a calm, versus volatile, environment. And transparency helps to avoid guessing or speculation, which also sets a more positive mood.
5. Hold frequent team updates and meetings.
Every meeting should highlight an employee or team that is "living" your company's mission and culture. Team members will take culture only as seriously as the degree of attention it receives; the more the better.
6. Get the wrong people off the bus.
Team members who aren't emotionally invested in your company culture have a detrimental effect on those around them. It's important to surround each employee with co-workers who are just as invested.
7. It's OK to be weird… if it's authentic.
Some of the companies most renowned for their culture do things a competitor might consider silly. If wearing bold clothes, adopting a goofy mascot or singing at your meetings fits the personality of your team, go for it.
8. Promote from within whenever possible.
Team members will be more motivated if they believe their hard work can lead somewhere. Even if they aren't eyeing the corner office, knowing it's a possibility is a driver.
9. Thank your team regularly.
Plainly put, an appreciated team is a happy team.
10 Own your mistakes.
When the organization screws up, everyone on the team knows. Don't try to hide it. Own it, learn from it and move on.
11. Don't be a cheap imitation of another company's culture.
Strive for an authentic culture that fits your values. People are drawn to authenticity.
12. Encourage outside of work.
The employee that works 12-hour days, even if they love it, will encounter resentment at home. If your team is unhappy at home, it will eventually seep into the office.
13. Give personalized rewards and gifts.
Give a superstar on your team tickets to the concert they're dying to see, or get them a copy of a book you know they want to read.
14. Talk often about the company's vision.
People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Related: 5 Ways to Empower Your Employees