Prioritizing Team Joy in a Changing Workforce
We are living through a monumental shift in American work culture.
You’re living and leading through these changes: hybrid or remote becoming the new normal, the Great Resignation impacting retention and engagement, an unprecedented urgency to understand and implement Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility practices, and a recognition that employee mental health, wellness, and happiness matters.
With all of these interwoven and complex conversations happening at once, it can feel challenging to navigate and prioritize next steps. During this groundswell of change, we want to share some experiences, learnings – and reassurances – we’ve gathered over the past 18 months.
You’re right, it is hard to prioritize team joy in these times.
It can feel impossible to build your team’s camaraderie and spirit. Sometimes even considering camaraderie and spirit can feel trivial in light of what’s happening in the world OR it can feel like too important of a task and you don’t know where to start.
Keep in mind that team culture isn’t one checkbox or event or gift. Team connection, a big part of crafting a positive team culture, is a collection of small, meaningful actions that add up to a sense of feeling supported and valued.
Our little team has to remind ourselves of this, too! When things get busy or stressful, the first thing that gets cut from our calendars is our bimonthly game hour – and this is what we do for a living! It takes intention and commitment to prioritize these moments of taking a break, laughter, and connection.
When we do lean into our values and game together, we all find ourselves saying “oh yeah, this is why we do this.”
You’re not alone!
For the past year and half, we have gotten to know hundreds of team leaders who are grappling with these issues in real life, with their teams, on the regular. Before each team bonding, we ask team leaders a question about morale. Some team leaders pause, some let out a slow breath, some get emotional, and most thank us for asking. Across the board, everyone couches their answer in “these times,” as in “our team is doing ok, given…” insert any of the numerous personal and professional challenges that folks are dealing with. Everyone we work with speaks very empathetically about what their team is dealing with; they want to support their people.
If you’re a team leader or a team member who has carried the weight of what your people are experiencing, hopefully it helps to know that we are all in the same boat. Sometimes sharing your experience – even with a Kingmakers Consultant – can take the load off a little.
You can start today!
If you are responsible for engagement, retention, or results from any group of people right now, you have a tough role. We see you! We find that most people want to do right by their people: you genuinely care, want people to feel included, and ultimately want to create an environment to help them succeed.
In our experience, team leaders are simply overwhelmed. After all, they face the same challenges as those they manage!
Leading with laughter and connection can be an excellent way to build or repair trust so that you can open up about deeper challenges and address them together.
Even when we can’t schedule a game hour, our team pauses every Tuesday to laugh and chat in Slack about the latest joke that Adilson shared. It’s never too late to share a personal story or crack a joke that breaks the ice.
The changes we have all experienced this past year, and that continue to bring uncertainty, have forced us to question what matters in work and life. Most of us have reset expectations of our workplace.
Let’s embrace this shift toward valuing the humanity in each other and build a better work culture than we had before.