Just because a person is employed in a large company doesn’t mean they’re OK with feeling like a number. In fact, engagement and personal interaction are valued more in today’s workplace than ever before.
However, building personal relationships among employees in larger companies can be challenging. Below, ten members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss some small business approaches to relationships that larger companies can borrow from to create better workplaces.
1. Practice a morning huddle with employees.
Every company, big or small, should look to practice a morning huddle with their employees. The huddles are a great way to share information as well as build a team spirit and culture. Small companies can typically have just one huddle for the entire group, whereas larger companies would want to break into departments and teams. – Michael Bacile, The Daily Java and King’s Coffee Company
2. Encourage a collaborative work environment.
Smaller companies tend to encourage a collaborative work environment. Working cross-functionally often increases employee engagement through relationship-building opportunities and access to leadership. Large companies will benefit from intentional and ongoing gatherings to retain engaged and thriving employees. – Tracy Williams, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin
3. Support better work-life integration programs.
Smaller companies create cultures that support better life-work integration programs. You are not just an employee ID but an actual human being. Empathy is one approach I have seen smaller companies use effectively and one that larger companies can borrow from to create a better workplace. Empathizing with employees and creating an inclusive culture can go a long way in helping employee retention. – Sanjay Jupudi, Qentelli
4. Implement change respecting the Rule of 150.
Consider implementing changes that respect the Rule of 150, which suggests that organizations become difficult to manage beyond 150 employees. It’s when bureaucracy grows and innovation is stifled. This is a phenomenon that also occurs in nature with other creatures! Create smaller teams or divisions, delegate more, listen actively and empower new players. – Chip Laingen, Defense Alliance
5. Put leaders in approachable environments.
As CEO, I do not sit in an office. I sit in the main conference room so I am approachable to all our employees. They can come in and sit with me without any of the chatter about them being in the “boss’ office.” This has helped all our employees feel like they have a relationship with me as CEO and that is a harder thing to achieve in larger companies. – Courtney Spaeth, growth[period]
6. Cross-train and empower your employees.
Management layers, in particular new layers, can create an environment of micromanagement that isn’t necessary in smaller companies. Small companies require people who wear many hats and are trusted and empowered to do a variety of jobs, which creates a more rewarding experience. Cross-train and empower your employees to improve their satisfaction regardless of company size. – Ryan Morris, First State Bank
7. Celebrate achievements of noteworthy people.
Celebrate the achievements of noteworthy individuals in group settings. This will show that individual contributions are important and noticed throughout the organization, no matter the size. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
8. Set a culture of caring.
Employees feel like a number when they feel like no one cares about them as a person. It is the leadership’s role to set the culture of caring and the managers’ role to care about their team members. Smaller companies get to know their employees because they are all so entwined with the work. Larger companies need to help team members feel that same connection, even if only in their small team. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting
9. Provide rich, positive personal feedback.
Feeling valued by an employer is all about recognition beyond simple awards and birthday wishes. By providing rich, personal feedback that is mostly positive and constructive, people know that their efforts matter and have been intensely reviewed and contemplated. It illustrates to employees that they are part of a larger team and that their contributions warranted review by their leaders. – Jeffrey Bartel, Hamptons Group, LLC
10. Take a few minutes daily to get to know someone.
Working for both, I can tell you that having the CEO or executive of the company know your name and your spouse or kid’s names goes a long way. Simply taking a few minutes a day to get to know someone new in your organization will make a larger impact on those individuals than you realize. – Timothy Hess, Azteca-Omega Group