College vs Corporate: Stimulating collegial pride… | Gagen MacDonald

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College vs Corporate: Stimulating collegial pride in the workplace

Dec 01, 2014

Recently there was a terrible tragedy at my alma mater, a shooting at Florida State University. Although I haven’t attended the university for years, I felt as though my own home had been invaded, my world turned upside down. Through this horrific event, there was an outpouring of support, and throughout the world, Seminoles stood united, a sense of community, love and pride was felt by all (just hashtag, “FSUnite”). What is it about our college years that inspires unwavering devotion and pride? Can we replicate that same spirit within our companies? While there are a few factors we can’t refabricate, like our youth or college football, there are some aspects of the culture we can begin to foster in our places of work.

  1. Create an environment that stimulates and rewards intellectual curiosity

College is the epitome of an environment fostering curiosity. It’s where students find their passions, interests, and build skills based on those passions. By encouraging this type of environment where people can think big and ask questions, the company will surely benefit. Curious minds are active. They help think creatively and discover new possibilities.

Ideas to stimulate intellectual curiosity in your company:

  • Invest in their professional development. Make growing them as individuals a part of their work week. I personally recommend checking out the Gagen MacDonald Communication Institute.
  • Host a learning lecture series by employee experts for other employees to learn and understand other parts of the business they may not be as familiar with.
  1. Diversify the experience – Drive people towards their passion

In college, every student chooses where their time is spent…from classes to extracurricular activities. While some aspects of a job we can’t control, there are many we can to help ensure employees are triggering their passion points.

Tips to inspire passionate employees:

  • Welcome fresh ideas. Whether it’s a web based widget for employees to submit ideas, an email address, or roundtable discussions, encourage employees to share their ideas. Have the authors of the chosen ideas help lead the charge on implementation!
  • As communicators, we wear many hats. Instead of assigning these tasks based on role, such as putting on an event, creating an editorial calendar, or writing a blog, hold a meeting with your team and allow them to volunteer. That way, the work gets done by those who are invested in the topic.
  1. Foster a “be where you need to be” culture

One of the most unique and wonderful aspects of our culture at Gagen MacDonald is the “be where you need to be” mentality…whether that’s by a client’s side or working from home because the plumber is coming over to fix a drain. College is a first for many where time is really their own. The goal is to receive a degree, but the means of getting there are different for each person. Where to study or when is up to the individual. This approach in the workplace makes people feel they are trusted and they reward the company by working hard (believe me, I work with the hardest working people I know!).

Tips to fostering this culture:

  • Trust your people and let go. This may sound scary, but check out this Let Go & Lead video on The New Dynamics of Trust with Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz. We learn that to sustain inspiration, you must trust people to infuse the collective vision with their own creativity.
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