According to a report from Zion Market Research, the global employee engagement software market is expected to reach $346 million by 2025.
That’s a ton of money dedicated to fostering an engaging culture for employees. While employee engagement technology, remote work, continuing education, and happy hours also contribute to engaged employees, I’ve found that there is a more unique way to create a culture that empowers individuals to bring their full selves to work—and any CEO can implement it in some fashion, regardless of the company type or industry.
Ask a set of young children what they want to be when they grow up, and chances are at least one will respond, “I want to be a rock star!” While very few will actually reach Paul McCartney status, that doesn’t mean all opportunities are lost to be a rock star in a different way.
Oftentimes, our passions—like music—fall to the wayside as we embark on the path of careers, marriages and parenting. We think that we’ll pick these passions up again when we have time, but more often than not, that time never comes. I found myself falling into this trap years ago when a friend with the same passion for rock and roll persuaded me to start playing again via a neighborhood band.
Though the neighborhood band was short lived, I’ve found that music can be a serendipitous connection among people, particularly my coworkers. That’s why I start rock bands at every company I join. When work is integrated with outside passions, like music, in a holistic, productive way, it makes work life that much richer. Companies would be remiss to overlook this.
If we take a moment to look around our offices, there’s loads of creativity that lies dormant. Inspiring employees with creative outlets can lead to enhanced productivity and engagement and build more meaningful relationships, no software required. Enter: integrating hobbies and passions at the workplace. Something like creating an in-house rock band needs to be done in a structured, intentional way, of course, but when done correctly, the organization thrives off of the music and camaraderie.
As with most initiatives like this, the hardest part is making the time. But, employers are uniquely suited to pave a way for employees to make their passions a priority. When these initiatives are successful, we get to see the fuller picture of our colleagues as more than just fellow workers. We get to see them let their guard down, share their love with others and maybe even feel a bit vulnerable. In other words, we get a glimpse of who they really are. Reinforcing just how important this camaraderie is, a study by OfficeVibe found that 70 percent of employees say having friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life. And, when employees are happy, they’re 87 percent less likely to leave their jobs and can generate 20 percent more profit.
These are the things upon which good co-working relationships—and ultimately good cultures—are built.