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04 Feb 2020
by Robert Ordever

Seven tips to create a social business culture that emphasises positive working relationships

A socially healthy organisation in which employees form a caring and united community, is key to a thriving business. But achieving this doesn’t happen by accident, leaders must create a social business culture in which positive working relationships are prioritised.


Here are my top tips on how to nurture a friendship-filled and camaraderie-based workplace culture.

1. Create a community sense of purpose

Some organisations don’t have a purpose, others have a purpose that doesn’t reach high enough and then there are others that just don’t communicate their purpose very well. The holy grail is the organisation that has a strong, clear purpose which resonates with all employees. By getting everyone behind a meaningful cause, employees feel connected, making them feel part of something much bigger than themselves.

2. Don’t hire for ‘cultural fit’

Don’t look for carbon copies of people in your business. Hire those who will enhance your culture. To achieve a true social culture, you need a diverse range of people, so don’t look for people who ‘fit in’ but for people ‘to belong’.

3. Allow authenticity and celebrate individuality

It’s vital that people can ‘be themselves’ at work and don’t have to put on a ‘work face’. This allows for a true social culture to be formed. At its very basic, this is about managers knowing who their people really are and encouraging them to talk about their lives outside of work.

4. Give everyone a voice and allow them to use it

Every employee needs to feel that they have a voice, are valued, listened to and can influence change, from the person packing boxes in the warehouse through to the person on the frontline dealing with customer issues.

5. Focus on daily ‘micro-experiences’

The ‘employee experience’ is all about the big and little experiences that happen day-to-day, influencing how people feel about their workplace. So leaders must pay attention to delivering positive and regular ‘micro-experiences’ rather than a few moments of appreciation every year.

6. Encourage social recognition

True social recognition occurs when employees frequently give, receive and observe recognition, fostering a culture where employees openly celebrate each other’s successes. Ongoing effort should be recognised weekly or even daily, results should be rewarded each time an employee accomplishes great work, and work anniversaries should be celebrated with gusto.

7. Encourage connections with the wider community

Look to support community initiatives and causes that impact employees’ lives as this will foster even deeper relationships between the organisation and its people.

When a social business culture is nurtured, people will behave as though they’re part of a community and will feel empowered to work towards a bigger purpose. There will be positivity, innovation, recognition and camaraderie, with colleagues elevating one another to greatness.

On the flip side, those companies who don’t recognise the value of creating a social culture will have silos. People won’t be listening to one another and there’ll be territorial behaviours, secrecy, employees not adhering to the same set of values, departments ‘pushing back’ rather than collaborating and an overall lack of innovation.

The choices are clear – focus on creating a social culture that will allow for a thriving business or ignore the employee experience and create a dysfunctional, disjointed and depressing place to work. 

The author is Robert Ordever, MD of workplace culture specialist, O.C. Tanner Europe.

This article is provided by O.C. Tanner Europe.

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