What would it be like to have a neighborhood ‘feel’ at work? Would it add or take away from your ability to get things done or for your company to be profitable? In a refreshing take on corporate culture, business psychologist Art Markman argues that creating a sense of neighborhood at work can only help it succeed.
In hierarchies, everyone takes on a role. If you’re at the top of the food chain you get more privileges and rewards. Those at the bottom usually have less control, input and are often told what to do. The understanding is that as one works their way up the hierarchy and takes on more responsibility, higher pay and benefits are provided.
In a neighborhood, while not everyone shares equally, we tend to strive for equality. If you need help doing something like changing your tire, chances are a neighbor might offer to help. It would be strange for you to offer him or her money in return. In turn you reciprocate somewhere down the road and a relationship builds.
Interestingly a company cannot succeed unless you and your colleagues start to think of yourselves as a valued part of a bigger picture. You might stay at work late a few times out of fear that your boss is watching. But you’ll be more likely to put in that consistent effort if you feel part of the ‘neighborhood‘ and feel like everyone is pitching in.
To have a neighborhood culture, the company must respond in kind. Seemingly small actions like supporting you or your colleagues families through tough times and providing educational opportunities for you go a long way to creating a general sense of community. This investment in community is repaid in behaviors that ultimately affect the company’s bottom line.
Fairness is key because it supports the creation of a community. Ultimately, the loyalty of a company’s neighborhood helps them avoid or lessen the ills and impact of the market economy.
What’s the ethos of your workplace? Is it a neighborly feel or more of an everyone for themselves feel?