If you could visualize what makes up your job satisfaction as one big fall-inspired, metaphorical pumpkin pie, what would all the slices represent? What you actually do day-to-day might be a large one; the impact your job has in the world could be another; maybe your salary package is a big slice of the pie (but not as big as you’d like!). Another important piece is the overall experience of being an employee in the workplace—the connections made with coworkers, leadership’s investment in your professional and personal development, and job perks and amenities.
But what if that overall workplace experience needs a refresh? We hit inboxes, office elevators, Slack channels, and the awkward five minutes before everyone joins a Zoom meeting to round up some key signs that your workplace experience could use a boost.
1. Your Glassdoor reviews aren’t even close to five stars
When issues arise in your workplace, do employees feel like there are accessible avenues to address them? Cultivating a proactive environment around resolving conflicts is critical to employee wellbeing. Feeling like your concerns are being heard by leadership means that, as a worker, you’re (probably) less likely to express frustration with company values, managers, and culture online. If your company’s Glassdoor reviews are reading like a high school burn book, the writing’s on the virtual wall.
2. No one’s turning up to happy hour
As an employee, keeping up with your office BFFs (and even your office not-really-BFFs) is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your overall work experience. If your coworkers aren’t even turning up to take advantage of the two-for-one company sponsored margaritas, it’s a good indication that people might be feeling disconnected and unengaged. Research has found that social connections are one of the greatest predictors of happiness and reduced stress—so cultivating a work environment where social connections are being cemented is key.
Having your hard work acknowledged goes a long way toward making any employee’s work experience meaningful.
3. The #nyc-office channel is dead
Are crickets chirping over your team’s social Slack channels? If even your funniest memes aren’t getting so much as a laugh react, it might be a sign that community spirit is sadly lacking. You and your colleagues deserve to be part of a group of people who are invested in each other’s professional and personal lives. At the very least, you’re warranted an up-to-par reaction to your very curated TikTok selection.
4. Your holiday gift is a company drink koozie
Appreciation for the work you and your colleagues have done throughout the year can come in all shapes and sizes. But getting leftover merch from the last sales retreat for your annual staff gift is about as thoughtful as stale donuts. In contrast, a quick shout-out from leadership in the last five minutes of a Zoom meeting, an all-staff email from your supervisor highlighting your team’s recent project win, or a thoughtful (not flimsy) gift from your manager demonstrates you are genuinely valued. And having your hard work acknowledged goes a long way toward making any employee’s work experience meaningful.
5. The last team event was a mandatory IT training
Now don’t get us wrong, cyber security is critical, but team events should be accomplishing more than just reminding us not to click links from random senders. (But yeah, please don’t do that.) Creating moments of togetherness outside the usual 9-to-5 agenda strengthens connections, communication, and is also just way more fun.
If your company’s creativity in the activities department is drier than a pile of autumn leaves, take some inspo: Try programming to keep teams culturally inspired (how about a trip to a new gallery opening?); or socially connected (with a team apple picking day, hello bonding opp); or taken care of with a self-care moment (WFH yoga, anyone?).
6. The snack drawer is gathering dust
Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most! Having a kitchen stocked with satisfying snacks, actually drinkable coffee, and energy-boosting treats makes a difference in the sometimes hum-drum routine of the day. Besides literally fueling people at work, the pantry or coffee station is a highly effective gathering spot, conversation-starter, and tangible perk—whether you’re coming back into the office full-time, a couple days a week, or only on two-for-one margs days.
Strategic workplace upgrades underscored the team’s values and identity.
Hint: Freebies aren’t passé, only bad ones are.