Every employee wants to work at a company where the environment is positive, and the work is rewarding. And, every forward-thinking company wants to create a workplace that supports the organization’s goals and objectives. In a perfect world, both of these wants easily satisfied. Even though the world isn’t perfect, with the right kind of effort, you can build a great company culture.
Here are a few ways you can do it with food.
#1: Organize treats during break time
It’s amazing how something as simple as providing treats during break time supports a company’s culture. How does this happen? It’s the old water-cooler effect. Yes, it’s a real thing.
There once was a time when the only treat in the office was water. Not even coffee. Water. So, when employees took a break, they would gather around the water cooler and chat about personal and work-related topics. These casual interactions spread the company’s culture—good or bad—from one employee to the next.
Now, leaders are providing more than water for employees to enjoy during their breaks. Like free coffee, employees will see snacks as another perk. Just make sure the snacks are healthy snacks. That’s because healthy snacks curb hunger without stimulating an insulin spike that causes employees to crash after their break.
#2: Have special occasion or holiday catering
Anytime you can manage to serve food to your employees, do it. You will be tapping into the water-cooler effect that infuses your company’s culture throughout the organization.
So, plan catered events for special occasions like recognizing company or employee successes, commemorating company anniversaries, or celebrating a holiday. Whether they are large and glamorous or small and intimate, catered events are opportunities for employees throughout the company to casually mingle while they enjoy finger foods or plated meals.
#3: Host a potluck lunch
Another way to celebrate a special occasion, or celebrate nothing at all, is to organize a potluck lunch. It’s a great opportunity to deeply engage employees around food. Not only do they have to decide on and prepare a dish, they get to enjoy the dishes that other employees bring to the potluck.
Have the organizers suggest that participants bring in healthy dishes. This objective communicates that the company cares about their health, and they should too. Another idea is to have employees bring dishes that represent their cultural heritage. This simple suggestion shows that the company values diversity.
#4: Encourage and reward volunteering at a soup kitchen
Volunteering to serve food as a group creates a bond that is founded upon giving back to the community. When aligned with the company’s culture, this bond helps support and spread that culture among those who participate.
According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to fighting hunger, more than half of all soup kitchens rely on volunteers. Soup kitchens are flooded with volunteers during the winter holiday season. So, pick a time of the year when people are less focused on the homeless and the needy.
An alternative to volunteering at a soup kitchen is collecting food for a food pantry. Whichever option you choose, be sure to reward the employees who participate in the activity. The reward doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple company-wide recognition will do.
#5: Eat with your employees
As a leader, you have a profound influence upon those you lead. They watch your behavior, so it is important for you to communicate and demonstrate the company’s core values during both work and social time. Eating with employees, whether you manage them or not, is a great way to shape believes and behaviors.
You can eat with them as a group or eat with them one-on-one. Each option has its benefits. The group setting facilitates bonds between all the members of the collection of people who are eating together. The one-on-one setting provides an intimate opportunity to establish a personal relationship that directly influences how an individual sees and interprets the company’s culture.
When you eat with your employees, don’t behave in ways that remind them that you are the “boss.” This isn’t the time to give a presentation about your view of how you want things to be done at your company. Instead, be casual and authentic in your engagement while modeling the appropriate aspects of your company’s culture.
#6: Provide Lunch as a Benefit (LaaB)
One surefire way to build a great company culture is to provide LaaB. It does everything you’ve read about to this point, and it does those things every day. It’s leverages a supercharged water-cooler effect.
Providing LaaB does more than bring people together to enjoy food. It makes your employees feel more valued and appreciated. This has a direct impact on enhancing recruitment, improving retention, fostering collaboration, and boosting company morale.
At EAT Club, we understand the power of food. And, we’re happy to have the opportunity to support our corporate clients in their efforts to indulge their employees with LaaB. By operating as a virtual cafeteria, we give them the ability to provide their employees with individually-selected lunches that satisfies individuals while powering teams.
We have a great company culture. Let us help you build one too. With food.