Promote solidarity to weave closely-knit teams

Max Lamers - December 21, 2020

Promoting Workplace Solidarity

Although we may not speak daily about solidarity and what it means with our colleagues, solidarity does play an essential part in the context of our workplaces.

What is solidarity?

Everyone knows the feeling of being connected and close to other people. In families, among friends, as well as among work colleagues, it is a matter of course to support and help each other - even if there is no immediate benefit for those who help. The drive for this is often a feeling of belonging, and connectedness with each other. That is solidarity.
It is the orientation towards the interests, rights, and needs other than our own. It refers to the ties that bind people together as a unified collective and takes shape in the shared awareness for each other. In this sense solidarity is a force that invigorates the common. It is essential for the help, support and cooperation between groups but also between individual group members, today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Why dare to foster more solidarity at work?

We as human beings care for recognition of our needs - just as much as we try to find this in our homes, relationships, communities, - it is something we all crave badly, also at our workplaces. Simply because we don’t stop being human at work.
Being helpful to other people gives us a deep sense of meaning, and feeling of fulfillment. If we offer our help or support freely, and then find our help is useful and appreciated, this is what makes us truly happy as human beings also in the workplace.
Often solidarity is viewed as offering aid to the weak or disadvantaged, but as described above solidarity is the ground for all cooperation. The opposing theme to solidarity is rivalry. While healthy competition is fine and fuels improvements, there’s not much we can do completely on our own as human beings. This holds true both for our homes as well as for our work. We simply depend on others. Imagine a fiercely individualized work environment. Cooperation happens, only if members feel incentivized. These environments are less likely to support fast and open exchange of information.
Without the connectedness with other people’s needs and interests there would be little ground for cooperative behavior. This makes solidarity, an essential prerequisite for us as individuals at work too, every day.

Practical ways to foster workplace solidarity

To help you foster workplace solidarity amongst your co-workers consider the following:

Acts of Kindness
Little things that all of us can do, can go a long way.
After all, at work, we contribute to someone else’s experience of their day.
So start by thinking about how to help co-workers to have a good day.
Because this can simply be done:

By showing up, and entering interactions with a smile on your face.
By sending birthday wishes, giving out thank yous often and graciously
By paying genuine interest - instead of asking “How are you?” ask “Are you okay?”

Meaningful Perks
Every workplace has a choice to simply offer the legal minimum amount of holidays, minimum insurance coverage, etc. Or it can take strides in understanding the matters that matter most to their employees despite a pay. Importantly enough 4 out of 5 employees want meaningful perks rather than a pay raise.
So asking for and providing offerings that are meaningful to employees can make the difference between perks and offering meaningful support. Topping the importance ranks are:

Health care offerings
Working hours and schemes that allow for flexibility between life and work
Holiday time and time off schemes that allow for unguilty off periods
Maternity leave
Work-from-home options
Learning and development support

Everyone plays an active role for voicing their needs. And your needs may also be someone else’s needs. Make an effort to ask for or propose good solutions.
Although most companies don’t make changes to their benefits packages easily and too frequently - what gets voiced, certainly has a better chance to get into the mix!

Public Engagement
Solidarity is sympathizing with the needs other than our own most immediate needs. Every workplace is part of society and is also part of the environment.
Other than customers, sales, profit and cost improvements, what is it that your workplace and your colleagues care about.

Do you offer a forum and ways for co-workers to support causes they care about in their name as well as the company’s name? Do you support creating understanding around public issues even in the workplace? Or does your company actively take a stand and voices an opinion for a matter or in public debates?

What can you do today?!

Any day you wake up is as good to take influential action.
Simply start with your next interaction - How can you make someone genuinely smile?
Think back and think forward - Have you had the conversation with your manager and the HR team around the option of taking an unpaid leave period?
And lastly think outside the organization - Have you donated your referral bonus to an organization you may want to support?

If you work in HR you can suggest your colleagues to chat with each other about what causes they care about. And encourage them to dare sharing it with each other! Maybe there’s a way to join forces. Wellbeing Warrior helps you to engage co-workers in fun and meaningful ways with automated initiatives. Have your employees use ideas of this article in a remote coffee break or their next lottery lunch for more wellbeing at your workplace.

In 2005 the UN decided to proclaim December 20th each year International Human Solidarity Day. The UN’s General Assembly identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the twenty-first century. In that regard, it's a day to raise awareness about the importance of human solidarity. That's what inspired this article.