This interview was part of the Ergon Magazine SMART insights 2021. Order your free copy now ->
Community-builders generate a sense of unity. Their proactive energy and motivation bring people together, tempts them out of their comfort zones and inspires them to connect with others. Those are important enough qualities at work but even more so in a social context.
You often take the initiative to organise team and even interdepartmental events. Why is that important to you?
You can meet new people and get to know them in a whole different way. That creates connection. I’m a management assistant in the Finance & Telecom Solutions department, supporting not just the departmental head but also the team leaders. That means I belong to the department but not to any particular team. Social events are a nice way of meeting the rest of the department and building up a network. And of course I love all the organisational side of things, not to mention the events themselves!
You mentioned building up a network. Why do you think that's important?
In my job, I want to support people where I can. To do that, I also need to have an idea of what's going on in the various areas. I need to understand what they do, what drives them, and how everything fits together. I might also hear about things where I know I could be useful and take on or take over a task for someone. But I’m not the only one who benefits from the networking effect. The others who are there also get to know each other and create their own networks.
How do you encourage people to join in?
I think the demand is basically there. You just have to provide an incentive and maybe give them a nudge here and there, especially if something's new.
"Social events are a nice way of meeting people and building up a network."
You like to try out new things?
Definitely! And not just where events are concerned. You have to push your boundaries, as an individual, a team, or even a company. You have to step out of your comfort zone, broaden your mind and keep it active, look for new stimuli. It helps you grow as a person.
Have you always organised social events?
For a long time, certainly, both at work and privately. Whether it’s a big or small event, you often need someone to make the first move and make it happen. I always get annoyed when people say: “Let's do something", and then nothing happens because nobody wanted to stand up and actually do it. You get to a point where you think: “All right then, I’ll do it!” I’m always worried about people actually liking it, though. Of course!
Why do think that more people don't take the initiative?
With me, it was because I was scared before. What if people think it's stupid? I think a lot of people are the same. And if you've already got a lot going on, you don't necessarily want to saddle yourself with something else. I do think you've got to enjoy it or at least be willing to have a go.
You need courage, too.
That's a recurring challenge. I like working with people because of all their different characters and I like researching and discovering new things. There's nothing better than the feeling that people are enjoying themselves, the energy is right, there's a positive group dynamic and everyone's just really motivated.
This interview is part of the series "Unsung heroes" in SMART insights 2021. You can find an overview with all interviews here.