Helping Businesses Learn About Creating a Culture of Appreciation With Art
Gapingvoid Culture Design Group uses art and design to help businesses change their corporate cultures. In the company’s own words, its mission is “to make work more meaningful; helping people love what they do.” So how exactly does Gapingvoid go about doing this? And how can your organization start creating a culture of appreciation with art?
The Gapingvoid story began when blogger and artist Hugh MacLeod created a doodle — “the Blue Monster” — for a friend, Microsoft executive Steve Clayton. Alongside the monster were the words “Microsoft: Change the world or go home.” MacLeod wrote a post about the cartoon on his blog at gapingvoid.com, joking that Microsoft leadership in Redmond, Washington could drop him a line if they had feedback.
As it turned out, the Blue Monster did indeed strike a chord at Microsoft. Clayton used the doodle at a presentation to senior executives, and the ensuing discussion got employees at the multinational corporation talking and thinking differently about their work and what it meant. The Blue Monster became an unofficial mascot for Microsoft. One employee even got himself a Blue Monster tattoo! Building on that success, MacLeod turned Gapingvoid into a whole company focused on creating a culture of appreciation with art and design.
By Getting People Talking, “Culture Walls” Actually Break Down Barriers
Since the Blue Monster’s debut, Gapingvoid has helped clients by assessing their corporate cultures, identifying problems, and then delivering creative tools to address those problems. One such tool is the “Culture Wall” — literally a wall in the office covered in art that highlights and articulates what the company is trying to achieve and what its values are. As Benjamin P. Hardy puts it in a post on Inc.:
The Culture Wall transforms your office into a metaphorical and physical shrine to your culture through the socialization of your company’s beliefs. The wall aligns your people’s mindset to the mission of the company by reminding them of the purpose behind their work, and why they do what they do.
Hardy adds that at companies he’s visited that have culture walls, “I hear not only employees continually references the values and beliefs, I also hear the clients discussing the values and beliefs. This shows me that the culture is being translated through the culture wall into the people.”
Staff at the Toppel Career Center on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, where Gapingvoid did a full-scale installation, would agree. “I constantly find myself noticing pieces that I haven’t given much attention to in the past or haven’t thought about the same way, which makes my everyday work environment more exciting,” one said.
Engagement and Involvement Are More Important Than Spending a Lot
You might think it’s a big expense to contract a company like Gapingvoid and commission custom art that speaks to your values. You don’t need to spend a lot on custom art to make a difference in your workplace. We hired Gapingvoid to create some pieces for us in celebration of gThankYou’s 10th anniversary last fall which employees and customers have loved! If your budget is limited but you’re inspired, there are low-cost ways of creating a culture of appreciation with art.
Forbes cites research by Exeter University’s School of Psychology, which found that employees who exerted some control over the appearance of their work environments became up to 32 percent more productive. Other research discussed in the post suggests that art in the workplace helps reduce stress and improves workers’ general well-being.
Even if you’re skeptical of art’s power to improve ROI, another Forbes contributor notes that art in the office does offer “ROE” — return on environment. “It shows management cares enough about the employee experience — and the customer experience — to have a thoughtfully maintained facility that people feel good about working in,” he says.
Finally, Artiq, a company that rents art to businesses, points out:
An intelligently-curated art collection can reflect a company’s history and demonstrate its character, style and spirit to employees, clients, partners and prospects. In receptions, boardrooms and every other area of the workplace, a carefully selected piece of art can send a clear, yet subtle, message to those who see it, expressing and reinforcing brand values if appropriate.
By adding art to your office and other work spaces, you can show your employees you care about where they spend their time. By choosing art that resonates meaningfully with your company culture — and especially by involving employees in the selection — you’ll communicate materially that both your people and your mission matter. That’s precisely the kind of gesture that will help you in creating a culture of appreciation among your staff, management, and clients.
Make Workplace Gratitude a Daily Commitment
Workplace leaders know that creating a culture of appreciation needs more than inspirational art. Senior management must believe in and role model the importance of building a workplace culture built on respect, appreciation and trust. Managers should be trained in appreciation skills and recognized and held accountable for them. Plans should be in place to provide valued and fair ways of engaging and appreciating employees. For employee engagement inspiration and ideas by HR experts, you’ll enjoy our free and popular “2018 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar”.
Building a sustainable culture of gratitude takes time but nurtures a happier, more loyal and more successful business. To inspire your commitment to building a better workplace, gThankYou offers a free guide to the latest learning on how to employ gratitude and appreciation in the workplace.
Why not start transforming your workplace today?
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