All together now: Around the world, company orchestras unite co-workers
- Workers in Germany, Japan and Korea are making music together in company orchestras, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Amateur musicians in various professional fields join co-workers in their free time to play for graduations, charities and other events. Some have formed company orchestras on their own initiative.
- Sources who spoke to AP said the act of employees coming together as musicians embodies the same kind of creative collaboration seen in workplace team building. Christian Scholz, management expert at Saarland University in Saarbruecken, told AP that orchestras are a complex blend of specialized skills, which businesses also need for high performance.
- Tech companies with employee orchestras include Daimler, which funds its orchestra; BASF, whose orchestra is financially independent; and Bosch and Lufthansa, whose orchestras are composed of amateurs. SAP has a semi-professional orchestra.
While obviously a niche example, the success of co-worker orchestras demonstrates the importance of embracing more than just day-to-day business functions within a company culture. Employees who collaborate on activities indirectly related to their professions get to share their outside interests in ways they might not have ordinarily.
The result? It's often improved engagement, and a feeling of shared purpose, particularly if such activities jive with the organization's own list of values. That's a useful recruiting tool, especially since top candidates (according to the majority of CEOs) are expected to have an understanding of their prospective employer's culture.
At the most basic level, employees get to know each other beyond their job titles, especially when they find they have common interests, such as music and other art forms, sports, gardening and philanthropy. Even the office fantasy sports pool can create camaraderie when done right. Employers shouldn't shy away from the little things.