Building Workplace Culture with Pop Culture

Industry Resources
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In the age of remote and hybrid work across multigenerational offices, some may feel that the water cooler chats of yesteryear have long since passed. And in some way, they have—after all, with streaming as the primary method of consuming pop culture, music, movies, and television have all become more individualized experiences rather than shared cultural cornerstones. Add in the fact that the daily experiences of the youngest members of the workforce, Gen Z, vary greatly from those of the oldest, the Baby Boomers, and you theoretically have a recipe for a fractured social landscape in offices around the world.

However, there are still some cultural touchstones that can bring coworkers together. If recent pop culture marketing trends are to be believed, Taylor Swift, the Super Bowl, and Barbie are incredible sources of untapped connection. And there’s more where those came from.

Bringing Pop Culture into the Workplace

With a little creativity and ingenuity, HR and business leaders can jump on the pop culture trends of today to bring coworkers closer together—and there’s evidence that shows that employees are craving connections like never before. Members of Gen Z, especially, are looking for ways to feel connected and engaged at work after many of them started their careers remotely during the pandemic and in the years immediately after. Combine that with overall stagnating numbers of employee engagement across the board, and it’s clear that workers are looking for something fresh to bring their focus back to connecting at the office, whether in-person or virtual. This is where utilizing pop culture can be useful for your employees to engage and connect.

While there may not be a literal water cooler to chat around, leaders can still build a healthy workplace culture with pop culture conversation topics. If you’re looking to foster connections between employees, check out our top four strategies to successfully leverage pop culture in the workplace.

Get Sporty

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or more of a casual fan, sporting events are a great cultural equalizer across generations. Even if someone doesn’t know the teams playing in the Super Bowl, for example, there’s a good chance that they at least know when the big game is taking place, and perhaps are even interested in the commercials.

Leverage real-life sporting events for team-building activities in the office, such as fantasy team competitions (i.e. Fantasy Football, or even a Fantasy Olympics tournament), March Madness Bracket competitions, or even host a viewing party after-hours if a local team makes it to the finals. For the more athletically-inclined employees, you can even sanction employee recreational sports teams that get your team members together outside the office.

Appreciate the Arts

Movies, television, and visual arts can move us in so many ways. While everyone in your office might have a different Netflix algorithm, that doesn’t mean that your employees can’t find common ground in visual mediums. Host a movie night at the office or have a trivia competition to find out who’s the number one film buff in the company. For more in-depth connection, you could even sanction a film or book club via chat or in-person meetings after hours, bringing people from different departments together to discuss a shared story.

You can also poll your team at the beginning of your next meeting and ask them to share their binge-worthy Netflix show or favorite movie of all time. Not only will your employees get new recommendations, but they can relate to each other and connect on shared interests in shows!

Make Music Together

Music is a great equalizer across a wide range of demographics, including age and gender. It can bring people together in the best ways, providing a common ground for connections that might not otherwise occur. To utilize music for workplace connections, try putting together a chat or email list where employees can share their favorite music picks or even podcasts that inspire them. You could then collect the suggestions into a personalized work playlist that could even be played at the office, as more and more people are finding that listening to music at work boosts productivity, reduces stress, and, of course, fosters social connections with coworkers.

Create Your Own Pop Culture         

Finally, while the larger culture outside of the workplace can be used to influence the culture inside of it, creating your own workplace ‘pop culture’ can also go a long way in fostering connections between coworkers. Even simple things like a chat to send memes can help bring team members from different departments and age groups together to share a laugh and blow off steam.

You can also utilize company events to infuse the office with its own lively sense of culture. Host cook-offs, your own company Olympics, or encourage employees to get active together on lunch breaks or outside of the office. Any time employees can let off steam together and connect is a great opportunity to foster collaborative relationships across the company.            

Building Excellent Workplace Culture at LCS

At LCS, our team works hard every day to foster professional relationships that will last throughout our careers. Voted a Top Workplace for 12 years and counting, LCS puts on an incredible amount of internal events each year to bring our employees closer together, encouraging them to have fun and work together in new and exciting ways. From on-site food trucks to Bring Your Kid to Work Day, to video game tournaments and more—every day at LCS there’s something new to discover.

If you’re looking for a new career at a company that puts employee experience and culture first, there’s never been a better time to join the team. Check out our open positions over on our careers site and apply today.