My husband’s boss calls him ‘Dude.’ As in, “Hey, Dude, how’s it going today?” Now this may seem a small thing, but it’s really not. It sets up a comfort level and an air of friendliness. It let’s my husband know that his boss ‘has his back.’ You can almost see them high fiving in celebration when things go well, as ‘dudes’ often do. This one little word contains a power punch of meaning.

When we talk about fostering a great, open work culture, we often ignore the impact of changing our everyday words. It is frequently through simple ‘small’ changes that we can engage our employees better and let them know we care.

Likewise, it is important to foster more informal communication in general. Not only words like ‘dude,’ but a quick chat to catch up or ask someone their opinion. It is one thing to send an email and ask for a response, but a whole different level of engagement if you talk to someone. Because in our land of emails, texts, and formal meetings, we forget that relationships are built on one-on-one conversations. As we want to mobilize our staff and build better connections, we need to show them that we care not just about the person’s contribution to the business, but about the person themselves.

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