4 Unspoken Questions Your Church Staff Is Asking You
By: Jay Mitchell October 12, 2016
Staff culture is on everyone’s radar these days because it is often the difference between a good team and a truly great one. Smart church leaders are now paying more attention to their team culture. A great way to measure your staff culture is to tune into to the unspoken rules and questions of your team.
Vanderbloemen was named the number one company culture by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2015. We are understandably proud of that, not because of the accolade, but because it affirms something we all already knew. We love working at Vanderbloemen – both the people we work with and the work we get to do.
Every church staff and ministry team is silently asking these four unspoken questions below. Every church leader needs to be able to effectively answer these questions that are being asked by your people, if not out loud, at least in their hearts and minds.
1. Can I trust you?
We all want to work for organizations and leaders that we trust; that is, those that live up to their promises. I've asked ministry candidates why they are considering leaving their current work and I sometimes get a similar response: they experienced a “bait and switch.” Essentially, they were told one thing about the organization - like expectations for the role or the potential growth trajectory for them as a leader - only to find out that none of it, or very little of it, was true and real.
When a leader makes promises to his or her team and then doesn’t deliver, there will be a lack of trust. It's understandable to want to paint your organization in the best possible light. However, when an unrealistic promise is made or an exagerrated view is painted without being honest about the real challenges the organization faces, team members will eventually see the reality and lose faith in the leadership.
Honesty and fairness will build trust among your team, which will in turn create a culture of truth and integrity.
2. Will you make my daily life better?
Increasingly, employees (especially church staffs) are looking for more than a job that simply provides a paycheck. They want to have their daily lives enhanced and they want to make an impact on others. They want to be part of a workplace environment that delivers the opportunity for fun and relationships and the opportunity for personal and professional growth.
One of our core values at Vanderbloemen is “Contagious Fun.” We actively look for ways to make the work we do (and work that all of us love) even more enjoyable – whether it's by “game-ifying” team and individual goals, celebrating special occasions, or holding monthly all team meetings where we gather to learn something new about our work and have a party while we do it.
Employees look at the culture of an organization as much as they look at their paycheck at the end of the month.
What is your church staff doing to enhance the daily lives of your team members? What low cost benefits can you provide your team with – whether it’s access to health club memberships, an extra day off after a busy season, fun activities like bowling or movie nights, or interoffice or intra-department competitions? Increase the fun quotient and you will discover a team that enjoys coming to work every day.
3. Will we “do life” together?
Employees today (especially those in the millennial generation) are looking for much more than a workplace environment where they show up at 8 and leave at 5. They want to connect with the people they work with – both their co-workers AND their leaders.
As I’m interviewing candidates for senior level roles in churches and ministries I am regularly asked these questions: “Does the staff and leadership 'do life' together? Do they spend time with one another outside the office? Do they enjoy spending time together?"
One of the things I love about where I work is that, while we all have lives and families and friends outside of work, we actually enjoy being together outside the office – whether it’s a round of golf, a wedding or baby shower for a co-worker, working out together, or just hanging out after work. We are radically devoted to our mission and work but we are just as supportive of each other. Gone are the days where people just want to punch a clock, get their work done, and leave. Gone are the days where a leader has the luxury of closing their office door and emerging only to deliver orders or gather people for a meeting.
4. How will we work together to make a difference?
I’m fortunate that I work for a company that is built on a mission to serve the church. More than ever before, workers are looking for significance in and through their work as much as they are looking for career advancement or bigger paycheck.
The church staffs that can answer the question “what are we doing to change the world in a positive way?” with a specific mission and vision will have a leg up on the competition for gifted staff members.
The church leaders who can answer these unspoken questions clearly and definitively for their church staff will have the chance to build a world-class team that will be committed for the long haul.
What are some questions you can ask to improve your church staff's culture?