Quality, Not Quantity
Your goal, should you choose to accept it, is to help your coworkers develop meaningful friendships with each other. Remember, this is not about everyone being friends with each other - it's about building relationships on common interests. It might start slowly, but if you give it time, you'll see a thriving culture rooted in valuable and productive cross-departmental relationships.
Get Your House In Order
We'd be remiss if we didn't address the fact that culture is a tricky thing & social capital is only one piece of the puzzle. So, take a hard look at your culture - are silos the issue or do you need help from an outside consultant to fix some other problems, too?
Awkward Parties Are For Middle School
Events may seem like the best way to help people become friends but what ends up happening? People talk to people they know or engage in small talk with the people they don't. This only magnifies silos and cliques. Look, we love a good party as much as the next person. . . but use parties to reinforce friendships, not start them
Let Them Play
Fun is the first ingredient in the social capital recipe. Encourage your people to have fun with each other - give them the time, resources & budget to plan activities that interest them. You'll be amazed at what they come up with - running clubs, wine tastings, game nights, broom ball tournaments. . .the possibilities are endless. Sometimes, they need a bit of help from leadership to get things going - this is where someone like Rumblesum can come into play. By competing with each other, your folks will naturally start talking to each other more & the live competition can kick-start your social capital program.
Not Everybody Likes Cake
Instead of a standard "Office Space" party, give employees a few weeks notice, a $20 to $30 budget, & let them plan mini-surprises for their coworkers. They could all dress like characters from the birthday boy's favorite movie, treat her to coffee at her favorite shop or pick-up the perfect gag gift. Hint: this is a great way to recognize employees' achievements, as well.
Oh the Humanitarian Projects
Giving back is great way to engage people in your corporate giving program & build social capital. Again, let your employees pick the activities that inspire them. They could set-up a day of home-building, soup-serving, dog-training, whatever gets them excited about giving back. If you want to go above and beyond, make a donation to the charity on top of the service project.