How employees feel about the workplace culture and environment is almost as important as what the job itself offers. Workplace culture includes everything that forms part of their relationship to the business or organization, for example their relationship to supervisors and colleagues, their personal development and the general environment of the workplace.
A workplace culture can be as important as your recruitment methods and business strategy. It attracts talent, drives engagement and positively impacts company performance.
1. Treat employees with respect.
People will generally think back to their favourite bosses as the ones that made them feel valued. It’s not necessarily about giving them a salary increase, but about treating everyone as an equal no matter their level of seniority, experience or age.
Although giving salary increases to those employees who exceed expectation can create a positive culture, it’s also about understanding that employees are people with lives and families and have other priorities outside of the workplace. A little understanding that people must care for relatives, have to leave early due to unforeseen circumstances and deserve to use their holiday days, will be appreciated. This lets people know that you are on their side, that their wellbeing is more important than that email, spreadsheet or meeting.
2. Listen and Communicate
A leadership style that encourages open and honest communication is important in creating a positive workplace culture.
It’s important to listen to their feedback without making them feel like they are under pressure to compliment the management and the company. Many managers are blind to how they appear to their employers. Whether this is in the form of an informal chat as you make coffee, casual team lunches or an annual staff survey; listen to the employees and take on board their feedback. They will feel valued if they see their feedback is being taken seriously.
3. Spend Time Outside the Office
Giving everyone the opportunity to leave their normal work environment, especially offices, can be important. Interacting with colleagues in a new setting can also help improve interpersonal skills.
These external gatherings could be as simple as leaving work early on a Friday for happy hour, to forming some type of weekly gathering like a running or book club or taking part in activities such as snowboarding or bowling. Think about the types of events your team would most like to enjoy, send round a survey or simply ask them for ideas.
If you are a small business, link up with other local businesses in your building or others who work in the same industry. Hiring out a mini bus and taking an inclusive trip to London to see a theatre show is a great example of an external work trip. It appeals to lots of different ages, is an excuse to dress up and allows colleagues to interact in a non-work environment.
4. Provide Social Spaces
Life can be so busy with hectic work schedules, family commitments and commuting. It’s important to take a break, this may seem counterproductive to employers, but it can produce the best from your employees.
Encourage your employees to take breaks and provide a clean, non-corporate space where they can relax, interact socially or simply take a break. Encouraging your employees to take some time out from work can actually increase their productivity, stop them needing so many sick and allow them to interact with their colleagues in a non-work environment.
5. Promote Diversity
Create a positive, inclusive workplace culture by welcoming employees from all backgrounds. Encourage people to share their backgrounds, their upbringing, their religion, their nationality, their sexuality and all the language that comes with it.
Just as important as creating a welcoming environment, is ensuring that employees are protected. To create a positive work culture, it’s important that all employees know their rights and feel protected at work. Ensure employees feel comfortable, and are given the opportunity, to speak openly about the issues they are facing (inside and outside the office) and are given the access to the support they need.
6. Create a Purpose
It’s not just the management that need to be clear on the organization’s long-term goals. Having objectives will create a sense of professional purpose, be a source of motivation and allow employees to feel there is a value to their role.
It is the managers and supervisors duty to set clear goals and let your employees understand how these personal goals can contribute to success both professionally and to personal development. It also creates transparency in the workplace, encouraging workers to trust the management.
7. Encourage Wellbeing
Mental illness is an international pandemic that is heavily effecting workloads. Stressed out workers cost companies billions annually, create tensions in the workplace and lower productivity.
Encouraging exercise can sometimes be a tricky one but encouraging charity events like bike rides, fun runs and sports days is a good way of getting workers exercising alongside bonding socially and having fun. Give discounts to local gyms if possible or start a cycling club, this mixes socialising, fun days out and wellbeing.
Encourage awareness of managing stress and understanding signs of mental illness, this could be done through e-learning, seminars or encouraging open communication within the workplace.
Article by Ruby Clarkson firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer, editor, animal lover and coffee enthusiast
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
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