Creating a positive work culture isn’t just a trend anymore. Today’s leaders are recognizing that the primary way to attract and retain top performers and quality staff is by providing a great place to work. And there are a variety of elements that go into defining what a positive work culture is.
In this post, we’ll discuss the challenges you might be facing in building positive work culture, along with some solutions. There are five pivotal ways to make significant improvements to your company’s work environment. Here’s what you can be doing to make improvements within your business.
How to Define a Positive Work Culture
Happiness is subject to personal preference. What one employee values most may only be an afterthought benefit to another. So how are today’s employers able to discern what constitutes a positive work culture? It boils down to active listening.
Employees aren’t likely to be as demanding as some of the polarizing news headlines suggest. In fact, employees can be rather forgiving about a company’s growing pains…as long as they feel valued and heard. To meet these needs, employers should consider anonymous feedback strategies, such as launching online surveys or even soliciting employee suggestions with a “suggestion box” (yes, it can still work).
Alternatively, inviting employee perspectives can be an exercise in employer-employee transparency. This could take the form of one-on-one conversations between managers and reports, solely for the purpose of exchanging improvement ideas. This approach requires accountability and trust–two important characteristics of a positive work culture.
The more active employers are in learning what inspires employees, the better positioned they are to develop a positive work environment that fuels their inspiration.
Common Characteristics of a Positive Work Culture
There will be unique aspects to how a company defines and executes a positive work environment. This requires employers to get creative with what makes sense in supporting their teams. But a few general characteristics of a positive work culture include:
- Employees feel empowered to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles.
- Workers feel satisfied with their performance and metrics.
- Staff loyalty increases when they’re appreciated, challenged, and encouraged.
- Individuals feel compelled to problem-solve instead of departmentalizing or “passing the buck.”
If you believe your teams follow these examples, you’re moving in the right direction for creating a positive work culture. However, if you’re experiencing alternative behaviors, it could be a sign that your company culture needs improvement.
Contributing to a Positive Work Culture
Cultivating a positive company culture requires ongoing initiatives. People change, and so do their values. Additionally, when organizations grow, they add new dynamics to their workforces. Company culture initiatives, then, should be looked at as an evolving effort. Here are five ways to contribute to improving a work culture.
1. Identify Company Mission, Vision, and Values
This may require an employer to go back to its startup roots, revisiting founding documents. A mission statement should be a constant reminder to employees as that their work matters, so it’s important that the statement is accurate and authentic. Values inform a workforce how they should work in fulfilling a mission–this differentiates a company from competitors and inspires loyalty. Finally, when an employer establishes a vision, it ensures that the impact of the mission will continue to grow and inspire employees to perform.
Once the foundational pieces are reviewed–and refreshed if needed–employers must promote them across the organization so that each individual can understand and support big-picture objectives. Everyone must be held accountable for supporting these objectives, especially managers. The goal is to develop an employee base that can become just as passionate and energized about the company as the C-level.
When employees see how their work matters, they will feel more connected to their coworkers and employer. And that’s the best foundation for a positive work culture, according to Forbes.
2. Manage and Establish Realistic Expectations
Harmony and consistency are key ingredients in the positive workplace. To achieve them, employers must first establish and maintain clear expectations. When a workforce precisely understands what is expected of them, they’ll be more apt to follow those guidelines. And for the overachievers and top performers, knowing where the bar is set will allow them to determine how to go above and beyond.
Unpredictability in management harbors distrust and staff-level contempt. So employers must make sure that managers know their expectations, too. Finally, it is ideal for employers to share companywide, departmental, and specific role expectations with everyone. The transparency will breed an environment of trust and respect, which is essential for positive workplaces.
3. Employees Need to Feel Valued
It’s more than just catered office lunches, front-row parking, or workplace happy hours. Yes, those are all great for promoting team unity and corporate appreciation. However, employees are most satisfied when they feel valued. Company culture is rooted in the individual’s daily experiences. It’s their day-to-day routine that shapes their beliefs about the company. And it’s in those daily routines where employers can improve how they share appreciation for valuable contributions. Check out these stats:
- 90% of employees who feel their work and presence are valued agree they are more motivated to do their best.
- 33% of employees who don’t feel valued will perform their best.
- 83% of executives believe having motivated employees contributes to a company’s success.
- 84% of employees believe that motivated teams substantially contribute to a company’s success.
4. Foster an Environment of Collaboration
There is a commonly shared school of thought that promotes a “stay in your lane” approach to productivity. And yes, for some companies, those guidelines serve a valuable purpose. However, fostering an environment that welcomes collaboration will develop a company’s culture. When everyone can pitch in to solve a problem or provide insights into company challenges, it sends the message to the employee that his or her opinion and expertise matter. Sharing ideas and improvements lead to innovation, as well.
Employers must do the work by actually hosting these team meetings and asking for departmental and companywide insights. They can’t just promote teamwork as a value and not follow through on initiatives that support it.
5. Communication Has to Flow Freely
Leadership and management within an organization should encourage open and honest dialogues between colleagues, departments, and managers. Employers may consider auditing company communication to see who is interacting with who and what feedback is being processed.
Coffee mornings, team contests, and inter-departmental activities can help people feel connected to others outside of their daily routines. And appropriate levels of management should welcome complaints, suggestions, and ideas for swift follow-up and solutions.
What Inclusivity Means in Today’s Workplace
Inclusivity is another element of a positive workplace. It’s a pillar element worth protecting and supporting. It means every member of an organization has value, is treated with respect, and is provided with the same support and opportunities. Anyone challenging that level playing field should be removed before setting a toxic workplace example. Individual differences contribute to an organization’s productivity, and tolerance of anything else will only undermine positive culture initiatives.
Keep these company insights in mind as you continue to develop and improve your company’s culture. And when you’re ready to grow your teams, let ExactHire be your guide to finding top talent that fits in with your culture!