7 Important Rules (often-ignored) To Create A Positive Work Culture
Work culture can simply be defined as the values and beliefs of an organization. But the way we work together and treat each other can create a positive work culture or a toxic one.
Before we begin to understand how to build positive work culture, whether you are business owner or HR leader, you must ask these questions yourself to know what kind of work culture your organization has :
- Do your employees dread walking through those doors Monday morning, or are they excited to see what new opportunities await?
- Do they dread interacting with your coworkers because there's always drama and tension brewing while they're around?
- Do your employees enjoy spending time with each other outside of work because they're genuine friends?
We've all worked jobs where the sense of camaraderie was fleeting and hard to find. But what makes a place truly feel like home for every employee?
To help you get started in building a positive work culture, we have put together a list of 7 rules you must follow to create a positive work culture.
1. Create A Mission Statement
State your company's mission in simple, easy-to-understand language that will resonate with every member of your organization (and even external stakeholders). It defines your company's purpose, and acts as a guiding principle for the people in your organization. Don't include technical jargon that only makes sense to people who have been working there for years, or you'll run the risk of alienating newer hires or outside customers and vendors.
For example, Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. This statement helps them focus on their purpose as they grow and develop new products.
Your mission should be easy to understand, clear and concise, memorable, personal, motivating, unique and consistently communicated throughout your organization.
2. Show Appreciation To Employees
A positive work culture is one where employees are happy to come to work. This can be achieved when you show your appreciation for them at work. It doesn't have to be an expensive or extravagant gesture, it can simply be something like a thank you card with a handwritten note on it.
If you wish, you can also recognize them in front of their peers at the next company meeting by saying something like "We want to acknowledge John for doing an outstanding job this past month," or "Mary has been working hard on this project and we'd like to thank her for all her efforts."
Acknowledge when people show up early or go the extra mile. That's like giving them a raise without actually giving them a raise. “Hey, thanks for coming in on Saturday and helping me out; I really appreciate it."
3. Encourage Team Building
Team building exercises are a great way to foster a positive company culture. They’re fun, and employees get to know more about each other than they would in the workplace alone.
Certain office spaces can be drab, and team building activities are an effective way of bringing much-needed life into the workplace. Consider making them mandatory, not just optional. This will help ensure everyone is participating, which is essential for developing a healthy corporate culture.
Here are some fun ideas:
- A potluck lunch allows your team members to bring their favorite dishes, share stories of how they came up with their recipes, and sample new food they might not have tried before.
- Hosting a family picnic on the weekend or after work gives employees an opportunity to bring their children and loved ones into the workplace environment so they can meet other employees and form bonds outside of work hours.
Bonus: Want to provide your employees a memorable experience while your organization reap its benefits ? Explore our super fun and impactful team building activities (both virtual and offsite) tailored to meet the team needs of all sizes and types.
4. Provide Positive Feedback
Nothing motivates people more than knowing that their work is relevant, meaningful, and appreciated by those in positions of authority. When you give constructive criticism, always provide some form of positive feedback as well.
Here are some ways to make sure your team is receiving specific feedback
- Tell them what they're doing well while letting them know where they can improve.
- Use specific examples of what they're doing well (Ex: "I really like that you practiced your presentation in front of a live audience").
- Provide positive feedback in front of others, so the employee feels comfortable being recognized.
- Provide positive feedback to a specific individual and in a timely manner (Ex: "You did an amazing job on this project Tina").
5. Help Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance
With the COVID-19 pandemic, work-life balance has become an even bigger concern for employees. In fact, a recent survey found that 60% of respondents said their work/life balance had worsened since moving to remote work.
As a leader, you can help your employees achieve work-life balance by:
- Creating clear boundaries between personal and professional time. For example, avoid sending emails or scheduling meetings outside “office hours.”
- Limiting the number of extracurricular activities your team is involved with to avoid overwork and burnout.
- Setting organization-wide expectations around response times so everyone knows what to expect and deadlines are reasonable.
- Giving employees control over when they complete their work (within reason). For example, some people may prefer to start early in the morning, while others may function better later in the day. Take advantage of flex hours or other scheduling options that allow employees autonomy over their daily schedule.
6. Be Transparent About Operations And Decisions
Many of us have worked at places where management kept things from the company. This can lead to rumors, gossip, and low employee morale.
Be transparent about operations and decisions as much as possible so employees don’t have to guess about what is going on. Offer a way for employees to share ideas, suggestions, and feedback directly with management. People will work harder when they feel like their contributions matter, so make sure you listen to feedback and show you’ve listened by taking action on the ideas that are presented.
7. Be Compassionate In Times Of Need
You may have been raised to believe that in the workplace, it's best to be tough and stand-offish. Or perhaps you were taught that the best thing to do is avoid conflict at all costs. In either case, your experiences in the workplace—or lack thereof—may stem from a lack of compassion for coworkers.
The truth is that compassion is not only a good work ethic, but also a healthy way for leaders and managers to relate with their crews. When everybody feels supported and loved by their leaders, they have more energy to make positive contributions every day. Encouraging this kind of culture can improve your bottom line as well as your employees' overall experience at work.
Creating a positive work culture is not straightforward and mindsets often won't change overnight. The good news is you don't have to create a perfect, non-offensive working environment overnight either. You can build it up, piece by piece, by striving to meet your employees' needs and being vigilant about what they are saying.
Creating a positive work culture takes time and effort but it is worth the rewards your business reaps.