Creating a positive work culture is utmost important to attract and retain the best talent. The same set of values can be seen across your company and in the way you handle customers too. A winning company culture enhances productivity and leads to a successful business.
As your company grows, a culture will form organically but keeping an eye on it is critical to ensure it is in the way your company desires and not something that negatively impacts your work force and the business.
Building a set of key values as early as possible will guide, inspire, and help your business grow. Also, building culture initiatives like work life balance, mental wellness and volunteering will go a long way in maintaining positive work culture and boost your employee engagement.
In this article, let us go through the dos and don’ts of creating a positive work culture along with few actionable tips!
How to Get Started?
We’ve talked about the importance and impact of a positive workplace culture. That’s good, but how do you actually get started in creating the desired work culture.
1. List out your key values
This is the base for everything that takes place in your company and works as a guide for your employees. Include your leadership and HR teams to ensure you collect feedback from all the key stakeholders in your company. A strong and winning set of core values requires everyone’s buy in.
It’s important to ensure that significant people are involved and heard as this is your company culture that will be the foundation and pathway for your company’s success.
2. Type of work culture
Once your core values are laid out, you would want to look at the type of work culture that needs to be set. This should start from the employee’s work timings to office layout to work flexibility to everything that happens within your company.
Another key aspect is organization hierarchy. This decides how your employees with different levels of experience are placed within your company and how they interact with each other. Creating a transparent, open, and collaborative work environment is crucial in creating a successful work culture and avoid any negativity.
Things to Do:
As we just discussed, keeping your work environment open and transparent will make your employees feel involved and valued. Organize regular internal catch ups with leadership and cross functional teams to make sure there are several ways for your employees to interact and engage.
Engaged workforce will give their best to the company and deserve your company’s trust.
2. Be Humane
End of the day, employees are humans and unexpected things can happen in anyone’s life. It’s important to be kind and considerate towards your employees. For example, if an employee is facing difficulties with work timings due to some personal commitments, work with the employee to accommodate his/her situation without compromising on the work.
May be your employee can work a different shift that better suits their personal needs which also doesn't impact the work. It’s important to listen, understand and support your employees in every way possible which will make them feel very much valued and boost productivity that will bring in success.
3. Diversity & Inclusivity
An inclusive and diverse work culture is the most important part of any company’s success. Employees from all backgrounds should feel welcomed and engaged to form a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
It is advisable to make inclusivity a part for your hiring strategy that will add value to your overall work culture and take your company a long way.
4. Team Goals & Objectives
Every team needs to have some objectives and goals to plan their work and achieve meaningful results. These goals will work as a driving factor for everyone within the team and makes them motivated in reaching the team goals.
Calculate and share KPI’s regularly with the teams that will help them understand how they are performing and what needs to be done to improve the performance.
5. Promote Fun
Work can get stressful at times and that’s where a little fun can make a big difference for everyone involved. Encouraging fun at workplace is a recommended core value that has the power to turn a challenging situation to a light-hearted one.
You would want to make sure this is a quality you look for while recruiting people that will add humor to every team. As you may have heard, successful people have fun in what they are doing!
6. Respect for all
Every employee should feel important, irrespective of their work experience and the current level they are working at in your company. Every individual should feel empowered to share their thoughts and ideas openly without any limitations.
This should be another core element of your company culture that will make your employees feel privileged and add to your positive workplace culture.
7. Productive Work Environment
An office should not only consider employees physical comfort but also their cognitive characteristics.
No one can deliver their best in a noisy and disruptive environment. Make sure there is enough space for everyone with a peaceful environment around so that it boosts your employees focus. It would be a bonus to have adjustable desks and monitors that will ease pain.
8. Regular 1-1’s
People love to be cared and 1-1’s are a great opportunity to check how your team members are doing.
Sometimes, leadership can get busy and might skip employee check-ins. But don’t do that as this will reduce employee’s morale as they might want to discuss something important about their work or personal life.
Or even, they might just feel like sharing some work-related challenges that would make them feel lighter. Never leave any opportunity to make them feel better and valued.
Also, 39% of American employees mentioned regular check-ins are a key element that makes them feel valued as per a latest Ernst & Young survey.
9. Zero Tolerance Policy
It is equally important to let your work force know what is not allowed at workplace and have clearly laid out policies to make everyone feel safe and protected.
This will make everyone come to work without any inhibitions. Make sure there is always a private and confidential support available to your employees in case they want to discuss any concerns or raise any questions.
Usually companies maintain zero tolerance against sexual harassment, violence, racial discrimination, fraud and financial crime etc.
10. Recognizing Employees
People love to be recognized when they have put in significant amount of time and effort to achieve great results for the company. Recognizing and rewarding makes them feel valued and improves their bonding with the company.
Recognition programs will make them motivated to perform their best every time and compete with themselves. It will also motivate everyone around in the team that develops a positive and competitive environment to deliver better results.
Things Not to Do:
1. Don’t limit employees
Although you hire people for a specific role in a team, they shouldn’t feel limited to one dimension of one specific role. Instead a positive work culture promotes people to try out different things outside their horizon.
This makes your employees feel empowered and motivated in coming to work. Through this process, an employee might realize that they are more interested and stronger in a different role at your company.
This is a win-win situation for both the employee and your company as this will be productive and positive for both the parties. So, it is quite important to let your employees explore different roles within your organization.
Having said this, it is important that an employee sticks to a position at least for a certain amount of time like an year or so before they start to explore other things to make sure the position they were hired for is not impacted.
2. Don’t push people to work overtime
It is vital that your employees have certain time scheduled to be away from their monitors to ensure they are not burnt out.
People need rest in whatever work they do to be effective in their work and maintain good health and mental wellness. Taking regular breaks keeps our brain refreshed and focused.
Make sure not to encourage people to work through lunch or overtime after work timings as this is counter intuitive. This will negatively impact their health and morale which will also affect your company’s culture in the longer run.
So, it’s quite important to ensure your people take enough breaks to create and maintain a positive and successful workplace environment.
3. Don’t encourage poor leadership
Leaders are the pillars of your company who will drive your work force and company towards success. We cannot describe the importance of leadership in words and dedicate as much time as possible to hiring the perfect leaders for your company.
Managers have a direct impact on your employee’s satisfaction and performance. It’s key to note that people are more productive and happier under good managers.
On the other hand, majority of the employees leave companies due to bad managers and this will also hurt your workplace culture as this breeds toxicity.
It’s critical to have the best people in your leadership who will be your culture ambassadors and drive your company and people towards success.
4. Don’t let toxic culture develop
Along with creating and developing a positive work culture, it is equally important to keep an eye out for any toxic work culture that is starting to develop in your workplace.
Keep listening to your employees in every way possible and pay attention to anything that could adversely affect your employees. To be able to identify this kind of undesired behavior, your HR team needs to design a robust and confidential system for employees to share their feedback at regular intervals without any limitations.
For example, send out a confidential survey regularly to all your employees where they share about their feedback about work, personal life, office environment, direct managers and peers.
Don’t just drop the ball there! It is important to follow up on feedback that matters whenever you see an employee struggling with an issue. Work with relevant people confidentially to understand and resolve the issue in a seamless manner.
Remember that an employee’s privacy is utmost important all through this way of identification till issue resolution.
5. Don’t hire for papers
You have a very specific set of core values that form your workplace culture, but it doesn’t require that all the people you hire should meet 100% of those values all the time.
It is not only unrealistic but also limits your company’s growth. It’s important to remember that every individual is different and will have their own set of strengths which will add value to your company.
An employee might only fit few of your core values but if you see potential in them and if they match at least 70% of your core culture values, they should be a great fit for the role and your company.
Positive work culture will have a great influence on everyone at your company and there are higher chances that employees who partially fit your company’s culture will start to adapt to your other set of values.
Although the above might seem small, they are very effective and critical to create, grow and maintain a positive workplace culture that will help you attract and retain the best talent!
End of the day, we all are human beings and it’s important to learn from our mistakes and correct as we go. You might have a perfect plan for your workplace culture, but it all depends on the implementation and maintenance.
Be kind and remind your employees about your workplace culture that will help them adapt to your culture in no time.
Keep pushing and once your company can maintain a positive work culture, your employees will be your culture ambassadors and make your work easier.
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