How to Foster a Positive Work Culture
It’s well-known that happy workers are more productive, energetic, and successful in their roles. But the benefits of building a positive workforce go even deeper than people showing up with a smile—according to research, happy employees are 98 percent more likely to identify with your company’s goals and values.
This is a benefit that goes way beyond productivity. Workers who identify with your company are far more likely to stay on board over the years, go the extra mile while on the clock, and even advocate for your brand during their off hours. And the easiest way to boost the crucial-yet-ungraspable metric of “worker happiness” is to foster a positive work culture in your company.
It begins with leadership
As always, culture-based improvements start at the top of the pyramid. C-suite leaders, managers, and supervisors need to be the champions of these culture initiatives if you want the bulk of your workforce to buy in.
Let each department manager share new initiatives with the team and engage with employees directly. This will help foster a sense of cohesion across the enterprise and make it seem less like the out-of-touch higher-ups are butting into the day-to-day operations.
Honesty and transparency
You can’t have a positive culture without honest and open communication. Once again, this starts with leadership—being transparent as a leader encourages employees to do the same. Let your manager’s voice concerns to both the upper-level executives and the lower-level staff.
The idea here is to remove the perceived barriers of separation between your company’s employees and make everyone feel like they’re on the same team. This simple idea can go a long way in building harmony among workers and squashing the negativity that comes with established pecking orders.
Redefine the dreaded “team-building”
Team building events can improve morale and help workers get to know one another, but for the sake of your team, put some thought into the activities you support.
Some HR managers work from the same playbook as their third-grade schoolteachers, having their teams pass around get-to-know-you worksheets and playing games in the office. You can do better. Get to know your employees and find things they’ll actually enjoy rather than forcing attempts at unity.
Encourage self-care and physical activity
Companies around the world recognize the benefits of self-care and regular exercise for their employees, and for good reason: Employee wellness is one of the best ways to increase worker happiness and productivity. The CDC compiled research describing the impacts of worksite wellness programs, noting that these programs have potential to decrease employee absenteeism, decrease your company’s healthcare costs, and increase morale. Consider these options:
- Hosting wellness “classes” or voluntary group exercise programs throughout the week;
- Sponsoring memberships to nearby gyms for employees;
- Investing in basic workout equipment for the office;
- Installing infrastructure that supports physical activity, such as bike racks or shelters that encourage active transportation to work.
Do more than pay lip service
The key aspect underpinning all these efforts is that they actually need to become part of your culture. You’ll read horror stories on Glassdoor and other employment websites about companies that fail in this regard. For example, companies that use on-site fitness facilities as selling points in their recruitment.
Starry-eyed employees join the team only to find that employees who use the facilities are frowned upon, or indirectly penalized for appearing as if they’re ditching work or being lazy. (Being called lazy for exercising! Can you imagine?)
This is the opposite of a positive culture—it’s a toxic one. Make sure that if you create these initiatives for your employees, you back them up with your actions. And if you need any guidance on how to integrate these concepts into your company, contact us at Urgenci for a business assessment.