Positive workplace culture can lead to dramatic improvements in employee happiness, retention, and productivity. That’s not just an opinion; it’s a fact that has been observed in companies that understand how to make their employees happy.
However, with deadlines and the pressures of surviving in competitive markets, it can be hard to maintain a positive atmosphere where everyone feels included and safe to perform at their best.
Luckily, no matter how big or small your company might be, you can take actionable steps to nurture a more positive environment, which can have far-reaching benefits for your company.
Let’s explore some of these steps below.
It may seem straightforward, but praising your employees can become the difference-maker in how they perform long term.
That’s because despite what some managers would like to believe, their employees actually care about doing well and providing value, so knowing that their hard work is appreciated can make them much more willing to go the extra mile for your company.
Learning to appreciate the work of others is an acquired skill, so leaders should actively work at developing this habit. Being able to recognize when someone accomplishes something big (or even something relatively small) can help nurture closer relationships between managers and their teams, leading to more trust and better results.
This might seem like a relatively simple change, and it is. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean that it can’t completely change how your company operates, creating a ripple effect that makes the entire work environment more positive.
Challenge Your Team
Keeping employees motivated is tough. On one hand, you want to make sure that they aren’t overworked and don’t feel like they have an insurmountable challenge. But you also want to keep them interested and engaged, and the only way to do that is to make them solve problems and grow.
So, you should carefully think about the types of goals you set for your teams. You should still take a company-first approach and make sure that the goals align with the bigger picture. But on a more personal level, look for ways to give your employees more creative freedom and the opportunities to expand their skills and achieve something new.
Another crucial aspect of challenging your team the right way is to be crystal clear about what they need to do and when. The actual path they can take doesn’t have to be strict, but the end goal should be clear so that they can always have a guidepost when working.
When it comes to setting goals for teams, it’s the perfect opportunity to promote a positive culture by nurturing a sense of camaraderie and common purpose. People are naturally inclined to collaborate, so strive to create an environment where people can showcase their strengths and contribute.
Trying to have fun at the office doesn’t come naturally to all leaders. Everyone loves a fun boss, but you also don’t want to cross a line that takes you into Michael Scott territory.
However, by nudging your team in the right direction, you can get people to open up and become more relaxed when communicating, which can be great when work is stressful and people need to find a way to unwind.
For instance, if you want to have fun and commemorate someone’s work anniversary, you could use work anniversary memes as a way to show you appreciate your employees not just as a member of the team but as a person as well.
These types of little gestures can accumulate, helping people trust that since you’re not a rigid leader, they can become a bit more offbeat as well. And that’s not just great for morale, it can also develop genuine friendships that make collaborations much more effective.
As a leader, you don’t want to have to hold the hand of every member of your team. But unfortunately, the lack of trust combined with wanting everything to be perfect often makes managers micromanage their employees, which results in a lack of autonomy and a less capable team.
Delegating tasks and trusting people to follow through is hard. People will mess up, make mistakes you wouldn’t make, and sometimes that will end up costing the company.
But over time, being willing to delegate tasks and give employees more responsibility will pay off in a big way. For one thing, people will become much more capable, allowing managers to focus on the bigger-picture tasks and leaving many of the day-to-day responsibilities to others.
Even more importantly, when people know that you want them to improve and grow, they will be much happier and willing to put in the extra effort. Instead of being micromanaged, your team will have the opportunity to prove themselves and find the path that best suits their situation.
And as you see what people excel at, you will also have a much easier time pointing them in the right direction and ensuring that they are on the best career path that matches their strengths.
Prioritize Employee Happiness
The final step towards a positive workplace culture is a broader one, but it’s just as crucial if you want an environment where people are happy and productive. As a company, you should strive to put your employees’ needs and well-being first, making decisions according to whether they positively or negatively affect the people you work with.
The first part of the process is creating a comfortable work environment. Your employees should have all the tools they need to work and be productive and have a role aligned with their skills and priorities.
Another crucial aspect is onboarding new employees and introducing them to the company from the very first day. Starting work at a new company is always challenging, so if you can make the first few days comfortable and easy, it’s much more likely that the employee will fit in well and thrive in the new environment.
As a leader, you should also be proactive in interacting with your team and try to learn as much as possible about what they think and how they feel. Simply making it a point to check in with each member on a regular basis can provide you with countless insights about things you could improve.
Finally, try to create a work environment where people can unwind and also get help if necessary. Many companies have onsite counseling designed to help employees work through stress and other issues they might be facing.
Positive workplace culture can have a wide range of positive effects on your company. But finding suitable methods for keeping employees happy isn’t always easy.
But with the strategies discussed above, you will not only create a positive workplace culture but will also develop much more meaningful relationships with each member of your team.