A healthy and happy work environment is essential to the success of your business; building a strong sense of community is even more important. This is the perfect time to it’s a terrific opportunity to take a look at company’s culture and see if there are opportunities to cultivate a more positive workplace culture. Here are six steps to consider if your company culture needs to move to the next level.
Trust is essential in all relationships, both personal and professional. The best way to build trust is through active listening and open communication. But you have to truly listen, be willing to let your guard down, and really listen. Allow your team members to speak their minds without fear of reprisal. Do this and chances are that others will reciprocate.
No one wants to be treated as “just” an employee. If you treat your team as “just” employees, that is likely what you will get back in performance. Instead, ask and learn about their hobbies, families, and backgrounds.” Consider 2017 an opportunity to create deeper, more productive relationships with your work team. Trust and respect will ensue.
Speaking of respect, we hope you treating your employees and their input and ideas and that they respect yours. Mutual respect is necessary for collaboration, and the growing success will be dependent upon collaboration.
Some of that collaboration may not even include you. That’s why it is equally important that you build a workplace environment in which employees like and respect each other as well. They need to feel respected by their colleagues and supported by you. If you can achieve this, you can expect increased productivity and success.
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. So when someone does something well, offer a sincere compliment to show your gratitude. Doing so will lead to stronger relationships, and encourages continued productivity. Most people, after all, are wired to respond to incentives. Financial rewards are one well-known incentive. Simple and genuine appreciation is another—often underrated—incentive.
Studies have shown that a positive work environment affects the brain, increases employee engagement. Is it not obvious that people will be generally happier while at work if the work environment is positive? Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work and a positive psychology expert, says that “when we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.” Isn’t that exactly what you want from and for your team?
And while you are at it, don’t underestimate the importance of fun in the workplace. Leaders who share laughter with staff members and team members who genuinely enjoy their work are simply more pleasant to be around. Are you the kind of boss you would like to work for? What would including fun in the workplace look like for your business? It might be as simple as a surprise pizza party, office Olympics, or sports team appreciation days. Better yet, why not ask your team what that fun would like to them?
People like—no, people need—to know where they stand, how their performance stacks up, and how their contributions impact the whole. Achievable goals are the first part of the equation, and if you and your employees work together to set the goals, there can be no question about what is expected. (Do both of you a favor, and include measurable steps or milestones in your planning so that progress and performance can routinely be assessed.) Provide consistent encouragement and feedback in support of the achievement of agreed upon goals.
Speaking of feedback, to most impactful, feedback should be timely. You don’t want to wait until an annual or semi-annual review to discuss that your employee is struggling. That’s too long for changes or improvements to be made. On the other hand, recognizing a significant contribution as soon as it happens (rather than waiting for any period of time) will have a more positive impact on the individual. And success begets success.