Ever wondered if the culture of your business might be the thing holding you back from reaching your true success?
There’s no denying that positive workplace culture is linked to employee morale, productivity and job satisfaction. Ultimately, workplace culture can have either a positive or negative effect on your business success.
So it pays to ensure you’re doing all the right things to help create a happy and productive workplace. Indeed, it’s all about building an environment in which people feel supported, appreciated and inspired.
Of course, the question is how do you foster a positive workplace culture. Let’s start by looking at some of the key characteristics of a positive work culture.
4 signs of a positive workplace
There are a number of features that build a rock-hard foundation for a positive workspace.
Open and honest communication
Without a doubt, good communication is key – no matter what industry you work in. However, an ability to give clear instructions doesn’t make you an amazing communicator. Although, let’s face it, no one likes ambiguous job descriptions.
Effective communication means being able to communicate with people at different levels. It’s also important to recognise that different communication styles work for different people and in different situations.
My mantra is to be clear, polite and proactive and it seems to work well!
Aside from this, communication is not only verbal – it’s physical too. Body language says a lot about a person. Indeed, body language can often give mixed messages. So pay attention to what your body is saying.
Also, communication is a two-way street. You need to be open and honest in your communication style, but you need to allow your employees air-time too. (This way they can tell you if your body language is saying something different!)
Encourage conversation. Recognise the people who need to be invited to have their say, as opposed to those who will happily tell you what they think without prompting.
Authentic communication creates a sense of union and belonging. More than anything you should want your employees to feel like they can talk to you.
Training and development
Be an advocate for continued employee development and training. Unfortunately, ongoing development can often fall by the wayside. Businesses can get wrapped up dealing with the day-to-day duties; this leads to the idea that ‘we’re too busy to participate in training.’
No one should ever be too busy to further develop his or her skills. Indeed, this message alone can bolster a positive attitude. It tells employees that you think they’re worth investing in. It makes them feel appreciated.
Of course, teaching your employees new skills isn’t just about creating a positive workplace; it can seriously boost your business too.
Regular training and development can bring about new ideas; alternative ways of doing things and can breathe new life into your business’ future.
If an employee feels undervalued eventually they’ll ask themselves why they even bother to come into work each day. Perhaps one day they won’t turn up.
This isn’t the type of culture you want to create. So, by ensuring that staff feel valued and recognising their contributions, you can help keep them happy.
This doesn’t mean having an awards ceremony every other week for the sake of it! No, it’s simply about celebrating each individual employee for the contributions they bring to the team.
I remember working in HR, back when I was fresh out of Uni. Each and every week my boss would address the team at the close of business on Friday and say “thank you.” It wasn’t a long drawn-out speech, there were no bells and whistle awards handed out. She simply thanked us for all our hard work and told us how much she appreciated it.
This meant a lot to me and to this day (we’re talking 20 odd years ago) I still remember that boss fondly.
The point is; it’s essential for employers to recognise the importance of giving recognition.
A clear set of values and goals
How does a company’s core values assist in creating a positive workplace? Well, it all comes down to a clear identity and a sense of responsibility and commitment.
These are all really important measurements. For example, if a business has a solid set of values or principles, each employee can assess how well they line up with these.
Having a clear set of values and celebrating these helps create positive attitudes amongst staff members. This in turn helps to foster a positive workplace culture. In fact, a study by Deloitte discovered that companies with a clear set of values had higher growth levels than other companies.
The same rings true for company goals. If everyone knows what the goals are, they can assess how they are helping to achieve those goals. Again, good communication comes into play because employees need to be told how their efforts are stacking up.
Certainly, there are several other factors that help to create a positive workplace culture, but some depend on the business and its structure. For example, flexibility is highly prized but offering flexible working arrangements might not work for all businesses. Similarly, not all companies can afford to send their employees on regular training courses. However, this doesn’t mean that training and development goes out the window.
Initiatives can be put into place where employees shadow each other to learn about a different part of the business. If new systems are introduced, all employees can be trained up rather than just one.
There are many ways to foster continued development without huge expenses or time away from the business. Let’s not forget, this is only one characteristic of a positive workplace.
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