In a climate of continuous innovation, unpredictable changes and fast-paced social dynamics, molding a high-performing work culture is a step both small and large businesses can’t skip. In particular, a positive work environment, as stated by Harvard Business Review, can lead to huge benefits for employees, employers and the bottom line.
A workplace culture is the system of knowledge, values, beliefs and assumptions shared by individuals in the same company. It is equally shaped by individual upbringing, cultural and social context, as well as by the leadership, management and strategic organizational directions. It’s much more than nice coffee break rooms and ping-pong tables. In fact, a real work culture is built around strong values and missions that unite all team members. Moreover, it has to be fostered by transparent communication where clear performance objectives are set and best practices are applied.
A well-established culture can raise morale, improve teamwork, boost productivity and efficiency, and ensure retention of high-performing employees. According to Glassador’s work sentiment survey 58% of employees and job seekers consider work culture as superior to salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
Hence, the workplace should be where employees are engaged, able to collaborate with one another and feel supported. It starts from the top down and, as such, it’s an important top priority area for every leader who wants their business to thrive.
In this article we will share with you 5 tips on how to boost your work culture in 2021 to help you achieve a positive work environment.
Why Boosting Your Work Culture Is Important
Your work culture can be a strong differentiating factor for your organization. When the business and personal values are aligned, you can unleash a tremendous amount of positive and productive energy towards a shared purpose, thus nurturing your company’s capacity to thrive.
A strong company culture fosters cooperation between team members and positively affects productivity levels. Employees are the backbone of any organization – the happier and more satisfied they are, the better business leads they will attract, and the more motivated they will be. When employees put forth all their best efforts and more, projects can be completed quicker and more effectively.
Additionally, work culture has a significant impact on brand perception. Consumers value businesses that protect the well-being of their employees and job seekers prefer companies that really care about them. So, if your organization has the reputation of a good workplace you will be able to boost sales, attract superior talent and motivate your current employees to stay with you for longer.
Here are 5 areas to focus on when improving your work culture and making sure your business is truly performing well.
1. Reassure Your Employees How Valuable They Are
When your team members come first to you, they will take good care of your business. Making your employees proud to be part of your organization goes beyond just providing them with good benefits. While the latter are important for rewarding your team’s effort, it’s also beneficial to foster open and transparent communication with them, as well as initiatives that can help them grow professionally and personally.
Motivating your employees to share their thoughts and opinions on company projects and practices can make them feel valued, connected, respected, and supported. In particular, some good practices are:
- Communicate openly and frequently – Set clear performance expectations and KPIs and give your employees recognition. Making your people assume that they are doing a good or bad job will lead to a lot of frustration, and even them leaving your company.
- Encourage effort – Encouragement and motivation go together. Employees feel valued when their hard work is recognized and applauded. Some goals require a tremendous amount of dedication to be reached. They also require encouragement which will keep the good energy levels up.
- Celebrate their successes – Valuing your team players means appreciating all the experience, insights and advice they’ve gained that allows them to be performing at their best. So celebrate not only their service in your organization, but their person as a whole – their personality, expertise and strong character.
- Foster upskilling initiatives – Expert industry knowledge is essential for ensuring your business thrives, but it should not only be considered in the hiring process. Upskilling your employees is a smart way to show them that you value their intelligence and that you want to help them build up on it.
- Connect to the overall company purpose – Your team members will feel more valued and motivated when they have understood their part in the large scheme of things in your company. Connecting their efforts with the overall purpose of your business is thus an important step to take.
- Promote a good work-life balance – Promoting a good work-life balance is a great way to show your team some appreciation. A pause is valuable when celebrating a job well done as well as for allowing employees’ to rejuvenate either energy, passion and motivation.
- Look beyond credentials – Balancing soft and hard skills is important for building a high-performing team and oftentimes this means looking beyond your employees credentials. It can happen that some of your best workers are not those with extensive experiences or impressive university degrees, but rather the ones that you can guide and nurture.
By demonstrating that your team members are a vital part of your organization, you would be able to improve productivity and lower the risk of them running away to seek something better.
2. Promote Autonomy, Accountability and Responsibility
If you want to empower your employees to be problem-solvers and self-starters it’s important that you give them autonomy. Micromanaging your team will send them a signal that you don’t trust them, which can lead to disengagement and poor work satisfaction. What is more, it can lower morale, stifle innovation, and kill creativity.
To ensure that autonomy yields the desired results and that business objectives are met, it’s necessary you make it part of your work culture. Otherwise it might be a blind spot for your organization.
Start by defining what autonomy means for your organization and be flexible with your employees. You can allow them to shape their work environment in a way that helps them perform to the best of their ability. However, make sure that they are well aware of the responsibilities they hold and the accountability they should have.
Autonomy doesn’t mean lack of guidance, working in isolation or doing whatever you want whenever you want. It means fostering a positive work environment based on trust, respect, integrity and dependability. Done right it will foster resilience and proactivity, which are critical for both team work and business success.
3. Promote Collaboration and Teamwork
Creating an environment of collaboration and teamwork is an important factor of ensuring that your team members thrive. When your work culture is promoting a teamwork mindset your employees will naturally feel part of a bigger cause and be motivated to put their best efforts in advancing your company.
Cultivating team cohesion starts with openness and transparency. There is no need to disclose every single detail with every single employee, but keeping everyone in a general loop of what’s happening in your company is important for building loyalty and boosting productivity.
Be open about the strategic objectives and challenges your organization may be facing. This way everyone will be working together to effectively meet the same important business goals.
Promote prosocial behaviour by ensuring your management and employees’ words and actions can help others. When there’s praise to be given – share it. In case a problem occurs – address it.
Let your teammates know that you’re a big family and whenever someone needs help they shouldn’t feel afraid to ask. Be empathetic and offer your support. This will help your team stay on top of their game, while keeping productivity levels relevantly stable.
4. Ensure Management Walks the Talk
Improving work culture by linking business values, mission and purpose should be of equally the responsibility of your employees as of your management and leadership.
If your organization has an ‘open door’ policy, or is thinking of adopting one, it’s important to take steps to keep it in place. Make employees feel comfortable about talking to you when something significant is bothering them, be it about their work or some aspects of their personal life that can affect their performance. Allow them to give their own feedback about what they consider to be working well within your organization and what needs improving. Listen well and act accordingly.
Ensure that your leadership and management teams stay engaged when an employee wants to take up on the ‘open door’ policy. Your team’s opinions are extremely valuable when creating a good work culture and if the discussion cannot happen at that moment, reschedule for a later time. They might have a very important point to make or surprise you with an amazing idea.
Additionally, spend time connecting with your team members. Get to know them on a more personal level and make your workplace and culture a natural extension of who they are. By allowing your people to be authentic, they’ll be happier, more motivated and more productive.
5. Embrace Technology
Although a healthy and productive work culture is mostly fostered with the help of soft skills, you shouldn’t neglect the benefits that technology can bring.
Investing in technology that enables easy and quick connections between team members can greatly improve your organization. Effective communication is essential for boosting performance and productivity. So, it can be a smart investment to adopt a company-wide messaging system. This will help ensure that employees are connected with one another at all times and that they have well-rounded support, whenever they need it.
Since technology is a great asset for improving business productivity and performance, it’s also a good idea to adopt process management software. By tracking employee’s progress on projects you can identify any problematic areas or inefficiencies and address them before it’s too late.
Additionally, you can leverage customer relationship management (CRM) technology. This can offer an additional boost to internal communications as well as to your customer relationship strategy. Improved work culture and happy employees means better treatment of your customers. What is more, it will help foster long-lasting relationships between a business and their consumers which can later be converted into sales.
An improved work culture will bring great benefits to everyone in your organization. It will strengthen team spirit, foster better collaborations, and boost productivity and performance.
Whenever you implement new changes keep in mind that you should not go too fast or push too hard. Your employees will welcome innovation when they know that it will have a positive outcome.
Make room for your team members to be their best and authentic selves. Support them along the way and provide them with all the resources and opportunities needed to perform to the maximum of their abilities.