9 Tips to Improve Your Workspace Culture
Your company’s size doesn’t matter. Your company’s industry doesn’t matter. If you are unable to maintain a positive workplace culture, your best employees will run for the hills and find a place they enjoy going to every day. Your workplace culture is necessary, just as important as the steps you take to prevent worker injury and the steps you take to increase your bottom line. Every member of the leadership team plays a part in maintaining a positive workplace environment. Here’s how:
- Do not play favorites.
As childish as this may sound, even your most mature employees will feel overlooked and underappreciated if your leaders have favorite employees. Even if you and one of your employees have personal connections and interests, it is unwise to develop a personal relationship with only a select group of your employees.
Perhaps you feel that you can keep your personal relationship separate from your business relationship. While this may be true, the other employees will be looking for even the smallest signs of favoritism. If you are planning an after-work event, make sure that every person knows the details. Being included makes people feel secure and appreciated.
- Invest in employee perks
Buy snacks for your employees periodically. A mid-afternoon candy bar or soda may improve productivity. Pay attention to your employees’ habits and health concerns if you provide snacks or meals. Don’t always order from Panera if you have an employee with a gluten allergy. Don’t always bring in Starbucks if you have several employees who don’t drink coffee. Provide high-protein snacks for staff members with diabetes.
- Be creative with the perks your employees might enjoy.
Hire a masseuse to come in a few times a month. Clean off your employees’ cars at the end of a snowy day. Bring in a few cases of beer or bottles of wine once a month. Purchase a gym membership for each employee.
- Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions
Whenever there are groups of people involved, there will be conflict. If you are the leader of your organization, you may need to make difficult decisions where the outcome may leave one employee or department upset. Listen to both sides of the conflict, and then make a clear decision on the matter. Communicate your decision clearly with your employees. Sometimes it may be helpful to give your employees the reasoning for your choice, but other times that may not be necessary. Be a strong leader, and even if your employees may be angry at your decision, they will at least respect you for making it.
- Celebrate with your employees.
Acknowledge work anniversaries and birthdays. Celebrate every new baby and wedding. It may seem as if you are celebrating all the time, but what’s wrong with that? On the other hand, make sure to acknowledge when an employee is facing a difficult time. Perhaps he or she has received a scary diagnosis or lost a close family member. Providing gift cards to restaurants is such an easy thing to do to show your employee that you care.
- Periodically plan fun events inside or outside the workplace.
Have fun workplace contests, such as chili cook-offs or games in which departments compete on the most steps walked in a given week. Plan potlucks and company picnics. Have a holiday party and give out prizes.
- Reward employees for good performance
Every business has those employees who rarely take time off work. They create no drama. They quietly do their job without fanfare and celebration. Don’t overlook your quiet, perhaps shy, employees. Even though you may not want to call them out for a job well done at a company meeting, you could surprise them with a gift card on their desk one morning. Consider doing this for the employees whose pay does not alter depending on their performance. While salespeople are rewarded for hard work by having bigger commission checks, some employees may have to work harder to meet deadlines periodically without any extrinsic award. Pay attention to those workers.
- Do not tolerate bullying.
Bullying occurs in many workplaces. Even preschool teachers with strong personalities may bully others who have more of a meek character. If you are the manager, nip bullying in the bud as soon as you see it occurring. One employee can intimidate another by not including him or her on important decisions. Bullied employees can feel useless or underused. Bullied employees can be given the worst tasks or responsibilities. Bullies can intentionally create conflicts between employees. Bullies give unreasonable criticism.
- Make your employees feel valued.
Thank your employees periodically. Give them specific, heartfelt compliments. Even though a massage is nice, kind words to your employees can go far.