“Nobody is great by themselves, and you’re no better than your team”
– John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO of Whole Foods
In today’s demanding business climate, we spend half our lives at work. These hours in the work bubble can be full of stressors, challenges, and uncertainty. Now, more than ever, it is important to set your business up for success by creating a positive work environment.
While everyone in the workplace effects the “office vibe”, it is the employer who is responsible for establishing and maintaining a healthy and happy office culture. Here are a few tactics that can help foster a positive workspace:
1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Space
The leader of the workplace has a huge influence on the people around them. Therefore, it falls to the bosses, managers, and leads to set the tone and create an inclusive environment within the workplace. Make it known that inclusion and diversity are a priority at your workplace by supporting all employees both culturally and professionally. This requires creating safe, reliable outlets for employees to discuss or report any inappropriate behaviours.
A workplace also depends on the physical and mental wellbeing of its employees. Wherever possible, ensure that your workspace is set up to promote healthy work practices. Maintaining an agreeable temperature and providing ergonomic chairs or standing desks is a great way to keep employees comfortable throughout the day. Be sure to encourage your staff to take regular breaks, socialize, and get some fresh air, as these small things will increase productivity in the long run.
2. Prioritize Success
It is important to set your employees up for success from the get-go. New hires should not feel that the “every man for themselves” mentality dominates the workplace. This kind of work culture will not produce high performing individuals who will grow the success of the company. To ensure an employee’s success from the moment they come on board, new hires should be introduced and trained through immersive onboarding practices. On the flip side, do not neglect your current team either! Focus efforts on ongoing learning by providing in-office training while also encouraging and facilitating career development outside of the workplace.
3. Go Beyond the Open-Door Policy
It is important to have an open-door policy between a boss and their employees. Open communication is the foundation of any high functioning business. As the leader of the office, you can take these policies one step further. Check in with your staff, seek them out for one-on-one meetings to discuss their experience within the business and ask for their opinions on areas that can be improved upon. Include employees in decisions that directly affect them, such as changes to office policies or worker benefits. Most importantly, when an employee raises an issue, follow up with that staff member after the issue has been addressed. Let your employees know that you have heard them and that you are invested in the solutions to their problems.
4. Praise in Public
Celebrate your employees’ successes openly and save the criticism for private, closed door conversations. Not only will criticizing employees in public embarrass the individual, it also creates a destructive, negative workplace culture. When you do have to reprimand an employee, do your best to turn negatives into opportunities to learn and improve. Alternatively, use praise to motivate employees. Make a note of employee success and acknowledge that success in front of their colleagues. Increased confidence in their work and ability to contribute to the team’s success, as well as support from higher-ups, will create happy (and successful) employees.
5. Grow from Within
Companies that promote from within are much more likely to have an enthusiastic and driven work staff. It shows that the company is invested in their professional development, and that there is opportunity for growth. Foster this mentality in your own company. Use clear goals to motivate and drive your staff, encouraging growth within your own ranks. Provide your employees with opportunities for career development in their current roles and beyond. As mentioned earlier, ongoing training is paramount to both the success of the employee and the business itself. Offer employees programs or time off to attend programs which train in personal and professional development. Growing your employees’ hard and soft skills translates into indispensable resources for your company, advancing your business.