A positive work culture relies on a core tenet that workers are the most important single asset of any company. Work situations can quickly turn toxic when the stated, or unstated, expectation is that each team member must go one better with each project. If a worker is only as good as his last triumph, it won’t be long before he will be looking over his shoulder, wondering who is gaining on him. This defeats the point of working together to build a strong company.
Here are four strategies you can use to encourage an accepting and positive company culture.
1. Avoid playground politics.
Who’s in, who’s out—this is not motivating for employees. You end up with a boiler-room mentality, with each worker out for himself and always updating his resume. Talented team members will leave at the first chance. They know their value and refuse to get sucked in by the negative energy.
Create an inclusive environment. It fosters efficiency and creativity. Jobs get done well and on time, your clients are happy, your company succeeds. Encourage teamwork and avoid secrecy. This keeps everyone on the same page, feeling empowered and valued.
2. Reward performance.
Let ambitious, talented employees move ahead. If you let them take the next step, they will stay around. If not, there is always another company out there who is more than willing to hire a trained, gifted worker, leaving you to spend the time, energy and money to find and train a replacement.
When you routinely promote from within, rewarding excellence, it sends a clear message to the rest of the workforce. They think, “If she can do it, so can I.” On the other hand, if skilled staff are stymied, the message is equally loud and clear to others, prompting thoughts like “Time to start looking. There’s no future here.”
Give each worker regular feedback more often than just at the annual review. Let him know how he can reach the next grade up. Be clear about the exact steps he needs to take to get there and offer ongoing help.
3. The environment influences performance.
Make your building and each office, conference room, lunch roomsand waiting area inviting and attractive. Keep clutter to a minimum. Keep the rooms clean and welcoming. Just like a home, the company environment has a major impact on employee morale and productivity.
A light-filled, open environment encourages team work and collaboration. When it’s time for deep thought and focused work, let staff have access to comfortable cubicles and private office space.
4. Open door, open communication.
Make sure that management is receptive to, and encourages, interactions with employees at all levels. Managers need to keep in touch with the day-to-day work environment. This helps them understand what is going on and how workers experience the daily grind. This information can drive change and promote actions that help make the workplace more efficient.
Shoulder-to-shoulder is the best type of work environment. People are automatically on the same page, linked together in a common goal, using the same tactics, tools and strategies to bring success to the company. It encourages the exchange of ideas and brainstorming to solve current and impending problems.