We all know the importance of having a positive workplace culture. When your employees feel happy, safe and appreciated at work, productivity increases and so does the quality of work. You experience less frequent turnover and create a staff that is committed to helping your company achieve long-term goals. Changing a negative workplace culture, however, is no small feat. When a team has historically lead with bad habits leading to a negative culture, it can be hard to know where to start making a difference. If you are finding yourself in a position of needing to change some things around the office, here are some first steps you might take. We’ve compiled 12 tips, to start improving your workplace culture, here. Keep reading to find out more!
1. Give Your Employees a Voice
It’s hard to create a workplace culture where your employees needs feel met when you don’t know what their needs are. It’s important to give your team a space where they can share their thoughts, opinions and desires for the company. Use a survey platform like 15Five to gather feedback from your employees regarding what you’re doing well and what they would like more of. Ask what needs they have as far as benefits and culture go. Start listening, before you start making changes.
2. Prioritize Mental Health
Studies have shown that, while most people feel mental health is a priority, they are hesitant to ask for mental health days or put their mental health before their job. Setting the example and showing your employees you value their health will create better culture and ensure your team is able to give their best every day. Try implementing mental health days as a type of PTO employees can request. Or create a “no questions asked” policy. There are lots of ways to show your team you care about them and want the office to be a safe space.
3. Set Up Perks and Benefits Your Employees Actually Want
This goes back to getting feedback and giving your people a voice. Ask about the benefits your team needs and wants and then see how you can meet that for the majority. You won’t be able to implement everything your employees ask for, but do your best to set up perks and benefits that meet the needs of most. Validate any concerns your team has and figure how you can problem-solve when necessary.
4. Eat Lunch Together
Teams that eat lunch together, stay together! This might not be possible in every office setting, but more often than not, your team is probably eating lunch around the same time. Whether people bring their lunch, pick it up somewhere or you provide catering, try and find time to sit down together and take a break to eat and converse. This will help you get to know your team better and improve workplace culture.
5. Implement a Set of Company Values
If you don’t have a set of company values already, get together with your leadership team to create them. This will help you find a starting point for what you want your workplace culture to look like and ground you as a company. Every decision you make for your company and office culture should align with those values. If it doesn’t, then try another approach.
6. Remember That The Little Things Matter
Culture isn’t built on just perks and benefits. Little things matter when it comes to actually affecting change in your workplace culture. Find ways to show your employees you appreciate them on a daily basis. Check in with them about projects. Stop by someone’s desk to say hi and ask about their week. Be understanding when they need to take a personal day. These things add up and will make your team actually want to come to work.
7. Bond With Your Team
You can’t have a positive company culture if your team doesn’t get along. You should be excited to come to work and see your coworkers and take on projects together. A great way to make this happen is through team bonding. Plan team events like happy hours or escape room challenges. Eat meals together. Learn about each others’ interests. Celebrate office birthdays and anniversaries. Create a culture that encourages spending time investing in each other.
8. Get Your Team Involved in The Hiring Process
It may seem unconventional, but including your team in the hiring process could vastly improve workplace culture at your company. When you feel confident about a candidate, bring them in and let your team meet them and ask any of their own questions. This will give you an idea of how a potential new employee will not just fit into your current culture, but add to it. It also allows the rest of the team to get excited and welcome the new person in from the get-go.
9. Keep Open Office Hours
Make yourself accessible to your employees by keeping open office hours. We all have busy schedules and it might not be convenient to have your team dropping in on you any time of day. Open office hours let people know when they can come to you with questions or concerns so that you can listen and give your full attention. It sets a boundary while still allowing your team to feel comfortable coming to you.
10. Train Your Employees
For some, this may seem like a given. However, training your employees should go beyond the initial onboarding and orientation. Create opportunities for your team to continue learning and growing throughout their time spent at the company. This could be through a lunch and learn or monthly seminars. Maybe even give your team a chance to educate each other — the possibilities are endless. Find what is right for your team.
11. Don’t Micromanage
It can be very easy to fall into a pattern of micromanaging and controlling every aspect of work happening on your team — don’t do this. Hire people who you can trust to do their jobs and then trust them to do it! Micromanaging often creates more stress, resulting in a poor culture which leads to a lower quality of output. Give your team space to breathe and check in when they need direction or approval.
12. Encourage Your Team With Positive Reinforcement
Let your team know when they are doing a good job! Don’t save this just on the days when they’ve completed a major project or done something huge. Let them know on a daily basis that you see them working hard and you appreciate the work they do. A little encouragement can go a long way.