Establishing a positive workplace culture can make a huge difference in your productivity and the productivity of your team. Without a cohesive working environment, it is difficult to be motivated, creative and happy. You need a strong foundation to maximize your efficiencies and to empower your team to achieve greatness.
When reflecting on your business or organizational culture, look inwards. Ask yourself, what does success look like? What denotes a happy organization? Does your team measure success the same way you do?
Do you have a happy working environment? A simple way to check to see if you do is to listen for the laughter. Is anyone laughing and enjoying their work day? Are people smiling and genuinely happy to be around? If you answered yes, that is a good indication you are on the right track. If you answered no or you aren’t sure, perhaps it’s time to really reflect and ensure the strategies you put in place help you to reach your goals.
Let’s look at Joe’s story. Joe has a team of six people who show up to work every day and do what they are told to do, consistently. Joe’s customers are happy with the results because his team does good work. However, Joe has reflected on the questions above and decided that things could be better. He feels that his team members could be solving problems on their own, that they could be thinking about the efficiencies of running a business and that they could be making better choices to create those efficiencies. Joe believes that if they could focus on the big picture of the company, they could see the same measurable successes he does. Instead of clocking off the job as soon as the shift has ended, Joe’s team would be more focused on overall results and efficiencies to help shape a productive company. Joe knows what he wants to achieve, he just doesn’t know how to get there.
Does this sound familiar? Follow these 5 tips to help you change your perspective.
1. Start with why. Why does your business exist? Why do you do what you do? Ensure your team has the same understanding and that you are all starting from the same page.
2. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. Do they feel empowered by you? Would you be motivated if you were in their position?
3. Be aware that there are many layers to culture that you cannot see. Everyone comes to the team with different values, experiences, behaviours, personalities, etc., and these layers combined create a unique DNA for your organization. It is possible that certain people may not be a good fit within your culture, so it’s best to identify who fits and who doesn’t. Strong leadership is being able to effectively guide and direct your team within one cohesive and well-synced culture despite differences.
4. Recognize accomplishments. Recognition can be in the form of verbal validation, monetary value or simple acts of kindness. Ensure your team members know that you are thinking about them and that they matter. Companies with an “employee-first” mindset offer higher levels of customer satisfaction because their employees are happy and treated well.
5. If you haven’t done it already, create a list of core values that reflect what your organization represents and what you believe in. What values are important to you and allow you to deliver high levels of quality to your clients. Work with your team to define or re-define these values and ensure they are prominently displayed for your team to see regularly. Most importantly, ensure that all of your decisions and those made by your team are guided by your company’s core values. Your values are your unique identifier; the fingerprint of your organization.