Allison Hutton

How to Improve Your Workplace Culture

Your business’s workplace culture can have a massive impact on the success of your business. But cultivating an environment where employees are engaged, productive and healthy takes more than a value statement and casual Fridays.

Here are steps you can take to help create (and reap the benefits of) a good workplace culture.

The Dangers of Poor Culture

While it can be tempting to think that employee attitudes are one thing and the work they do for the company is another, in reality they’re intimately connected, influencing each other in powerful feedback loops. Your business can greatly benefit if employees have the flexibility to attend to their responsibilities both in and outside of the office.

CNBC notes that in a wider culture that rewards “work addiction,” many employees sacrifice health, happiness and relationships in order to be viewed as successful contributors in the workplace. Employees in this environment can become chronically stressed and at risk for a range of issues, from high blood pressure and gastrointestinal problems to insomnia and substance abuse.

And such issues, of course, have financial repercussions for both employees and the business. It could lead to increased health care costs for all parties. As employees feel the physical and mental toll of stress, their productivity is likely to decrease. High-quality employees may simply decide it’s not worth it anymore and head for the exit, leaving you without the talent required to run a successful business.

Improving Workplace Culture

Fortunately, you can take control of your company culture. Here are four manageable suggestions that can help build a better employee experience.

  • Stay flexible: Is it essential that your employees work a strict 9-to-5 schedule? Consider implementing a flexible hours policy so employees can balance their priorities. After all, allowing someone to start work a little later isn’t likely to topple your business, but it could make a huge difference in the life of a parent who needs to take their child to school.
  • Provide a sense of purpose: Employees who are doubtful about the company’s future will struggle to stay engaged, so show them how their work is driving the success of the business. At the same time, leverage your mission or values statement to remind them of the good they can do in the world.
  • Clear a path: Employees aren’t just concerned about the company’s future — they want to know that they have room to grow there, too. Make it possible for employees to continue to learn and improve through training and development opportunities. When employees can see they’re progressing toward career goals, they’ll come to work more hopeful and motivated.
  • Set boundaries: Protect against burnout by determining workloads that afford employees the opportunity to put in enough time and effort to be proud of their work. Likewise, make sure that all your employees are sufficiently challenged by their work, since boredom and disengagement are close cousins — and both bring company culture down.
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When employee engagement activities and initiatives like these aren’t enough, be sure to tackle the problem directly by referring overstressed employees to the mental health tools and resources available through your health plan. After all, not every factor that plays into company culture originates within the workplace. Help your employees effectively manage the stressors that they bring to work with them. Reminding them of the investment you’ve made in their health and well-being can only add to the positivity they feel about their work.

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