How to Cultivate a Positive Work Culture

August 4, 2021 - 8 minutes read

The business world can be competitive and cut-throat. Unfortunately, these values (high-stakes, high-stress, high pressure) often make their way into workplace culture. But rather than promoting productivity and a healthy mindset, these attitudes create a toxic work culture that can ultimately eat into your bottom line. 

A high-pressure work culture can lead to: 

  • Higher healthcare costs and absenteeism due to stress. 
  • Employee disengagement, which can increase errors and accidents while hindering productivity. 
  • A high turnover rate. Not surprisingly, employees don’t want to work in an environment where they don’t feel valued or respected. 
  • You feeling totally lost on how to grow your business if you can’t seem to keep the right people in the right seat. 

Cultivating a positive work culture is a team effort – and it will be an effort. But the results are well worth it. Positive work cultures can attract top talent and improve employee retention. Here are four ways to start building a positive work culture. 

1.  Identify Your Values and Lead By Example

To build a positive work culture, you must first understand your organization’s values. 

  • What is your team working to achieve? (the greater purpose) 
  • What is your mission or the source of motivation that will get employees excited about their jobs? 
  • What are your core values? (i.e., how will everyone work together?) 
  • Identifying your values is the first and most crucial step because they give you a better understanding of the culture you want to create. Once you have established these values, you need to ensure that leaders are setting an example. Why? Because team members will take their cues from leaders.  

Every aspect of your employees’ experience should be reflective of your company values and beliefs. If your goal is to create a positive work culture, those in leadership roles must embody these values and beliefs. 

2. Make Sure that Employees Feel Valued

Cultivating a positive work environment goes beyond offering perks and incentives. Employees want to feel valued. They want to know that their contributions are making a difference. 

When employees feel valued, they are more likely to:

  • Stick around
  • Perform at their best
  • Feel fulfilled 

According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, more than 90% of workers who feel valued are also motivated to perform at their best. 

But how do you make your employees feel valued? Here are some tips:

  • Ask for their input and ideas. Not only will this open the door to new ideas, but it will also make employees feel that their insights are meaningful and valued.
  • Communicate often and recognize accomplishments. If you want your team to perform at their best, leaders need to become cheerleaders and efforts need to be acknowledged. If an employee is doing a great job, let them know.
  • Show appreciation. When goals are met, reward your employees. After all, it is their hard work and effort that helped the organization meet its goal.
  • Care about your team’s wellbeing. Employees should know that you care about more than just the results they produce.
  • Help your team understand their role in the organization’s greater purpose. When employees feel that their work is making a difference, they will feel more valued and fulfilled.

3. Improve Your Work Environment

Many employers underestimate the importance of creating a positive, comfortable work environment. It can be challenging to do your best work and keep a healthy mindset when your workplace is disruptive and uncomfortable. Creating a space that helps employees stay focused, happy and comfortable can impact productivity and create a more positive work environment.

Employees should look forward to coming into the workplace. Bright, open, and thoughtfully planned spaces promote creativity and fuel motivation. Conversely, dark and cold workspaces can make employees feel fatigued and unhappy.

  • Focus on ergonomics. Offer adjustable standing desks. Ensure that chairs and computer screens can be adjusted for comfort and wellbeing. 
  • Limit disruptions. Distractions and noise can make it challenging for employees to stay focused and on task. 
  • Incorporate natural light and greenery. Research has shown that high levels of natural light can improve employee sleep quality. When your team is well-rested, they’re more likely to be happy and productive. Likewise, incorporating greenery into your workplace can help improve focus, reduce stress and lift your team’s mood.

Building a positive work culture requires a multifaceted approach. The physical work environment is just as important as the interactions between co-workers and management. Making small changes to your workplace can have a significant impact on performance and mood. 

4. Encourage Learning and Experimentation

When you prioritize learning and professional development, you set your employees up for success over the long-term. In today’s technology-driven world, industries are constantly evolving, and your team needs to keep up with these changes and developments. In addition, it’s much easier to retain talent and provide fulfillment when employees have access to the resources and training that they need to do their jobs. 

Encouraging informal learning (consulting with co-workers/managers or striking up conversations) and offering opportunities for professional development can help build a positive work culture.  

There are several ways to cultivate a culture of learning, such as: 

  • Using collaborative platforms where employees can share ideas and helpful content. 
  • Taking advantage of e-learning platforms. Employees can improve their skills or learn new ones at their own pace and according to their own schedule. 
  • Encourage experimentation. If ideas don’t work as planned, embrace failure. Your team should understand that failure is a learning opportunity. 
  • Try the 80/20 rule, much like Google has, where employees work 80% of the time on key projects and 20% of the time on creative side projects. Some of the biggest companies in technology have replicated Google’s rule to keep employees happy and fulfilled.

Shared learning experiences can also help your team form deeper connections and ensure that everyone moves in the same direction. 

Having a skilled team also means that your business can better compete in your industry. It’s a win-win for both you and your employees.

Click here to schedule a call and discuss your business development goals.

The Bottom Line

A positive work culture will help improve employee retention, productivity and ultimately, your bottom line. When employees feel valued and respected, they put their best foot forward and feel motivated to work towards your higher purpose.