“Workplace culture” are buzzwords that we tend to hear everywhere these days, but it’s for a good reason. Your culture can truly make or break your business, as it determines the productivity of your employees, quality of work, brand reputation, and many more factors.
If you’re just starting to grow your business, you’re in the perfect position to start creating the perfect foundation for a healthy culture to flourish and take your business to the next level. Our four quick tips about building healthy workplace culture will help guide you toward the office and environment of your dreams:
- Start from the beginning
Though the structure you provide as a manager is pivotal to your culture’s success, it all starts with the people. When hiring, your interview questions will likely vet candidates based on their technical capabilities for the role, but you should also determine a candidate’s cultural fit beforehand so there are no surprises on their first day on the job.
What type of personalities are you looking for? If you run a retail store, you’ll need bubbly, extroverted personalities. On the other hand, if you run an agency of developers or analysts, you’ll likely need more quiet, contemplative employees who won’t disturb the status quo. Your interview questions should include asking about how they work with others, how they self-motivate, and how they might deal with conflict both in their work or with others. Throughout the interview, pay attention to their energy level and overall outlook about themselves and their potential position within your business.
If you’re just starting to make hires, look for people who you feel would align with the business’ goals in five years, even if they may not be part of the team for that long. If you already have a team in place, look for people who would make a great fit in helping to motivate and inspire the team rather than bring anyone down or damper the office mood.
- Freedom is key
One of the main aspects of workplace culture is freedom. Your employees should have the freedom to ask questions, as well as the freedom to make their own decisions about their work.
To ensure this is in place, it all comes down to communication. From your end, you should make most of the decisions and updates about your business as transparent as possible with your employees. This way, your staff will feel included, and they won’t have to second guess what they’re doing or why it matters.
You should also ensure that there are multiple ways your employees can community freely with yourself or other management. Whether this is in person, online, through email, IM or phone, it should be established that anything is fair game if someone has a question or concern. This openness will also encourage employees to come forward if they feel they’ve made a mistake. Catching problems early on is always better than letting something simmer, and furthermore, your culture should emphasize the fact that mistakes can be huge learning opportunities for the entire team rather than something negative.
- Enabling collaboration
Along with freedom, your culture should also encourage collaboration. This could be structured in a variety of ways, through both your office’s physical environment as well as the tools and technology that you use. Perhaps this means designating a specific space in your office for staff from all teams to come together and share ideas, or enabling open-door policies. With either of these methods, peers can brainstorm, answer questions, and help each other grow regardless of difference in job role.
Overall, collaboration will help foster teamwork and eliminate any sense of competition.
- Encouraging morale
The previous three tips will all help encourage employee morale, but there are some additional steps you can take to ensure its embedded into your culture.
To start, a work/life balance should be encouraged and promoted through your policies and staff offerings. When employees run the risk of burnout, they’re hampering your businesses progress because they’re less likely to maintain their focus, complete quality work, or make good decisions. Instead, allow employees the opportunity of flexible hours (if possible), or opportunities to work remotely as needed. Life is constantly in flux, and your staff shouldn’t feel stress due to their appointments, life events, health or personal projects.
Stress at work is inevitable, though it shouldn’t be a constant. To help relieve the normal stressors of deadlines, clients, and customers, try to maintain the same level of positivity throughout your team. Focus on what’s going right rather than what’s going wrong, and always celebrate team members who help come up with solutions.
Once your team grows bigger, you can also identify your workplace champions, or cultural ambassadors. These are employees who naturally take on leadership roles, help other employees, and maintain a positive outlook. These employees could become mentors and help to instill your culture to additional hires.
Want hands-on help starting or growing your business?
At Pathway WBC, we work with entrepreneurs at every stage and every season of their business to help them along the way, regardless of the industry.
Come to an upcoming Blue Sky Workshop to join our growing community of entrepreneurs.