A positive work culture is an essential aspect of a healthy workplace. Developing a positive work culture can increase employee retention and productivity, as employees with less stress tend to work harder and are more likely to collaborate as a team. The majority of the day is spent at work, and leaders can make a huge impact by deciding to intentionally foster a positive work culture. Although creating this culture requires effort, it is worthwhile because disengaged employees can drain the company.

Building A Positive Environment

While there are many current work perk fads, an overall positive physical environment isn't just about ping pong tables or pet-friendly workplaces. A positive work environment permeates through all aspects of the job, including consideration being given to work-life balance. [Learn more in 13 Impactful Workplace Health and Wellness Initiatives].

Employers should commit to continually evaluate their employees’ stress levels and provide reasonable accommodation to alleviate that stress, such as flextime policies. From a practical perspective, employees' job descriptions should be reviewed to ensure staff can appropriately manage the expectations of their role. Additional, ongoing learning to help them do their job well should be offered.

Since job descriptions provide a structural framework for staff, it is essential for that framework to be realistic and achievable. This allows staff to be fully engaged in their role, with a complete understanding of expectations. Insofar as it is vital for employees to engage in their individual roles, it is just as important for staff to fully understand their role in the context of the organization as a whole. By openly communicating about the company's mission and values, staff know how they contribute to the larger mission of the company. By opening the global perspective of the organization, the staff will be engaged with the “why” of your company.

Keep Your Staff In Mind — And Offer Frequent Encouragement

In addition to the commitment to the organization mandate, a positive staff culture is built through the intentional affirmation of employee talents and skills. For example, in team meetings, it is beneficial to infuse encouragement into the regular agenda. By recognizing employees’ unique contributions, this builds stronger connections between staff and the organization. Staff are more likely to be invested in a company that recognizes their qualities rather than one in which they feel like a mere cog in the proverbial machine. In practice, it is important to invest time in celebrating staff accomplishments, birthdays, work anniversaries and commendable achievements. When their efforts are acknowledged, employees are more likely to go above and beyond.

A strength-based leader is supportive and encourages positive communication. A strengths-based focus embraces assets and emphasizes the positive, consequently empowering staff to be confident in their role. In addition, when adjustment is required, staff will be more likely to heed correction when it is in the context of their whole effectiveness. Reinforcing strengths will undoubtedly infuse confident attitudes in staff to further foster individual and agency-wide cohesive competency.

Creating Positivity From The Top Down

Positive staff culture is only feasible if it is both upheld and modelled by the organizations’ leadership. Leaders need to mirror the culture they want to implement. Prior to a culture shift, leaders should clarify the specific identifiers of the culture they wish to cultivate. [Learn more in The Key Elements To A Healthy Office Workspace].

It is crucial for leaders to develop a clear vision alongside practical steps to achieve that mission. Additionally, clear communication with staff will facilitate a consistent implementation of the curated vision. As a leader, it is helpful to employ an open-door policy to your office. This allows staff to have and utilize their voices, simultaneously developing an opportunity to acknowledge gaps and collaboratively cultivate solutions. Be open and transparent about the state of the company; people will be more engaged when they have all the information. This includes the financial state of the organization and plans for future engagement. While staff do not require intricate details, it is important staff that feel part of the agency’s future.

Dealing With Conflict

Even within a positive staff culture, conflict is inevitable. It is the responsibility of the leadership to maintain a strengths-based, positive staff culture amidst conflict through the expression of vulnerability and openness. Employers should refrain from judgment and preserve the emphasis on learning from conflict in order to move forward in a healthy and positive way.

Leaders can ensure conflict is handled appropriately and respectfully by giving voice to all parties involved and partner in initiating appropriate resolution. It is essential that pervasive negative attitudes or toxic behaviour are adequately addressed in both the staff and management. A positive work culture cannot be sustained if there are gaps in organization engagement.

The Benefits Of A Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture ensures employees are engaged at all levels of the organization. It is integral for leaders to intentionally develop a positive work culture to reduce staff turnover and grow productivity levels. A positive work culture is directly correlated with employee satisfaction, contributing to a more stable organization. Leaders can model the culture they want to generate by focusing on the positives of their staff.