Creating a positive work environment is one of the most important responsibilities that you, as a business leader or owner, hold. It is your job to make your employees feel safe, appreciated, and excited each and every day. While this may feel like a high stakes responsibility, it doesn’t have to!
Many business owners tend to see other brands give their employees flashy gifts or all-expenses paid vacations and think that they need to find a way to compete with that. This is simply not true. Through our research, the Summa Media team has found that the brands with best company cultures and the happiest employees achieve this through much simpler means. Sure expensive presents are nice, but do they make up for an otherwise toxic work environment? The Summa Media team doesn’t think so.
Building a positive work environment for your employees is much simpler than you may think. It all really comes down to making your employees feel valued, appreciated, seen, and respected.
To help ensure you are encouraging the healthiest work environment possible, the Summa Media team is excited to share the 7 simple ways we foster a positive work environment. Each of these strategies is effective and easy enough to start implementing today!
7 Simple Ways to Foster a Positive Work Environment
- Prioritize Onboarding and Training
One of the most important things you can do as a leader to foster a positive work environment is prioritizing onboarding for your new employees and continuous training for all of your team members. Ineffective onboarding programs leave new employees lost and confused in their roles, leading to high turnover in an organization.
An effective onboarding program lasts anywhere from one to six weeks and can vary within an organization depending on the department and seniority level of the hire. All onboarding programs should include detailed overviews of:
- Internal Policies
- Meeting Observation
- Document Review
Remember that training does not stop after the onboarding period. Continuous learning and development opportunities that help encourage employee growth have been proven to increase employee retention and satisfaction.
- Offer Flexibility and Understanding
Your employees are first and foremost human beings with responsibilities and obligations outside of the office. As a leader it is crucial that you acknowledge this by providing your employees with flexibility and understanding to meet their other commitments.
Your employees will come to you with many requests for time off, work from home days, or an early departure during their tenure with you. Whether they need to work from home at the last minute to care for a sick child or leave an hour early to squeeze in a dentist appointment, life happens!
Don’t create an environment where your employees are afraid to ask for this flexibility. Instead, let your employees know that you understand that life happens, as long as they are open and honest about their needs, you will be happy to meet them where they are.
- Check-In Regularly
We are all juggling a million different plates at once. This often means that conversations with our employees or coworkers are strictly business, only focusing on exactly what we need in that particular moment. Although this is of course an efficient way to operate, it certainly isn’t a friendly one!
Take the time to ask your team members and colleagues about their weekend, their kids, or their favorite hobby. Doing so shows that you care about them and their happiness, fostering a closer community within your company.
- Say Thank You
As managers or business owners, we expect our employees to do their job and do it well. After all, isn’t that what we are paying them for?
Although this is of course true, no one wants to do a thankless task, even if it is technically in their job description. To help foster a positive work environment say thank you to your employees! They are putting their best foot forward every single day in order to help you build your dream and they absolutely deserve to be recognized for that.
Add more thank yous into your daily vocabulary and find little ways to show your appreciation. Did an employee go above and beyond on a project? Send them a Starbucks gift card! Did a peer pick up the slack when you were out sick? Send them a handwritten note and their favorite candy bar. Saying thank you is simple and goes a long way.
- Encourage Ideas and Input
One of the key ways you can help foster a positive work environment within your organization is by encouraging your employees to share their ideas and contribute to discussions! Your employees want to feel seen and heard and one of the best ways to do so is by giving them a chance to join in on conversations.
When encouraging employee contributions, it is also important to bring respect into the equation. You may not be able to act on every single idea that comes your way, but it is important to respect each idea. Treat your employees thoughts kindly and give them the consideration that they deserve. Doing so will ensure that you are creating the right type of work environment.
- Celebrate Big (and Small) Wins
Don’t forget to celebrate all of the wins that come your team’s way, both big and small! Land that big new client? Throw some confetti! Complete a project ahead of schedule? Treat the team to happy hour!
Recognizing the wins, thanking your team for their hard work, and carving out time to celebrate and congratulate is crucial in fostering a positive work environment. It makes your employees feel like what they are doing matters and that you appreciate all of their hard work.
- Have Fun Together!
All work and no play is not the way to foster a positive work environment. Don’t forget to create a culture of fun within your organization too! Treat your team to fun outings like lunches, happy hours, and baseball games to help encourage team camaraderie outside of the office. And although it might be tough to get the team in person together right now, there are plenty of opportunities for virtual happy hours and game nights to make everyone feel connected while we are apart!
No matter what type of business you run, I think we can all agree that fostering a positive work environment is a major key to longterm success. If you are a leader who prides themself on the positive work environment they have created, the Summa Media team would love to hear from you. Sound off with your tips for building a happy workplace in the comments below!
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