Struggling to create a workplace culture or environment that is conducive to productivity and teamwork? We’ve got some tips to help you build team spirit and develop better relationships with your employees.
Nowadays, fostering a positive work environment is more important than ever, as employees spend more and more time behind computer screens and less time engaged in actual human interaction. Creating a workplace culture in which your employees look forward to coming to work can have many benefits to your organisation, including increased productivity, reduced turnover rates, and better communication. Read on to discover 6 effective ways to establish a positive work environment.
Research conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management found that half of senior outside hires quit within the first 18 months of employment, whereas half of all hourly workers leave their new jobs within the first 4 months. This makes it absolutely essential for companies to understand the importance of establishing a proper onboarding program that helps new employees feel welcomed and involved right from the get-go.
Obviously, not all organisations have the manpower to organise month-long onboarding programs for their new hires, but companies should set out the first two weeks of a new employee’s tenure at the very least. This could include allowing new hires to shadow veteran employees, asking them to sit in on various meetings, or even providing them with a specific mentor who can answer any sort of questions that they might have about company processes.
In general, find opportunities to help the new hire interact and socialise with his or her new teammates. Not everyone is outgoing enough to make friends in a new environment, which means it’s crucial for companies to do as much as possible to ease what can sometimes be an awkward and painful process.
Employees should always be made to feel that their voice matters and carries value, as it’s the best way for them to be shown that their opinions actually affect how the company operates. Onboarding and initial training should provide new hires with a clear vision of what the company’s philosophy, mission, and values are, but it doesn’t hurt to occasionally remind veteran employees of what they’re working towards, apart from their salary.
Building a system of transparent communication between employees and management also fosters trust and belonging in a work environment, as employees will be able to suggest ideas and provide constructive criticism to help the company grow as a whole. Again, this can only happen if workers feel as though their voices are being heard and that the company is taking tangible actions after listening to their advice.
Transparent communication can also prevent a lot of common workplace mishaps and misunderstandings. Being clear about your expectations and requirements right from the start is key to ensuring employees are aware of their job responsibilities, and what they need to do to fulfil them. A company can drastically cut down on the amount of mistakes they make by simply incorporating clear, honest, and open communication.
Establish Team Spirit
Fostering team spirit in the workplace is paramount to establishing a culture of teamwork. It’s easy for everyone to get along and for morale to be high when things are going well, but the importance of fostering team spirit is truly shown when times are tough, as the team needs to be able to get together to deal with whatever problems are in front of them without falling apart. If coworkers are able to feel as though they’re working together towards a common goal, and not necessarily only for their own benefit, productivity will also increase as employees will want to work together to solve issues.
Seek to incorporate team-bonding activities that can promote team spirit in your work environment. These can be things as basic as celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries, or organising larger team-building activities like retreats or company gatherings. These activities allow employees to grow familial ties with their coworkers, and feel like a part of a team, instead of a number on a spreadsheet.
However, try to avoid the psychological phenomenon known as ‘groupthink’. Groupthink occurs when a group of people who are seeking to avoid conflict make irrational decisions, most often due to a desire to conform. This can lead to employees supporting unsustainable or unrealistic ideas, so look to strike a balance between fostering team spirit and encouraging individuality.
Conduct Regular Check-ins
Checking in regularly with your team to evaluate timelines and solve pressing issues is another way to build a positive work environment. A 2014 article by Gallup – an American analytics company – identified three ways for managers to create productive work environments. These included being involved in their employees’ work lives, helping employees set goals and prioritise their projects, and holding employees accountable for their performance. The main benefit of regular employee check-ins is that it helps managers kill these three birds with one stone, vastly improving the efficiency of communication in a workplace.
Regular check-ins are also highly beneficial to boosting employee engagement. Chee Tung Leong, CEO of HR tech startup EngageRocket, suggests conducting daily check-ins with your team to figure out what was done yesterday, and what the team plans to accomplish today. The manager can also use daily check-ins to help employees with urgent problems, another way to develop the manager-employee relationship. “Just doing something as simple as this not only improves productivity, but it also improves motivation, because employees like to feel that their managers are actually solving problems for them,” Chee Tung asserts.
Create A Comfortable Working Environment
An office should be a comfortable environment where employees can work without distractions. Consider investing in ergonomic furniture to help workers feel more comfortable at their desks. There are also multiple health benefits that ergonomic furniture provides. For example, ergonomic chairs are specifically designed to support a user’s spine and other bones, which can help reduce upper and lower back pain.
Investing in ergonomic furniture helps promote focus and has multiple health benefits, but most importantly, it lets your employees know that you care about their physical well-being. Productivity and efficiency in an office cannot be maximised if employees feel uncomfortable sitting at their own desks, especially in jobs that require employees to be sitting in the same position for over 8 hours a day. If an employee sees that you’ve made the effort to give them the best working environment you possibly can, they’ll be more inclined to work harder and be more productive.
Recognising and Rewarding Hard Work
In behavioural psychology, the concept of positive reinforcement means giving something to a subject when they perform a desired action, causing them to associate the action with the reward and to do it more often. While the workplace shouldn’t exactly be treated as a social experiment, rewarding your employees for a job well done can be hugely beneficial to their future work performance, as they’ll be encouraged by the positive feedback they received, and will be more inclined to work in pursuit of a reward, whatever it was. Indeed, consistently rewarding workers for strong job performance is beneficial to an organisation in the long-term, as employees will be more willing to go the extra mile in their work.
The reward doesn’t even have to be monetary – even a simple verbal acknowledgement by a supervisor can often go a long way to boosting an employee’s confidence and motivation. Employees want to feel valued by the organisations they work for, and as such, rewarding employees appropriately will ensure that they know their efforts have been recognised by senior management.
These are all great individual ways to foster a positive work environment, but we’d recommend incorporating all of these methods into your workplace for maximum results. Remember that creating a productive work environment can only benefit your organisation, so look to utilise these practices as soon as possible.