Do You Want More Positive Workers? Company Culture is the Solution!

2017-11-22T20:23:56+00:00November 22nd, 2017|Productivity, Startup Culture|

How do companies find a balance between productivity, health and employee happiness? Workers today, especially younger generations like millennials, are looking to company culture to decide where to invest their time and effort. Company culture indicates how employees are valued, what communication and collaboration styles are used and the experience companies promise workers.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 33% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. If you’re facing a decrease in productivity and meaningful work, most likely, you’re experiencing disengagement. How do you solve this global issue? Culture.

Positive cultures that purposefully work to engage and support employees cultivate spaces where workers can grow, innovate and be productive. Shifting your company culture can seem daunting, but there are simple ways you can make change now.

First, establish clear, desired goals.

For a company culture to thrive, everyone (especially on the leadership team) has to be on the same page. Your organizational culture often reflects the management style at your office. Do you want a social, collaborative culture? Or a more traditional, independent culture? Either way, all workers should have a clear understanding of the company’s direction.

Next, ask what your team need to succeed. Identify which behaviors foster a positive work environment and which ones don’t. It’s up the leaders on each team to drive these changes. Their transparency and actions will encourage communication, feedback and change. Analyze the current culture and the specific aspects needed to be adapted to your new goals and values.

Second, make sure your space supports your ideas.

The design of your office impacts how your company will function. Ergonomic chairs and long-lasting desks are integral in the comfort and health of workers and support focused work, but the layout of your office is also crucial in cultural change.

Consider moving teams around to prevent motion waste and create a cohesive office flow for impromptu interactions. Groups that often work together or need similar environments to succeed should be placed together so they can collaborate easily and stay efficient. Putting the right teams together can also help with building relationships at work, another factor for positive cultures.

The types of settings you choose to offer in your office also influence how workers interact in a space. Residential furniture creates a work environment where people feel welcome to come together and talk over ideas or projects. Space anchors like large tables encourage socializing and impromptu meetings. Small moveable tables with a single lounge chair and space boundaries like a cabinet mimics a personal workstation where people can go for quiet work, and how your pair your furniture and where it is placed in the space defines how employees work.

Then encourage workers to build relationships.

Relationships in the office are proven to support engagement, employee happiness and wellbeing. According to Gallup’s “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements,”  30 percent of respondents who had best friends at work were seven times more likely to be engaged at their job than the ones who didn’t. Company culture plays a big role in allowing professional relationships to grow.

Adding casual lounge settings larger furniture pieces that can accommodate more people to gather around encourages conversation and bonding, but for a team to grow stronger, leadership needs to take additional steps. Birthday celebrations, Friday lunches at a nearby restaurant and after-work activities allow people to find common interests and learn about each other in a fun setting. Becoming comfortable with one another helps people understand each other and their communication styles, which is important for collaborative projects.

Finally, keep learning how to communicate better.

Companies are always trying to improve their transparency and communication efficiently. There are conferences and books dedicated to teaching people how to talk to one another. Key communication elements can also be learned from the stage. Improvisation comedy, for example, is a performance that is completely unscripted. The actors need to lean on each other to be able to succeed. Here are some “rules” of improv comedy that can be brought into the office:

1. Learn to listen

There’s a difference between listening to understand and listening to respond. In improv comedy, if you don’t listen effectively, you can completely miss what your partner is trying to accomplish. When in a meeting, pause to make sure you’re really comprehending what the other person is telling you and what their goals are.

2. Don’t assume, talk and ask questions

In an unplanned scene, the two actors have no idea what’s going on in the other person’s head, so everything needs to be out in the open. You can’t assume the other person knows what direction you’re going in. In business, wasted time stems from mistakes made by assuming everyone is aware of what’s going on. Clear the communication lines and share.

3. Yes, and…

Negating your partner’s choices in improv leads to dead-ends in scenes. Instead of saying “no,” improvers are encouraged to agree and add on to keep the scene moving forward. Don’t feel pressured to agree with everything someone says, but using this “yes, and…” technique is helpful for a positive brainstorming session.

4. Don’t hog the spotlight

Successful scenes need at least two people. As a member of a team, make sure you’re working together to accomplish your project. Acknowledge your co workers and the work they do for the company.

Shifting an organization’s culture is a long-term effort that’s always changing. The culture that works best for you depends on your missions and vision. In order for it to succeed, the whole team needs to be on-board and willing to work for a positive, engaged environment, built for success.