Here we’ll look at some of the top factors - the positive and negative - that contribute to the culture within a company and how they impact employees’ productivity.
Positive Reinforcement and Recognition
Most of us at some time or other will have heard the term ‘thankless task’. It’s usually applied when someone has a necessary task that is either of the types that no one wants to volunteer for, or is absolutely essential for operational reasons but is constantly overlooked or barely ever mentioned. Every member of a company has a role and therefore plays their part - and everyone wants their contributions to be noticed and a job well done to be appreciated. Recognizing the time and effort employees put in is fundamental to building morale within any organization.
This can be done individually with just a few words (sometimes a few words can go a long way) or can be done with internal communication such as a personal or departmental email or even a newsletter. T
aking it up a few steps, another way appreciation and gratitude can be shown for a job well done is with a lunch, gift, or financial bonus. Most of us at some time or other will have heard the term ‘thankless task’. It’s usually applied when someone has a necessary task that is either of the types that no one wants to volunteer for, or is absolutely essential for operational reasons but is constantly overlooked or barely ever mentioned. Let's consider a business model like an LLC, which describes the responsibilities of each participant in a special document - an Operating Agreement. Every LLC member of a company has a role and therefore plays their part
People want and need to feel that they matter. Acknowledging contributions while making employees aware of their importance and the importance of their role is a solid foundation on which to build a positive culture within a business.
The ripple effect of this is that when people feel valued by their employer, it increases their motivation to do the best job possible. It makes sense that the opposite side to this coin is that if employees don’t feel valued, that they or their job is not important, they won’t feel motivated to perform it - which means the business is going to suffer. Keeping morale high among staff should be a priority for a business to be successful.
Morale within a company isn’t just formed based on job performance recognition: it’s based on how people are treated as individuals - as humans. The culture of a business can soon become toxic due to bullying, sexism, racism, and other negative prejudicial behavior - if they are allowed to continue. Toxicity can spread fast if those in managerial roles aren’t paying attention to what is going on with employee relationships and dynamics or between their teams.
At the first sign of any negative behavior, it needs to be stamped out immediately. Allowing a toxic culture to breed within the workplace can have a devastating impact, not just on the targeted individuals, but on the productivity of the company. If ignored for too long, a business can find itself with all sorts of problems on its hands, including problems with staff retention and turnover, further contributing to an unstable business environment, both on personal and commercial levels.
Gatherings and Common Spaces
According to researchers from ITRate.co, there are many ways in which a company can take steps to create a positive company culture that enhances the working lives of its employees and in turn enhances the productivity of a business. A good way to build a sense of community and increase engagement within the working environment is to hold theme days and events throughout the year. This offers a wealth of diversity, which include such things as:
Monthly restaurant meals;
The 70s and 80s nights;
Staff sports teams.
Another element that can have a substantial positive influence on company culture is to have comfortable and appealing common spaces where staff can relax on breaks and during lunch hours.
An aesthetically appealing, relaxing common room or break area can make employees feel as chilled and as safe as they do at home. Vary the furniture and add ornamentation, as well as other accessories that employees can engage with.
Even allow them to make changes if they want to. Snacks, books, and magazines can induce interaction. Potted plants and paintings on the wall will add to the home-comfort vibe and enhance the feeling of family between employees.
Leadership and Direction
As with any type of relationship, for it to flourish, good communication is crucial. Individuals and department teams will underperform if they are not clear about what is fully expected from them by their managers and/or employers.
Guidance from managers and team leaders should make clear from the start what the expectations are. If management is robust with direction and in explaining the requirements for individual and team tasks, a sense of communal purpose is instilled and common, mutual, end goals are defined.
According to 81 percent of employees, the most significant factor affecting employee engagement is trust in leaders, followed by an employee's immediate relationship with their supervisor.
Staff needs to know what it is they are actually working toward and the steps needed to be taken, as well as what their precise role in the process is. With the right direction and a target clearly in front of them, the likelihood of better production is increased. Being vague about tasks or end-goals will leave employees spinning their wheels while, with strong leadership, they could instead be gaining traction toward the goalposts.
Low motivation and lack of productivity go hand-in-hand and cost businesses billions each year. There can be many reasons for this to be the case but more often than not, a leading cause is bad company culture.
Handling staff is always a juggling act no matter how large or small a business is. But with the right leadership and making the effort to ensure that staff knows their roles and that their efforts are appreciated, you will be on your way to creating a positive company culture - as well as a more productive one.
This article is a guest blog written by Jean Wilson Murray. To contribute a guest post to Workast.com, please complete the expression of interest form here.