By Beth Doane, award-winning writer, speaker and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Main & Rose.
Over the past two years we have taken a toll, attitudes towards work have changed and values have changed. As businesses grapple with returning to offices, old practices aren’t working.
We spend a third of our lives working, and people want that time to count and not be sacrificed for a paycheck that comes at the expense of their happiness. This catalyzed a massive labor exodus. The main reason to quit smoking is culture.
Today, there are more jobs open than at any other time in US history. To attract the best people, you need to create a workplace that’s not just about production, but thriving from within.
At Main & Rose, we’ve spent nearly a decade building our culture, learning what our team needs to feel fulfilled, and ensuring our values are embedded in the DNA of everything we do. Here are some of my thoughts on creating a culture in your business.
1. Clearly define and share your company values.
Your company values are essential to your culture. They provide a guide and measuring station for all employees, impacting how they treat others, their work and themselves. Clearly define those values and share them with everyone, and don’t settle for what another brand might claim. They should be specific to you: why you exist and what matters to you. It’s okay if they’re difficult to write and need revisions, it will strengthen your culture.
At Main & Rose, we have a strict “no ego policy” – there are absolutely no exceptions to this rule, and everyone on our team knows it. Politics starts at the top and leading by example is key to establishing a positive workplace culture that celebrates values and team members. We enter each space and meet with an open mind, a desire for feedback, and respect for all voices.
2. Encourage healthy conversations.
Most of us like to hear that we are doing a good job. Positive affirmations and reinforcement have been proven to build team morale and confidence.
Address any issues that may arise, whether it’s interpersonal conflict or a decrease in the quality of work. Attack them when they emerge and do so privately. Show respect to everyone and give them the opportunity to speak for themselves.
Healthy conversations are not the same for everyone. They can be uncomfortable. We all have different communication and conflict resolution styles. Personality tests are an effective way to learn more about your team members and can help reveal various triggers and motivations to effectively guide discussions.
3. Integrate mindfulness into daily life.
Over 75% of workers have experienced burnout. And 61% of teleworkers say they have trouble “unplugging” after work hours. Especially if you are a remote company, you are more at risk of employees feeling overly stressed and under-motivated. But your team is only strong because of these people, so prioritize them.
- Encourage people to walk away from the office. Normalize the setting of a Slack state to “get some fresh air”.
- Organize monthly mindfulness or breathing sessions.
- Provide subscriptions to mindfulness apps, like Headspace or Calm, or fitness services.
4. Offer mental health days, no questions asked.
As mental health advocates, we aspired to create a company that rebelled against traditional “agency life,” where self-care was an afterthought to productivity. Whether an employee is having a bad day or facing an ongoing struggle, we work with them to take a mental health day or even a mental health week.
In a study by the American Psychological Association, 68% of workers said their mood was more positive after taking time off. He invites them to take a break, leave their emails and reconnect with their motivation when they return.
5. Implement Get Stuff Done Days.
We introduced Get Stuff Done (GSD) days a few months ago and they are universally loved in our agency. Fridays have no calls, no meetings, and no distractions, so our team can finally tackle everything on their to-do lists and reach a stress-free place before the weekend.
To help maintain productivity and focus on the days with nothing on the calendar. We created a GSD playlist for our team, where everyone could contribute their favorite songs. We also provide access to time management strategies and resources.
6. Make sure there really is an open door policy.
In a remote workplace, promoting clear and transparent communication becomes even more important. Our leadership is readily available via Slack, even just to chat or offer advice. Our team members check in with their managers at least once a week to discuss any issues or concerns, as well as what’s going well and each team member’s goals. We encourage people to write talking points in advance.
Your business is your people. You will only find the right person if you treat them with respect and compassion and provide them with opportunities for growth. If you don’t, someone else will.