8 Ways Small Businesses Can Transform Company Culture

Most of us spend about a quarter of our lives at work, and it would be safe to say that we expect something more from that precious time than just a paycheck. Finding a pleasant and healthy workplace is increasingly important to job seekers, as 88% of them consider culture to be an important factor when applying for a position in a company. This is especially true for millennials and young job seekers, who are often willing to prioritize a positive work culture over pay.

From an employer or management perspective, investing in a happy culture provides benefits that go even beyond better work-life balance and a sense of purpose for employees. It also increases the productivity and, therefore, the profitability of the company. Additionally, by improving employee motivation, health, and happiness, leaders can expect cost reductions through lower levels of absenteeism, employee turnover, and workers’ compensation. Given the dual factor of increased efficiency and reduced costs, the health of an organization’s culture is actually an excellent long-term predictor of the company’s ability to grow and prosper.

If you think your workplace culture needs a makeover, follow these eight steps.

1. Be a mentor.

Renowned organizational psychologist Adam Grant, author of Giving and Receiving: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success and Originals, emphasizes the importance of mentorship in a healthy work culture. Business leaders have a responsibility to act as mentors for employees and to empower those employees to mentor others in turn.

An open door policy that encourages and welcomes employees to discuss new ideas and make suggestions reduces their fear of being ignored or criticized, thus fostering the atmosphere of mutual trust so essential to an organization’s success. Leaders who actively participate in the self-expression, creativity, and self-improvement of their employees tend to be rewarded with both loyalty and productivity.

2. Adopt wellness initiatives.

In our digitally driven world, it’s important to address the pitfalls of office work – long periods of sitting, typing, and staring at screens. We’re all human, and a workplace that passionately supports the physical well-being of employees can help any team overcome its human frailties. Whether it’s healthy snacks, lunchtime yoga classes, or a fun fitness challenge, employees appreciate being part of an organization that puts their health first.

Organizational leaders can also reduce absenteeism and increase productivity by being proactive in protecting their teams from preventable physical and mental illness. Offering annual flu shots or having a counselor employees can access for help with issues such as financial issues, stress, or depression are simple ways to safeguard a woman’s long-term happiness. team.

Leaders should also consider the health of their team when designing or improving the spaces in which employees work. An uncomfortable environment – poor lighting, shoddy furniture, outdated equipment – can complicate workers’ days with small, nagging stressors that could ultimately turn into a big problem. A well-lit environment that is visually pleasing, decorated in soothing colors, and equipped with ergonomic amenities (such as adjustable chairs and sit-stand desks) can have a big impact on satisfaction and performance.

Open communication fosters innovation and agility, two key success factors that leaders naturally want to see in their teams. It also promotes mutual trust and respect. Nurturing employees’ individuality in an environment where they can truly express themselves promotes job satisfaction and encourages them to bring new ideas. Cooperation between employees from diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines (and of different genders) enriches everyone’s experience and improves the team’s ability to pivot and adapt when necessary.

The healthiest workplaces strive to create an atmosphere in which everyone in the organization feels equally valued, regardless of their professional designation.

4. Be flexible.

One way companies can give employees more flexibility is to avoid narrow job descriptions and fixed desks. Allowing team members to combine their skills with a shared objective and common objectives makes it possible to make the most of each person’s strengths and give more meaning to projects.

Another way to give team members freedom that has become increasingly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic is through flexible working hours and remote working. Getting away from rigid schedules and organizational structures spares employees the sense of drudgery that accompanies a mundane 9-to-5 routine. This kind of prescriptive atmosphere gets workers excited for one thing only: weekends.

A study by Workplace Trends found not only that many employees (75%) rate flexibility as the number one benefit in the workplace, but also that employers see marked improvements when they allow for such flexibility. Organizations in the survey that had implemented flexible working programs said they had experienced increased productivity (71%), greater employee retention (65%) and higher employee satisfaction (87%).

An interesting trend that is getting a lot of attention is the four-day work week. After Microsoft Japan experimented with closing its offices on Fridays for a month, it reported a 40% increase in productivity. Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand trust management company, has also embraced the idea; subsequently, 78% of its employees reported a better work-life balance (a 45% increase) and productivity improved. As a result, this made the schedule change permanent.

5. Cultivate joy.

Injecting fun into the workplace pays dividends for everyone. An organization’s investment in joy can be as simple as encouraging its employees to take five-minute breaks from their desks (which reduces muscle and eye strain and improves concentration) or as complex as the construction of inspiring green spaces on its campuses where employees can stroll.

Team building activities that strengthen relationships between colleagues can also be a source of renewal and satisfaction. Allow employees to suggest fun activities, giving them a sense of ownership of the company’s pursuit of happiness.

6. Reward generously.

Ultimately, we all want to feel that we and our contributions are valued, and making employees feel valued is the responsibility of a company’s leaders. Companies should celebrate team member accomplishments through rewards, incentives, promotions, and bonuses.

Another key ingredient of a healthy work culture is a focus on self-improvement and lifelong learning. Initiatives and benefits that support the continuous edification of employees are the ultimate expression of the depth with which an organization values ​​and supports the continued growth of everyone.

7. Be supportive.

Perhaps the most significant way to ensure the long-term happiness and health of your employees is to prepare for the inevitable times when those employees are anything but happy and healthy. We all encounter obstacles along the way, and we all dread what might happen if illness, loss, or some other unfortunate circumstance renders us unable to perform our duties at work.

A leader who shows interest and eases someone’s way—who is a sincere and trustworthy follower rather than another source of pressure—can earn appreciation in an employee’s life. Show empathy and compassion in the workplace and encourage similar civic behaviors among your colleagues.

8. Put culture first.

The work of creating a positive work culture, in a sense, is never done. It requires regular attention, thoughtful planning and corrective actions. But it could also be the most important task business leaders can undertake. When employees experience true happiness and health at work, success tends to follow.