Consider a hospital, where medical workers see you on your worst day. If you were to take a look at the policies and procedures your physicians and nurses adhere to, would you want to see back to back meetings, 100 hour work weeks, no oversight and an overpacked schedule? This is obviously not the most positive environment, and it will show in their work. Details might be missed. Mistakes might be made (and maybe swept under the rug).
Now consider a hospital with respect for physician and medical professionals’ time. A facility offering education and training, comfortable on-call rooms, smiles and kind words in the hallways – instead of rushing from bureaucratic meeting to meeting. Which hospital would you visit? Creating a positive work environment is important for every business from Fast Food to Aerospace. We do our best work when we are motivated and engaged. So how do we create the type of positive work environment that makes employees want to come work for you?
Prioritize Onboarding & Training
New employees are excited, nervous, overwhelmed or apprehensive when starting a job. They are feeling everything, meeting everyone, and wondering where their cog will eventually fit into your wheel. Everyone from food service employees to CEO’s benefit from a well-planned and detailed onboarding process. In fact, 77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process reportedly hit performance goals with little issue. Make your new employees feel included from their very first moment, with scheduled training, meetings and onboarding activities that don’t leave them sitting at an empty desk, waiting for someone to notice them.
Create a comfortable work environment
Not every business has space for a nap room or ping pong table, but creating a comfortable work environment is an easy way to increase employee retention, job satisfaction and productivity. For example, a more team-oriented business benefits from an open and collaborative workspace, to encourage communication and energy. More recently, businesses have been incorporating a hybrid or fully remote work environment. Even in this situation, bringing together remote and in-house employees for something like behaviour based safety training can build employee to employee, and employee to company bonds and mutual trust.
Conduct regular check-ins
Regular check-ins are not micro-management! And they are more important than ever as remote workers and hybrid work environments become the norm. A quick good morning message, or wave to a coworker, reminds them that you are there, and open for business if they need you. Asking for advice or help is a great way to facilitate communication and build a personal and professional bond between employees, both remote and local.
Encourage collaboration and communication
Simple, clear and honest communication is the key to every relationship, work or personal. First, create dedicated channels for communication on individual projects, and teams to facilitate easy communication with the group. When using e-mail, ensure the appropriate co-workers are copied, to reduce opportunities for misunderstanding, and increase trust. Finally, make all team and project details, like deadlines and team member responsibilities, easy to access, in a central location for immediate reference.
Develop a strong workplace culture
Positive employees are motivated employees, and motivation means excitement and profit. Everyone has heard of the Google nap pods, gym and free meals and coffee, but you don’t need all that to create a strong workplace culture. Companies with a great workplace culture are known for their strong mission and values, encouragement of workplace participation, transparent communication, supportive work environment, accessible leaders with expertise, and ongoing professional development.
Facilitate opportunities for learning
Speaking of professional development, it can’t be underestimated when trying to build a positive work environment. There is a “war for talent” out there, with enterprises fighting for skilled workers. You want to create an environment where the talent comes to you! Training an existing employee to fill a much needed gap in your business strategy is a great way to create job satisfaction, and give other employees something to aspire to. Create training which educates employees on both hard and soft skills, set aside a budget for individual employee training, or create a mentor program to give newer employees more ownership of their roles and a glimpse into the future.
Positivity is the cornerstone of any successful company. We’ve all heard horror stories of awful onboarding experiences, abusive company culture, distrust and micro-management, and an inherent lack of communication – all elements of an insecure and poorly considered work environment. While the ability to take abuse might work well for some enterprises, we say “no thank you.” Creating a positive work environment is the easiest path to longevity and success – and just as importantly, excellent brand image.