Be happy – Tips on creating a positive working environment
Let’s be honest, most of us work to earn money to support our lifestyles. If we are lucky, we get to spend our days doing a job that we enjoy – most of the time anyway. But if you got a call to say you’d won a few million on the lottery, would you really keep getting up and going into your place of employment?
So, if we assume that people are at work because they need to be, it’s really important that employers take responsibility for making that time as satisfying, fulfilling and enjoyable as they can.
Some companies don’t realise that, pushing sole responsibility for motivation and engagement onto line managers. But if the workplace you provide is negative, stressful or downright unpleasant, then you’ll never achieve all you can as an organisation.
Fostering that positive working environment right from the top is not always straightforward – it’s a fine line between friendly and over-familiar, helpful and grating, relaxed and underproductive.
Here a few tips that might help you find the right balance.
And as such, you’ll never achieve perfection. We are not computers that can be programmed – everyone, no matter what their experience, makes mistakes sometimes. Understand this and encourage a blame-free culture. If your staff feel confident about admitting mistakes, then errors will be discovered earlier and so be put right quicker. Make any analysis about how the mistake can be avoided in the future by reviewing processes, etc., rather than focusing on personal failure.
You are dealing with human beings
Human beings with partners, children, animals, illnesses. Human beings that sometimes feel on top of the world and sometimes feel down in the dumps. By allowing some flexibility and work/life balance, you’ll not only avoid resentment but actively foster an appreciative workforce whose loyalty to you will be strengthened.
Everyone likes to be recognised
Find ways to celebrate achievements – even small ones. It may be that someone has pulled off the biggest ever contract, or that they are always smiling and helpful. If staff are making a positive contribution, thank them, recognise them, and they’ll be prepared to go the extra mile for you in the future.
Give your employees freedom to manage
By allowing a level of independence, you are showing you trust your employees to make sound judgement calls. We’ve all been on the end of a customer service call where the operator has no authority to do anything – “I’ll have to ask my manager”. How dispiriting for them to know that they are not trusted to be able to solve a customer’s problem. By allowing independence, you’ll find people come up with new ideas, creative ways to solve problems and flourish in their role.
Fear in the workplace is such a destructive emotion. It stifles any type of creativity and innovation. Fear of failure, fear of being told off, fear of change. Encourage staff to challenge the status quo, to come up with new ideas. And of course, it goes without saying that no one should fear their boss. Be vigilant about any form of workplace bullying and stamp on it immediately.
Invest in your staff
Spending money on training is a brilliant investment that will be rewarded many times over. And invest time in supporting and mentoring employees, letting them benefit from your expertise without over asserting your authority.
Keep checking you are getting it right
Things can go off the rails without you noticing, so put processes in place to get candid staff feedback. Using tools such as suggestion boxes, 360-degree appraisals, staff surveys, and so on allow you to pick up on areas that may be causing staff dissatisfaction.
Ultimately, your company’s success is down to the collective success of each member of staff. Creating an environment where everyone feels valued, is able to make a positive contribution and can be part of collective effort to meet the company’s shared goals will have a huge impact on your bottom line.