May 31, 2018

Emily Roberts

5 ways to foster a positive work environment

A positive work environment is one where the employees are pleased to work there. They aren’t looking to move because the atmosphere is caustic or uncomfortable for them. Protecting their rights while offering a comfortable place to work where they can develop their career and contribute to the company’s goals goes a long way to feeling part of something important.

Here are several ways to keep a positive environment for employees.

Focus on Career Advancement Opportunities

Companies that provide different avenues for employees to advance up the ranks tend to retain staff over ones that don’t actively focus on it. Internal promotions that are fair and merit-based, not based on a game of playing favorites, encourage staff to advance beyond what they thought they could do when they first took the position.

New job openings should be made public to everyone in the company. Where there’s a suitable job opening within the same department, department heads should meet with an employee in the team if they feel they would be right for the job and should apply for it. A little encouragement in the right direction might be what they needed to take the next step.

When employees are doubtful about the quality of their existing resume, the company can point them to a good online resume builder to help resolve the issue ahead of the closing date for job applications.

Foster a Community-like Feel

There has sometimes been an issue in companies where the head of a department is seemingly at war with other departments. Quite often, cooperation is needed between departments to source supplies or to obtain quotes or necessary designs before being able to go ahead. Different teams need to work together as a company to overcome communication challenges.

The idea of individual fiefdoms that need to be defended should be knocked down by senior management. This kind of isolationist thinking isn’t helpful to open lines of communication across the entire corporation. Foster a community feel within the company by creating team building exercises that cross departmental lines so staff they don’t usually encounter may get to know them better. Breaking barriers down is the fastest way to stop the fiefdoms and create community in the organization.

Make the Office Environment More Pleasant

Employees spend many hours each week in the office. Whilst it doesn’t have to be their home away from home, it should feel comfortable and pleasant to work in. Creating a stale environment that’s ugly and uninteresting isn’t inspiring to people who are there to do impressive work. Instead, create a vibrant place full of color and space to avoid a feeling of being crammed in. Add some flowers and comfortable lighting, along with introducing as much natural light as the office positioning allows.

Ask employees how they would like to see the office redecorated and see what can be done about that. A more casual seating area might get the vote from younger employees while older ones might prefer a quiet area to read during their lunch breaks. Find out what people want and see how this can be implemented.

Protect Employees’ Rights

Protecting employees’ rights is a hot topic right now. The whole #metoo movement has seen to that. Certainly, a greater focus must be placed on the rights of every employee to work in a safe office free from harassment of any kind. Any complaints should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. The company also needs to have clear procedures in place for how such reports are to be handled.

There is also a need for balance and reasonableness. If putting a hand on an employee’s shoulder is to be considered an improper thing, then that must be made clear to all employees at the outset. Employee handbooks should also make clear what is and is not acceptable conduct. There’s a good degree of confusion out there about what now is acceptable and unacceptable conduct, so it’s up to the employer to provide clear guidance about what conduct is expected.

Charitable Giving at the Core

Companies often find that have a fixed charitable giving component linked to their profits is something that staff respond to. It provides a feel-good factor beyond just achieving the goals of the company. When the company does better, charities receive greater levels of funding as a result. For employees who feel that corporations can do more, they are likely to gravitate towards an employer (or stick with one) that has a clear, powerful policy on profit distribution to charities. Employees may also get to vote on which charities receive the funding each year and this increases their personal buy-in.

It’s very important that employees feel happy and confident working for a company. The last thing the company wants it to lose its best employees to other companies because it couldn’t hold onto them. There is no one right way to do this, however, so companies are free to devise the right route for them to achieve a harmonious work environment for all.