The workplace culture in your firm is essential to consider. Not only can it help you ascertain what’s really going on in your business, but has a deeper impact on the health of your employees than you know. Let’s do some extremely basic maths. Suggesting your usually office attendance hours are 9-5 with an hour for lunch break, your staff will likely be in the office for seven hours of work daily. Multiply this by a five day work week. Thirty-five hours of attendance a week. Multiply this figure by four weeks, and you have around 140 hours every month spent in your office. While we’re here, let’s multiply that by 11 months, considering you may have two weeks paid vacation a year and some Christmas time off. That’s 1540 hours a year of office contact. That’s roughly 64 ½ days spent in the office.
Imagine 64 ½ days spent in an office with a terrible atmosphere. That’s going to cause your employees health to degrade, or for their interest in your workplace to rapidly deteriorate, even if they initially loved their placement.
All this might sound like preamble, but it’s necessary to understand. This is because when you decide to consider your workplace culture, you will consider it from the ground up. From the moment you begin to set systems in place and hire new people. With good foundations, you can craft a more comforting and supportive atmosphere, and truly show how the normal, sometimes toxic trappings of office life can be subverted by those with compassion.
Let us explore further:
Perhaps one of the slowest killers of staff motivation is to expect things from them. Surely that sounds overblown and strange. Doesn’t the very nature of bringing them into your business, having them sign a contract, paying them and even structuring this kind of department in the first place mean you expect something from then? Of course. But we’re not talking about the understood and necessary working obligations both of you share. But we’re talking about the unhealthy expectations. Most people currently know that their boss expects them to stay overtime, despite not legally being allowed to force it. Some will ask you to come in on your day off, and if you say yes enough times, they will rely on you each and every time.
Unhealthy and unrealistic expectations can lead to a workplace that feels fraught, damaged, and unhappy. It can make your staff feel less inclined to give their best work in exchange for simply getting more done. It treats them like robots. This is why appropriate planning is essential. You need to structure work obligations to the point where they can be adhered to in the most reliable manner. Sometimes work necessities pile up of course, and crunch time can be a real thing, but simply dumping this unevenly on your employees is not a good solution. Setting workplace culture from the ground up means setting realistic and worthwhile expectations, and keeping all your staff stimulated, yet not overworked.
The previous point should not prevent you from encouraging your staff to feel like they can achieve however. Solid training, careful application of your praise and systems in place to celebrate those who perform excellent work can help people feel as though they will be noticed if they try hard. The kicker here? Staff actually want to try hard.
While it’s important to implement essential brand inspiration to motivate your employees, this cannot be achieved without realizing that often, staff want to do their best. They want to actualize their careers. They want to come home feeling as though they’re making progress. This means if you treat them like automatons that must be treated with a sugar cube in order to get them to do anything at all, you’re going to be on the back foot. A little encouragement can go an extremely long way in helping them feel as though they can apply themselves.
Also, depending on the work, trusting in your staff to flex a little creative muscle can also help them feel listened to, connected, and interested. Of course, some firms dedicated with calculations only might not be as easy to implement this in, but sometimes, this potential can be found in the smallest areas. For example, allowing your sales representatives to give their unbiased opinions over what might work best rather than having them upsell junk can help people return to your store. Perhaps instead of forcing them to sell those items, you should consider why you’re stocking those items that aren’t wanted in the first place? A little flexibility in your approach rather than putting everything on your staff can be a helpful consideration for sure.
There should be no tolerance for workplace bullying, racism, sexism, or harassment in person or online whatsoever. You should structure a HR department as soon as you can to ensure that this is dealth with professionally if reported, or you might keep an open-door office policy yourself. Showing your employees that you are willing to defend them, can help them feel confident enough to come out rather than suffering in silence.
Those who hope to engage in these unacceptable behaviors will often be stealthy about it. This is why it’s essential for victims to be cared for. But you shouldn’t set up a kangaroo court just due to an accusation. Try to get to the bottom of the incidents as carefully and as rationally as possible, while keeping pristine confidentiality. It might be that an accusation is absolutely correct, but it might also be exaggerated. Vetting your staff appropriately, encouraging solid social behavior and stamping out any intended harmful behavior can help you preserve your values throughout your team, and set the precedent. If you embody those values yourself, you will serves as a great example for this also
With these tidbits of advice, we hope that setting your workplace culture from the ground up remains viable.