Many organisations are seeing their employees return to work after the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these kinds of interruptions to the usual working environment can bring about confusion or disillusion for staff. This is why, Mylo Kaye says, it’s the ideal chance for businesses to reevaluate their company culture to ensure it works for employees and managers alike.
Company culture is the vision, goals, and behaviour that a workplace engages with to mark its unique place in an industry. It also encompasses how employees connect with the company on an individual and team level, and how their own professional needs are met. A business with a good company culture sees members of all teams working towards a common mission with the same values. Recent global events might lead organisations to shake up their company culture. Mylo Kaye recommends these 4 tips to promote a healthy and happy company culture.
1. Communicate with staff
Communication is key. When it comes to improving company culture, it’s one of the most important aspects for two reasons: consistent communication means workers understand their goals within the organisation and it builds trust, which leads to a happier environment. Despite being a simple concept, effective communication can often be undervalued. Luckily, it’s not hard to make it a top priority again, says Mylo Kaye.
Create regular time slots to spend with your staff, both one-to-one and as a team. This means they will feel appreciated and heard, and you will be up to speed with any issues that arise. Make sure your employees understand why they are being asked to do a particular task — confusion leads to distraction and poor performance. Importantly, you should guarantee a safe space for communication. Staff shouldn’t feel unable to pass on feedback — positive or negative. Having an open and trusting relationship will benefit everyone.
2. Incorporate fun into the workplace
While fun can often be seen as unprofessional, the opposite is true, says Mylo Kaye. Research shows that people who have a positive mindset are 31% more productive than negative or neutral individuals. Employees who work in a fun environment also take fewer sick days and are more productive. A fun business can be achieved in two ways: during working hours and outside of them.
To encourage a sense of fun during working hours, managers can implement gamification into the workday. This is when game mechanics and dynamics are added to non-game situations. For example, tapping into humans’ innate motivators such as mastery, purpose, and social interaction. Studies show that organisations that take this approach retain staff and boost their performance.
Outside of working hours, social clubs are a fantastic way to keep workers enjoying themselves. These can range from knitting clubs to rock climbing clubs. The key is that by participating in a shared interest, staff create bonds and reinforce a learning mindset, which they can then bring back to the office.
3. Promote good mental health
Cases of poor mental health rose dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people dealt with this alone, due to social distancing rules, being furloughed from work, or working from home. Because of this, organisations must be careful to have a mental health initiative in place for workers who might be affected. This is important, says Mylo Kaye, but not an impossible resource to set in place.
As well as introducing fun into the workplace, it’s imperative that the organisation feels supportive. A peer support group is a great idea: if employees find it difficult to talk to managers and senior staff, they might be more inclined to talk about their problems with their peers. This introduces a low-stress, low-stakes environment for people to discuss their mental health. It is also a good idea to encourage managers to undergo mental health training. Plenty of charities offer courses or lectures to help managers learn about mental ill health, with a view to implementing mental health strategies in their organisations. These can be done online or in person.
4. Be flexible
What constitutes a positive company culture has changed significantly over the past 18 months. With employees successfully working from home, many industries have decided to amend the rules they once had in place. Employees now know a better work-life balance exists and it is a manager’s duty to ensure they accommodate workers as well as they can.
Flexible working takes many forms, but the most common include part-time hours, term-time hours, remote working, and flexitime. It implies a level of trust from management that staff will undertake their duties, while allowing them to focus on other important aspects of their lives, such as childcare, health problems, and stress-free time off.
Importantly, flexible working options lead to a higher level of job satisfaction and a decrease in absence rates, and employees reporting lower levels of stress and mental ill health.
A modern workplace embraces a positive work culture, which builds a successful and happy team. It is important to eschew the old-fashioned idea that going into work should be something to be dreaded or simply endured. Improving company culture is an essential step on the road to a more positive working environment for everyone.