As we focus on seemingly big things like Product development, Pricing, Marketing, and Partnerships, we must also take time to sit back and consider the people who work day in day out to contribute to the overall success of the organisation -the employees.
A positive work environment greatly influences how a person feels about their job, the people they work with, and the organisation they work for. When the environment is set right, they are motivated to be more productive and respond well to the leadership. Trust me, it is good when your staff work with more than obligation in mind. You get the best of them.
What is a positive working environment?
A positive working environment is a workplace that promotes safety, healthy interaction, motivates improved productivity, and sees to the general welfare of the employees in and outside the place of work.
The beauty of a positive working environment is that it does not directly revolve around the organisation and its success. Instead, it is about the well-being of the employees and their professional development. It is about people being happy at work.
Improves productivity: everyone does what is required of them and even more than what is required in record time. That means there is no delay in completing assigned tasks and there is increased work output. No one is held back by the uncompleted work of another.
Reduces stress: stress is not only caused by excessive workload but also by a toxic work environment. When employees are happier, they can carry out their tasks easily and maintain a positive attitude through challenging tasks. The employees will also feel relaxed and refreshed as they work.
Improves creativity: employees can think well and profer better solutions and approaches to a problem or setback. They are not under duress and can work comfortably with or without a group to execute assigned tasks.
Encourages growth: encourages the employees to give more and be more. Employees are provided with the opportunity to grow within the company and in their careers. They also get the chance to work with people who can motivate them to take this step.
Steps to creating a positive working environment
Create opportunities for career development
Organise seminars and workshops for employees. You can partner with another organisation to do this. Sponsor your employees to attend training and conferences. Review the HR policy to allow and encourage employees to pursue professional development by allowing flexible working hours and days, remote work options or a study leave for the duration of the program.
Pay attention during recruitment
Of course, you are supposed to pay attention during recruitment, but I mean in a way slightly different from what you are thinking. Don’t just look for someone qualified but also someone who will fit into the company culture. And the way to know this is by asking the right questions -indirect questions that give you an idea of how they work and relate with people at work.
Host company events
Organise social events -hangouts, trips, for staff to get to know each other and enjoy the company of each other in a work-free and relaxing environment. There should be periodic team bonding exercises. Having an End-of-the-year party where staff come with their family member and non-staff members are invited is also a good way of promoting togetherness. Also, celebrate staff birthdays.
Encourage open communication
Encourage employees to speak up openly where there is a need. Establish a line of communication that applies to everyone within the organisation. Keep a record of information exchanged for reference. Discourage gossip and cliques within the organisation.
Reward hard work
Acknowledge staff who are doing well and encourage everyone to do more. But it should not always end at acknowledgement. Those who have done well should be rewarded. Those who improve should be rewarded too. It encourages not only the recipient but everyone to do well. However, this should be done with care as it can lead to unhealthy rivalry and competition.
Every employee should be given what they are due and when it is due. Also, compensation and welfare packages should be consistent with what is obtainable within the industry. Employees should not feel that they are being cheated. Allowance should also be made for employees with special needs.
It starts from recruiting people of diverse backgrounds, social classes, and experiences. Diversity encourages inclusiveness among employees. It also improves the creative output of the company. Your organisation should not double as an Alumni club or a Residents' association club.
Strong code of ethics
There should be no confusion among employees on what is accepted and what is not within the organisation and as the organisation's representatives. Consequences of unethical, illegal and discriminatory behaviour should also be outlined and enforced on those who err.
One should keep in mind that while these steps are helpful, there is no perfectly positive working environment. Humans are different and respond to things differently. You cannot always control how they will process a situation.
The initial stage of creating a positive working environment will see a lot of trial error of strategies. Pay attention to what has changed, what has remained the same, and what you can do about it. Also, there is no end to creating a positive working environment. It is a continuous progressive process that must take into account emerging trends and evolving responsibilities.