Arguably one of the most important elements in motivating and engaging employees is by having a healthy company environment. But, how exactly can you make an environment where team members are productive, happy, encouraged and accepted? Try these eight valuable tips and you’ll be on your way to having a healthy company environment.
1. Build Trust
According to 90% or workers, honesty, trust and fairness are considered the most important attributes valued in the workplace. But, how exactly can you establish trust in the workplace? According to Eva Rykrsmith on QuickBase, an organizational psychologist and HR/OD leader, you can begin by doing the following:
- Make promises and keep them – don’t overpromise and underdeliver.
- Make firm commitments – avoid words like I’ll try” or “I’ll do my best.”
- Follow-up – keep team member updated.
- Communicate obstacles – discuss how you can overcome any problems with team members.
Rykrsmith also states that you can build trust by owning up to mistakes, showing compassion, making amends and focusing on actions. Staffing employment agency Adecco also adds that you can begin meetings by using the first five minutes to discuss the personal or professional lives of employees.
Communication is arguably the cornerstone of any healthy and effective work environment. In fact, in one survey of more than 210,000 American employees, it was found that less than half were satisfied with the information they received from management.
Before you can open up the lines of communication, you have to first ask the right questions. Jeb Blount, author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership, recommends (via Monster.com) that you remember these guidelines during interviews, performance reports or just casual conversations.
- Rule #1: People Won’t Tell You the Whole Truth Until They Feel Connected to You
- Rule #2: Ask Easy Questions First
- Rule #3: People Communicate with Stories
- Rule #4: Be Empathetic — Follow Emotional Cues to Problems
- Rule #5: Never Make Assumptions
Once you’ve learned how to ask questions effectively, you can focus on other areas of communication in the workplace. For example, you need to keep team members in loop, so why not send out a weekly newsletter? You can also implement an open door policy so that team members feel that they have easy access to you whenever needed.
3. Empower Team Members
According to Kevin Daum, an Inc. 500 entrepreneur and author of, Video Marketing for Dummies and Roar! Get Heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle, “Having empowered employees is the dream of every leader.” To achieve this task, you should:
- Foster Open Communication – you’ve hopefully already done this, but Daum recommends that you “give employees structured ways to make their thoughts, feelings and observations known easily and regularly.”
- Reward Self-Improvement – provide employees with plan for growth and reward them when they do.
- Encourage Safe Failure – give employees an area where they can to learn to fail without putting the company in danger.
- Provide Plenty of Context – as a leader, you should be able to share your knowledge and vision so that an employee “clearly understands the core values, purpose and direction of the company can easily make consistent decisions and take appropriate action at any junction.”
- Clearly Define Roles – make sure that you establish specific roles and responsibilities for employees.
- Require Accountability – team members have to be aware of when they have met expectations, as well as when they have not.
- Support Their Independence – let employees do their own thing, even if they fail.
- Appreciate Their Efforts – employees aren’t just in it for the paycheck, they want to be appreciated – so say ‘thank you’ and celebrate accomplishments.
4. Be Flexible
Did you know that “1 in 4 employees experience high levels of conflict between work and family life?” Thanks to technology, however, the traditional 9-5 workday is a thing of the past. According to a survey of 1,992 employees, Cisco Systems Inc. discovered the following about employees who worked remotely:
- 83 percent said their ability to communicate and collaborate with workers was the same, if not better, as when they worked on-site.
- 75 percent said the timeliness of their work improved.
- 69 percent reported higher productivity.
- Sixty percent of the time they saved via telecommuting they applied to work; the other 40 percent they applied to personal use.
- 67 percent of workers said the overall quality of their work improved.
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of the job listing site FlexJobs, informed Business News Daily that if you want to your workplace to be more flexible, you should plan out a strategy; give it a trial; make communication a priority; realize that not all employees are flexible; and train managers to be able to manage flexible workers.
5. Offer Rewards, Incentives and Benefits
It’s shocking to read that a mere “24% of employees are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work.” Furthermore, a staggering “70% of employees say meaningful recognition has no dollar value.” So, how can you motivate and please employees in the workplace?
Serial entrepreneur Patrick Hull shared the following techniques on Forbes:
- Bonuses: Employees usually respond to bonuses and other financial incentives as a way to reward great performances.
- Perks: I saw good responses to perks that weren’t simply financial, such as casual days at the office, half days, office parties, and social activities outside of the office.
- Amenities: Workplace amenities – like a gym, cafeteria, or daycare center – are nice incentives for employees to come to work and to stay focused on their projects.
- Education: I believe that people respond to educational incentives and a number of companies offer incentives that pay for additional education. They’re great because your workforce can become more skilled and you’re creating loyalty.
- Positive recognition: Recognizing someone in public for a job well done can make a big difference. I think it’s important to provide positive reinforcement. Programs that recognize employees can go a long way toward motivating someone.
6. Promote Wellness
According to Lauren Lastowka, Manager at American Specialty Health (via Inc.com), “Wellness programs are linked to greater productivity, less absenteeism, and a reduction of long-term health care costs.” While there’s no denying that encouraging the health and wellness of your team members will improve the company environment, how can you make this a reality:
- Promote preventive care – offer on-site flu vaccinations, for example.
- Encourage exercise – create an active campus or offer discounted memberships to gyms.
- Emphasize education – recruit experts to express the importance of being healthy.
- Bring the doctor-in – offer an on-site health clinic.
- Invest in incentives – you could offer to “cover an additional percentage of the cost of health insurance premiums for employees who pass certain biometric markers.”
- Hone hunger options – provide healthier snacks and fresh fruit in the lunchroom.
- Be mindful of mental health – you may want to consider “an employee assistance program for employees who have financial troubles, excess stress, or depression symptoms.”
- Recommend behavioral resources – provide “management programs to help empower your employees make lasting, noticeable change.”
7. Have Some Fun
Research has proven that companies with happy workers experience more productivity, less turnover rates, fewer sick days and higher profitability. In fact, companies like Zappos have created an entire culture of “being fun and being a little weird.” Amanda Gore, author and director of the Joy Project, shares on the Huffington Post ways to create a fun workplace. These include:
- Giving others permission to be joyful.
- Issuing happiness reports.
- Changing the way business meetings are conducted – ask team members “What’s the best thing that happened to you since we last met?”
- Creating a culture of TA Da!
- Letting go of the past.
David Koutsoukis, a team development expert, has created an extensive list of ideas for injecting fun into the workplace. It could be anything from allowing team members to personalize their workspaces to having an happy hour on Fridays to playing games to using caricatures of staff members instead of photos.
8. “Workplace by Design”
In 1995 Franklin Becker and Fritz Steele released a pretty influential book, Workplace By Design: Mapping the High-Performance Workscape, which explained how to create a more productive workplace. Over the years it has been found that you can design a workplace that boosts productivity and reduces stress. For example, Sherry Burton Ways, an interior designer, color therapist, and author of Feel Good Spaces: A Guide to Decorating Your Home for Body, Mind And Spirit, states on Forbes that “noise, lack of privacy, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor temperature control, or inadequate sanitary facilities can create a stressful work environment.”
To prevent a stressful work environment, make sure that you add a personal touch to your workplace, keep your workplace clean/organized, add plants and use natural tones to keep you calm.