With Millennials stepping in the work place in greater numbers than ever before, many companies are going through a major transition. Old policies are either being scrapped or revamped to suit the needs of the current generation. Unlike previous generations, millennials look beyond attractive salaries and brand names. The need of the hour is to have a positive work culture that not only attracts newer candidates but makes sure that they are retained as well.
Today Glassdoor reviews (or similar platforms) are the first things that candidates check before applying for a job or accepting an offer letter. Employees are the best brand ambassadors when it comes to spreading a positive word about the company. It is easier to believe their words rather than any advertisement or press release. When companies have a work culture where their employees are happy, it reflects in their work, productivity and the way they interact with each other. These employees always watch out for each other. They encourage others to do their best and help those who have difficulty overcoming certain problems.
Recent studies have shown that happiness in the work place plays a major role in increasing employee engagement. There have been instances wherein a company saw high attrition and lower productivity because it failed to realize that its employees happiness levels were practically nonexistent.
In one experiment, people were asked to perform math problems after viewing a comedy video. Productivity among those who watched the video was roughly 10% higher than a control group that performed similar problems without the positive stimulus at the outset. Another looked at how events that cause unhappiness, such as a loss or illness in the family, affect productivity. The results: People who reported a negative life event had 10% less productivity than their peers. (Source: MarketWatch )
Irrespective of how talented employees are, a toxic work environment won’t allow them to flourish or use their talents. On the contrary, it will kill whatever creativity and innovative ideas they bring to the table. Over time such employees will either work only to get the bare minimum done or simply look for better alternatives where they can also be happy with what they do.
How to create a positive work culture:
Encourage employees to take a break:
With today’s cutthroat competition to outperform each other, employees are hesitant to take a day off to relax. There are many cases where individuals do not fully utilize even their regular number of leaves. Let alone few days for a vacation. Working without breaks is simply a fast track route to a serious burnout. It affects their performance levels and subsequently productivity.
Encourage your employees to take a break once in a while. Let them rejuvenate. Short breaks in a day are advised to increase concentration levels. But once or twice a year, your employees should be made to take a long vacation so that they are completely disconnected from work. A few companies have already introduced unlimited vacation policy and also pay their employees to take a vacation! Talk about being employee friendly.
Cut down on those lengthy meetings:
One of the most annoying things employees experience is a lenghty meeting that has no outcome. It takes up most of their time and fails to achieve its intended purpose. Moreover it only massages the ego of managers who like to give grand presentations.
Reduce these meetings to 10-15 minutes or better opt for daily standups for a more effective approach. Standups call for a quick discussion about
- What was accomplished yesterday?
- What is the agenda for today?
- What obstacles are impeding the progress?
These tactical questions help employees gain a clear understanding of what their objectives are and what could be the obstacles in fulfilling them. Managers get a quick update on how things are progressing and if any guidance is required. Within minutes everyone can get back to their work. Thus there is no scope for employees to get annoyed at their managers.
Foster a sense of belonging:
It is not necessary that individuals view their workplace as solely a place to perform work and get paid in return. If they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging and camaraderie with their teammates, they will work better in harmony. Apple does it best with their occasional beer bashes in office premises for their employees. Its great for everyone to let their hair down once in a while and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Some companies now ban coffee cups at desks, not to protect computers, but to ensure that people hang out together around the coffee machine. ASE Global won’t let employees eat lunch at their desks. In part, this is to ensure that everybody takes a break. But both policies create the opportunity for people to know one another. (Source: Ideas.Ted.com )
Enjoy the little things:
Apart from the annual celebrations or team outings, try to award little achievement as well. These may not be extravagant awards or monetary prizes. It could be as simple as a box of chocolates, a spa coupon, etc. Let them know that apart from the big achievements, every little contribution matters. It makes everyone have a healthy and fun competition between them.
Companies that foster a positive work culture have employees who enjoy their work and are more committed towards their goals. Thus performance levels are high while absenteeism is also low. What measures are you taking to improve your work culture?