Building a Positive Workplace Culture: Importance & Best Practices

Create a happy & fulfilling culture, whether you're in a traditional workplace setting or a remote environment
Building a Positive Workplace Culture: Importance & Best Practices

Since the onset of the pandemic, the global workforce has dramatically changed.

During the lockdown, the majority of employees in the U.S. were forced to work from home for over a year. Even though restrictions are easing in many states, research shows that Americans prefer this setup to stay safe and protect their families against the virus.

Remote work is becoming permanent, indeed. In fact, by 2025, experts predict that 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month.

While it certainly benefits employees, the transition to the work-from-home setup poses challenges to every organization, particularly in building a positive workplace culture.

Without face-to-face interactions, many employees somehow feel disconnected from their organizations. Feelings of isolation, along with performance and productivity issues, are also very apparent.

Importance of Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is a broad concept. In a nutshell, it is the environment an organization creates for its employees. It results from the company’s beliefs, core values, practices, and ways of working.

Many things help shape workplace culture:

  • Leadership — how leaders communicate and interact with employees, their vision, how they celebrate accomplishments, and recognize the value employees give to the organization.
  • Management — the systems, procedures, organizational hierarchy, and policies that employees are required to follow.
  • Workplace practices — these include day-to-day activities, manners of working/communicating and collaborating, performance management, hiring and onboarding, and other workplace traditions.
  • Company mission, vision, and values — the beliefs or philosophies of the organization impact employees’ behaviors.

Best Practices for Building a Positive Workplace Culture

In a traditional workplace, maintaining a positive culture is relatively easy. But in a remote environment, it can be incredibly difficult.

Thankfully, there are ways to build and enhance positive workplace culture, regardless of the geographical boundaries between leaders/managers and employees.

1. Define Your Company Values and Morals

At the heart of an organization’s culture are the commonly shared values and morals. These are the philosophies and beliefs that drive your company towards its goals. Having clear company values ensures that you and your employees are working towards the same goal.

It’s impossible to create great teams, foster innovation, and deliver excellent customer service if a company doesn’t have a defined set of values that are shared with employees.

Your company values are your company’s DNA. They include several good attributes, such as teamwork, trustworthiness, accountability, honesty, and effective time management solutions.

It’s not enough that employees are aware of these core values. They have to live by them. To do that, these values have to be incorporated in all aspects of people management.

2. Master Internal Communications

Communication issues are very common in remote work environments. Employees want to be informed, stay in the loop, and understand what’s going on in their organization even though they are working from home. Without knowing where the company is headed, it’s hard for employees to figure out how they can contribute towards that goal.

It’s easy for an employee to “get lost” with critical company updates when there is no clear SOP for internal communications.

Therefore, instead of relying on emails alone, consider taking these actions to improve the way your teams communicate:

  • Utilize project management tools. There are a plethora of online and CRM platforms that organizations can use to facilitate their day-to-day operations. These tools make assigning projects easier, along with making follow-ups and offering help.
  • Encourage information-sharing. Provide an online platform where your employees can share best practices, industry news, and information. This doesn’t only enhance communication, but also promotes sharing of valuable insights that can be helpful to your business.
  • Make room for fun. Ease feelings of isolation by allowing your team to gather and enjoy. It could be a weekly lunch or a virtual gathering. Create online channels where they can discuss non-work-related matters to foster friendship and camaraderie among your staff.
  • Conduct regular check-ins with your team. Take time to check on your employees. Encourage them to open up about the challenges they face at work.

3. Keep Employees Engaged With Online Games

Positive workplace culture has many characteristics. One of them is “fun”.

Creating a fun environment helps your employees get through those challenging days and keep them engaged, productive, and happy.

As remote work has become the new normal, the sense of fun usually ceases. No more chitchats during breaks, team lunches, and happy hours after work. Often, everything just becomes plain work.

To combat the negative effects of remote work, consider conducting virtual team-building activities through corporate games.

Games like Charade, “Guess Who”, Pictionary, puzzles, and personality quizzes can work wonders in keeping your employees engaged. These games also help spark creativity, which in turn drives productivity and engagement.

You can also host virtual events to celebrate major occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Independence day. Ask everyone to play dress-up and whoever has the best outfit wins.

4. Encourage Feedback

The healthiest and most productive cultures are those where employees are free to speak their minds, ask questions, and express their needs.

Research shows that employees value a listening culture more than a higher compensation.

Most employees don’t regularly speak their minds at work. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to. They may just be afraid of the possible consequences.

A workplace culture that values employee feedback is very empowering. When people know their suggestions and concerns matter, they feel valued. This strengthens their trust in their employers — a crucial element of a productive working relationship.

Check out these suggestions to encourage employee feedback:

  • Do it through surveys. Surveys are an easy, low-cost way to gather insights and suggestions from your employees. Allow “anonymous” names so they can freely express their needs.
  • Conduct one-on-ones. Create a safe and encouraging environment for each of your team members to voice out their concerns.
  • Set up a confidential complaints line.
  • Make a safe space. Create a process where employees can file complaints without the fear of getting bashed by their peers or supervisors.
  • Practice active listening. Whether it’s a company meeting or a one-on-one session, make sure you’re allowing your employees to speak.

5. Recognize and Appreciate Your Employees

The best cultures are also those where employees are valued and recognized. You need not wait for the annual employee recognition day to show how much you appreciate employees’ hard work.

Simple gestures like a tap on the shoulder or a shoutout on social media or via email can go a long way in making your employees feel valued. Recognition is a meaningful way to show your employees that you care for them.

Even in a remote setup, there are ways to celebrate achievements together. These include announcing major accomplishments during virtual meetings, sending gift cards or vouchers, e-certificates, recognition on public channels, or using your very own recognition platform. You can also write them a personalized message that details their good behaviors and how you appreciate those.

Make sure to recognize employees for specific actions and BE TIMELY! Meaning, if you see that a behavior merits recognition, give it right away. Don’t wait!

Conclusion: Building a Positive Workplace Culture

Creating a positive workplace culture is essential to the success of any organization. It has become even more vital these days as more and more businesses transition to remote work.

A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, drives employee engagement, makes people productive and efficient, and leads to job satisfaction. When employees are satisfied, they can contribute more to your company.

It takes a lot of hard work to build a solid culture especially now that face-to-face interaction is limited. It all starts by defining your core values and ensuring that they are demonstrated in the day-to-day activities at work.

Next, master internal communications, allow your employees to have fun, listen to their needs, and recognize their hard work.

With these strategies, you can create a happy and fulfilling culture whether you’re in a traditional workplace setting or a remote environment.

About the Author

Meggie is an HR Manager at AMGtime and a passionate Freelance Writer with ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She is deeply convinced that valuable experience sharing is key to business success. Meggie believes in a win-win formula and utilizes it on a daily basis in staff management.

See how Hi5 can improve your company culture here!