We all have mornings where we just can’t seem to make ourselves get out of bed. And all of us experience “those days” at work where everything seems to go wrong, and that can make going back the next day even harder.
Unfortunately, for many employees, those days are every day.
Where they work is a miserable place to be. The people they work around are toxic. The job they do is stressful. There’s no relief in sight, and they’re always ready to quit.
Creating a positive work environment is something every leader can do to keep all of that from being true of their company. In this post, we’ll show you how.
Creating a Positive Work Environment
Recently, we wrote about “How to Combat Low Job Satisfaction (And Help Your Employees Succeed).” One of the 6 job satisfaction factors we covered was “Positive Culture.”
As the leader of your company (or a leader within someone else’s business), you set the tone for the entire organization. Make sure that what you’re doing is creating a positive work environment…not a negative one.
When they sense from you that either:
- negative culture is tolerated (usually through passivity or inability to confront bad behavior), or
- negative culture is encouraged (because you, as the leader, are actively engaged in it)
the people around you will be less effective in their jobs, and they probably won’t stick around very long.
A positive work environment, however, accomplishes several things:
- happier/healthier employees
- more focus on work instead of drama
- higher levels of motivation to do good work
- lower turnover
- increased innovation
- better quality of the products/services your team delivers
Types of Organizational Culture
The culture of your workplace is simply a result of the way the leadership of the organization chooses to run it. Based on that, a business will develop a consistent set of guidelines for how employees and leaders interact…usually grown out of unwritten “conduct norms.”
Culture is developed and nurtured much the way a gardener prepares and tends a garden. If tended to carefully and intentionally, you can expect a harvest of positivity and productivity. If left alone or mismanaged, plan on a large crop of weeds in the form of negativity and stress.
Since you’re the type of leader who reads a blog post like this, you are clearly interested in cultivating a positive workplace “garden.” So here are 4 commonly understood types of organizational culture to help you:
Over the past 40 years of serving small businesses, farm operations, and non profits in cities across West Tennessee including Jackson, Dyersburg, and Brownsville, we’ve been able to observe all 4 of these cultures at work. Let’s unpack each one.
Clan culture is the kind of workplace defined as people-oriented and collaborative. It is often found in small businesses that are family-owned and operated. However, any company can develop a clan culture by putting emphasis on employee engagement and involvement in decision-making processes. There may be job titles in a clan culture, but everyone feels like equals and has the freedom to contribute their ideas.
Adhocracy culture comes from the idea that bureaucracy is a bad thing. “Ad hoc” means “when needed or necessary.” So an adhocracy culture in the workplace doesn’t have a lot of rules or levels of management to work through in order to get things done. The emphasis in an adhocracy is on innovation and delivering cutting-edge products and services quickly. Many tech startups operate this way. Once a company becomes fairly large, however, an adhocracy culture is difficult to maintain. Leaders need to be prepared to put some structure in place overall and consider allowing certain departments to continue without a lot of “red tape.”
Hierarchy culture is what most people are familiar with when it comes to corporate environments. There is a clear chain of command, and every employee understands where they fall within the company’s organizational flow chart. Job descriptions are well defined, and the company has specific processes to be followed. It’s the most common culture because it is extremely efficient and predictable. However, companies with this culture often find it difficult to innovate or adapt quickly to market disruptions.
Market culture in a company happens when delivering the best product/service before the competition is the most important goal. Employees are expected to put in long hours to meet demanding deadlines, and organizations that operate this way often experience high levels of turnover. There are times when a business may need to operate this way for a while to meet a shared goal (releasing a new product or putting on a big annual event, for example). But if employee satisfaction is important to you, this model isn’t very sustainable.
You can learn more about these 4 culture styles plus 12 more identified by the Harvard Business Review here in a post by the Academy to Innovate HR.
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Positive Workplace Cultures
The best definition of a positive workplace culture is “a place where people actually want to go to work.”
LBMC, a business advisory firm with several locations in our home state of Tennessee, listed 5 characteristics of a positive workplace culture in a recent blog post that are worth summarizing here:
- They create clarity through good communication.
- There are opportunities to grow professionally.
- Collaboration is encouraged.
- Hard work is rewarded.
- Shared values create a sense of unity and purpose.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
One way of creating a positive work environment is to make sure that your employees have a life outside of work. If all they do is work for you (see the “Market Culture” above), they will eventually do one, or all, of the following things.
- Grow bitter
- Become less productive
Any of those are going to cost you money in the long run. Your business will be affected, and your bottom line will suffer.
But there are benefits of a healthy work-life balance that can help you and your employees avoid those problems.
Cambridge dictionary defines work-life balance as: “the amount of time your spend doing your job compared to the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.”
Here are several benefits to living and working this way for both employees and employers:
- Better personal health and well-being
- Reduced stress
- Higher levels of engagement
- Increased productivity
- Better morale
- Less absenteeism
- Lower turnover
Work-Life Balance Secrets
Christy Wright, an author and personal development expert at Ramsey Solutions, says “Work-life balance isn’t about a 50-50 split. It’s about being 100% present…choosing to be present in the moment you’re in not only helps you feel more balanced, but also leads to more happiness overall.”
There is no such thing as perfect balance in anything all the time. To think that you can equally manage your work and personal life exactly right without fail is to chase an impossible dream.
However, even though there are seasons where either work or family take a bigger priority (a looming deadline or a sick child), if the overall trend is that you aren’t spending unreasonable amounts of time in one area to the detriment of the other…you’ve achieved work-life balance.
We Can Be Your Partner in Building Positive Culture
We get it. When you’re busy just trying to survive in today’s economic chaos, it can be hard to focus on creating a positive work environment too. But we can help. Schedule a call with our team of business experts today!