A 7-step plan for improving your company's workplace culture

management

Workplace culture can be similar to the weather — everybody talks about it, but who actually does anything to change it? Guest poster Sandeep Kumar offers seven steps employers can take to improve their day-to-day working environments.  
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Most of us spend too much time at work. When you account for the commuting to and from the office; the time spent at night and on weekends preparing reports, presentations, and other work-related projects; and even the time we spend thinking and worrying about work, it’s fair to say that we spend most of our time working.
In today’s competitive business environment, it’s almost a requirement that we give too much of our lives to our work. Yet given this type of commitment, it’s easy to become burned out. And when that happens, spending so much time at work can be discouraging, disappointing and depressing.
Successful organizations look for ways to constantly improve workplace culture, finding new opportunities for motivating people to want to come to work, want to give more, and want to strive for the overall success of the organization.
Here are seven fast, easy and mostly free ways you can make your business a more enjoyable, rewarding, and fun place for your employees to go to work every day.

Implement employee rewards programs

Have you ever worked in a place where the guiding thought was “Your paycheck IS your reward!” How did that make you feel? Probably not highly motivated to do better!
While offering fair and competitive wages is essential for retaining the best people, to keep your employees engaged you need to offer more in terms of employee incentives and rewards.
Any sales manager can tell you that a motivated workforce is a successful workforce. Sales commissions, contests, and promotions keep employees interested in succeeding and pushing farther and farther so that they accomplish more for both themselves and the organization.
But you don’t have to be in sales to reward your employees. Incentivize your staff by rewarding innovation. For example, at Harrah’s Casinos, there was a company-wide program called “The Big Idea” in which employees were encouraged to come up with ways to improve the operations, customer service experience, and profitability of the company’s properties.
Employees were told they would share in the financial benefits of any idea that proved to be successful. For a very small financial investment, the massive casino company was able to come up with hundreds of ideas that improved revenues, profits and market share.

Recognition programs

People like to be compensated and rewarded for a job well done. But they also like to be recognized.
Employee recognition programs offer some of the biggest benefits for the lowest investment. Whether you are celebrating an “Employee of the Month” or simply requiring your managers and supervisors to interact personally with each of their direct report employees on a weekly or daily basis, you can improve morale and motivate the workforce for next to nothing.

Team-building outings

Sometimes taking your team off-site for some sort of team building outing is a highly effective way of strengthening loyalty bonds, improving morale, and blowing off a little steam at the same time.
For example, at Advance Systems, we have organized after work soccer games, organized go-cart outings, sponsored Friday evening pizza parties, and other successful events that have re-energized our staff and made them more committed than ever to the overall success of the organization.

Competition

Friendly competition is a highly effective way to get more out of your workforce. People naturally will work harder when they know they are competing against somebody else. It’s human nature.

Continuing education

Offering continuing education to your workforce is another effective way of improving workplace culture. This can take the form of reimbursing tuition costs for community college courses or bringing in experts to hold seminars on important topics related to your business.
Your people will feel more engaged with your business if you offer them knowledge as well as financial compensation.

Pre-shift meetings

Holding a brief meeting before the real work of the day begins is a great way to set the tone, distribute important information, and get every member of your team engaged on a personal basis.
Pre-shift meetings are especially effective for companies in which customer service is a priority because it can boost employee’s mood and get them into the proper mind frame for impressing customers with their enthusiasm and engagement.

Post-mortems

All too often in business, we rush from one thing to another without taking time to conduct an assessment of what just happened.
Holding “post mortem” after an important project of business deal allows teams to gain perspective. They can assess what went right and what went wrong and work towards continual improvement. This helps improve future performance while at the same time giving team members the breathing room they need to catch their breath and prepare for the next challenge.
Implementing some or all of these seven secret techniques will help improve your workplace culture so that your organization is more successful, more profitable and – most importantly – a better place for your employees to go to work every day.

Sandeep Kumar is digital marketing specialist at Advance Systems, a HR software solution firm based in Boston. His firm specializes in workforce management solutions.