The thought of having a company where people from all different cultures, countries, genders, races, religions, etc. work together in respectful unity to achieve their goals is a very nice one. It’s also proven to be a reason for success for a lot of companies who do, indeed, prioritize a positive workplace culture as one of their most important missions.
Not only are acceptance and respect morally sound, but they increase employee retention, saving money and time on hiring and training new personnel, and also increase employee satisfaction. Empowered employees are, generally, better employees, and here are some ways that cultivating a positive workplace culture leads to sustainability and an increase in the bottom line.
Transparency and honesty are almost synonymous when speaking in regard to the corporate world, and that transparency means honesty with both coworkers and consumers. Many argue that transparency, especially with colleagues, is the foundation of a great, supportive company culture. Shifting a company mindset from “Why do I need to share this” to “Why would I want to keep this to myself?” is a simple-yet-highly-effective way to start moving your employees in the direction of transparency among themselves and consumers.
Being transparent brings with it a level of empowerment for those you are transparent with. When someone knows all the cards in the deck, they have a better chance at doing well. Other ways to empower include being trusting, and also being interested and respectful of personal lives/beliefs.
If an employee has an idea they seem to be extremely excited about even if it doesn’t seem like something you want to implement, encourage them to write up a quick business case with the reasons for implementation, and really give them your attention when they present that case. Even if you don’t move forward with the idea, let them know the reasons why. Then you have shown that employee that you’re willing to hear ideas, and will be honest for any reasons they may not be accepted.
Improving cultural diversity is another morally-sound and good-for-business practice that will empower employees by making them feel more comfortable in the workplace. Simple (but genuine!) things like flexible holidays allow for non-Christian employees to enjoy a week off whenever they want, instead of taking a vacation based around a holiday they do not celebrate. Allowing members of your workplace to share their cultures an beliefs in an adult show-and-tell sense also helps educate other employees… and often results in some good food being shared, as a bonus!
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is a corporate realization that remote work can save a lot of money, while simultaneously making a lot of employees feel much more comfortable when completing their work. Building on this flexibility that the coronavirus helped realize is a good thing, can further empower you employees by allowing them to find an environment in which they can maximize their potential. Some employees, no doubt, prefer the brick and mortar office, but cultivating interaction between both types of employees, and allowing them to coexist, is the definition of flexible work, a proven tool in employee retention.
At the end of the day, promoting cultural diversity, being transparent about the inner workings of the c-suite, allowing employees to have flexible work schedules to fit their lives, and promoting positivity at every turn all become moot points if you can’t bring it all together. Simple repetition of the word “team” in the workplace is a successful means for making a pool of employees feel like they are all in the same fight. Positive conflict resolution is part of this, as well, and simply letting your team know that it’s okay to disagree if you can do it respectfully is a step in a team-oriented direction.
Expecting a company-wide culture change overnight is wishful thinking, and even expecting a few initiatives related to a better workplace culture to be the be-all and end-all of the transition is not realistic. All of these practices, and more, need to become part of everyday activities. The easiest ones are also the most important ones, and those are honesty and transparency. Being honest with your employees will allow them to take on their own initiatives and help build a true foundation of a positive culture in the workplace.