In today’s fast-paced world, it has become all-too-common to hear about some truly horrible workplaces. From salary and benefits to the camaraderie between managers and support staff, any great workplace culture is a complex, interwoven network made up of a lot of smaller elements. If any of these building blocks are missing, not only will employees suffer, but so will the company itself. Absenteeism, poor retention, and lack of productivity as a result of a toxic culture have direct consequences on a company’s bottom line.
So, how can we identify what a positive culture looks like? Many of the best companies to work for have many thematic components in common, which can help significantly when looking for work or reevaluating a current situation. Here are a few things to check for.
Open, Honest Communication
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like your higher-ups aren’t sharing key information that impacts your role or the company as a whole. It can be incredibly confusing if the information you do hear doesn’t come from gatekeepers at the top, but rather is paraphrased or speculated around the office.
In the same vein, if there isn’t an open flow of communication between employees and their supervisors, higher-ups could be operating under the illusion that everything is “fine.” This, in turn, can lead to frustration and resentment on both sides. Encouraging “open-door” policies and empowering employees to voice their concerns is key to addressing this.
Focus on Health
Sweating it out in the gym can certainly help us cope with a bad work environment, but truly positive workplaces have proven to be the ones that place an emphasis on employee health from the get-go.
Instituting a corporate wellness program and including gym memberships in benefits packages are two common methods companies utilize to keep employees healthy and happy. Encouraging employees to make healthy choices on their own is also key, like allowing a break in the day to work out with coworkers in a group class, or to book a conference room and run through a HIIT training session with a workout app. These are all prime ways a company can prove it cares about making wellness accessible to its employees.
Commitment to Continued Learning
Innovation is a driving force for any successful company. Providing an environment that encourages continuous learning and professional development not only helps employees feel like they’re growing, but it is also a way for companies to develop new ideas and processes that enable them to get to the next level.
A company should make sure that there are available resources (WiFi access, software, training programs), establish learning objectives to guide employees and make sure all managers are trained appropriately to provide necessary guidance.
Clear Vision & Values
How can a person feel secure at a company where they don’t even have a clear understanding of where the company is headed, or how they fit into the end goal? A company’s vision should be concise, motivational, and readily accessible to current and potential employees alike. Having a clear mission and shared values allows a company to attract employees that will stay on board long-term, and it keeps employees from feeling trapped in a job they hate.
A healthy, well-defined company culture helps bring stability to a company and its employees, and it fosters personal and industry growth. A company that doesn’t embody at least two or three of the elements above is probably not known for its positive workplace environment. Know your value, and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve!