The last few years have had a huge effect on workplaces worldwide.
Leaders are still navigating these new ways of working, whilst trying to create a great work environment and maintain employee happiness.
So yes, a lot has changed, but the key to sustaining a great place to work will always be a healthy work culture.
‘A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace.’ - WHO, Healthy Workplace Framework and Model
At Few&Far, we’ve spent years figuring out what works best for our business and employees and last year we received a Great Place to Work certification, with 100% of our employees anonymously agreeing that we're a fun place to work.
We’ve made mistakes, we’ve listened, we’ve grown and here’s what we’ve learnt:
When leaders keep their employees up to date and regularly share important company updates, this may increase their productivity by as much as 25%.
Having a clear line of communication is essential. Failing to do so can ultimately lead to low morale and can create misunderstandings, missed opportunities,and conflict.
So how can you communicate openly and promote employee engagement?
When you make space for your employees to give regular feedback, it positively affects their engagement and your culture for the better.
Consider a company pulse where employees can leave feedback on how they’re feeling, what’s going well and what could be better. Give them a chance to leave their ideas and feel heard.
But there’s no point in collecting feedback if you’re not going to listen to it, take it on board and implement it. Of course, you don’t have to act on every idea, but you should consider all of them. If not, it becomes extremely frustrating for employees if they open up, share ideas, give feedback and then nothing ever happens. Eventually, they’ll give up and you’ll lose some valuable insights and potentially - employees.
Not only might your employees have some great game-changing ideas, but they also might want to take a lead on these projects too. This will help with their career progression and personal development, while impacting the company in a positive way.
Psychological safety - the belief that one can speak up without risk of punishment or humiliation and has been well established as a critical driver of high-quality decision making, healthy group dynamics and interpersonal relationships.’ - Amy Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School
So, giving employees a platform to be heard is a great start, but they need to feel comfortable voicing their opinions without the fear of being judged.
Creating a psychologically safe environment is paramount and non-negotiable.
It can take time to build, how can you start?
It’s important to not only share your values but to lead by example and encompass them.
Ensure that everyone knows the company's strategic narrative and purpose, not only to guide their performance but so they feel that they belong on the journey.
Last, but far from least.
Believe in your team, trust them and always support them. If you can’t trust someone, you shouldn’t hire them.
Nurture autonomy and creative freedom. This will allow every team member's unique voice to shine through.
Take time to understand their needs and goals and ensure they have a clear vision for the future of their role. Then together, define a clear path on how to get there by setting precise and achievable targets. Remember to focus their targets not only on performance but on behaviours that align with your company values too.
Creating and maintaining a healthy workplace requires continuous effort and self assessment. It’s not a quick fix but for your people and your company, it’s worth it.