A happy workplace results in happy staff, thereby increasing motivation, engagement and, ultimately, business profitability, says Kelly Tucker.

Developing and implementing an effective workplace culture does not to be a lengthy or difficult process. There are a few simple things businesses can do to get started:

  1. Create a culture from within
Start by talking to your employees – what do they think is being done well; what’s missing; what can be improved? By listening to their views, you can make improvements and develop a culture which works, on balance, for everyone.
  1. Manage your employees, not just your business
With so much of our time spent in work, our working environment has a huge impact on our wellbeing. Everyone is different. Investing in individuals increases staff engagement and, therefore, a person’s fulfilment in the office and their role within it. Team building activities are also a great way to learn more about each employee’s specific skills and reinforces their position within the team.
  1. Empower
No-one else knows your business, and its goals, like your employees, but do they share your business values? Do they think your goals are achievable? Trust and empower your employees to be decision makers and have a say in how the company is run.
  1. Value
In doing their job, people want to know they are making a difference. Performance reviews not only allow to you check in with an employee but also to share your feedback. Be open and honest with them. Setting benchmark objectives and targets allow employees to track their progress and see the positive impact their role and feedback is having overall. Pulse surveys are a great way to instantly capture ‘in-the-moment’ feedback. This demonstrates you care about how staff are feeling on a regular basis and not just during an annual review.
  1. Communicate
Everyone in your business is working towards the same goal. Ensuring two-way open and honest communication exists builds trust and respect. Are your current engagement practices working? Host regular company review meetings to share business updates with your employees. After all, they deserve to know what’s going on. Likewise, they should also feel free to share what is going on with them – both their successes and concerns.
  1. Develop
Investing time and/or money in developing your employees and their skills can lead to them becoming ‘masters’ of their trade/vocation, benefitting them and you. It’s also worth looking beyond traditional training methods, such as podcasts, e-learning etc. Encourage staff to share their knowledge with each other and empower more experienced employees to train others. Think about charity and volunteering opportunities too, which can help employees develop skills they couldn’t learn in an office environment.
  1. Look ahead
People also want to have a say in the direction of their career. This gives them a sense of purpose and cements where they fit into the ‘bigger picture’. If their expectations are realistic, help them a plan for this but if not, let them know. By managing these expectations, it allows staff to make informed decisions regarding their future.
  1. Protect the environment
Make your office environment a good one; one your employees want to spend time in. Regular staff socials allow employees to get to know each other outside of work and can help strengthen office relationships. If suitable, you could also think about more flexible working environments, such as allowing staff to work from home or other locations, choose how and when they do their work, and working hours driven by deadlines and workload.
  1. Reward and recognise
From a simple thank you to employee of the month, find out what reward and recognition schemes work for your team and ensure everyone knows about them. With the importance of employee wellbeing being highlighted more and more, ensure your health and safety policies and procedures are up-to-date. Think about annual health checks and what benefits you can offer around this, e.g. gym membership, health care etc. Fit and healthy employees tending to be happier and more motivated.
  1. Don’t neglect ‘traditional’ HR
Think about the processes you currently have in place. Are they efficient? Investing in HR software means data is all kept in one place allowing staff to have more power over their own personal data. Keep the focus on your core company values. Performance management, appraisals and 1-2-1s naturally then become a proactive and relevant exercise, driven by the employee rather than the employer. This allows you to ensure everyone is proactively engaged in the business and their own development.

Kelly Tucker, is a Director of HR consultancy, HR Star