As an employer in our community, you are responsible for cultivating a positive working environment for your team. Not only is it the right thing to do, and it will therefore bring significant personal satisfaction to you as a business leader, but it’s also a vitally important step you can take to protect your business interests. Let’s take a look at some strategies you can implement today to improve your workplace environment and culture.
- Create (or update) your employee handbook
Your handbook is not a “set it and forget it” type of document. It must be reviewed and updated with regularity to ensure you are complying with all of the latest recommendations and requirements. Furthermore, you should take care to make the handbook easily accessible to your employees. Ideally, you would provide each of them with a hard copy on their first day of work, along with an electronic version that can be updated as needed and accessed anywhere, anytime. These written policies and procedures are essential for keeping your business running smoothly and protecting you from liability. They help you set the tone and establish expectations for how employees behave in the workplace.
- Lead by example
Your employees are looking to you to set the bar in terms of how they will interact amongst themselves and with your clients, vendors, and other important third parties. It is key to have a leadership team in place that is not only competent but kind as well. Workplace culture starts at the top, and by treating your team with the respect they deserve, you can create an environment that is both productive and pleasant. Take care to demonstrate the behaviors you want to see in your employees, such as being patient, polite, and helpful, and seek out managers who share your values.
- Conduct exit interviews
When employees leave your business, do not miss the opportunity to review the details of their experiences working for you. Even if you sense some unresolved tension in the employment relationship, that is all the more reason to investigate what went wrong and why your employee has chosen to seek work elsewhere. These insights will help you to retain current and future employees, avoiding the significant time and financial burdens of the hiring and training processes. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback from employees who are on their way out. It may be humbling, but it will ultimately help you to excel as a business leader and as an organization.
- Hold training and other events
Once a positive culture is in place, you can maintain it by holding development programs on relevant topics like workplace civility, stress management, and communication skills. The benefits of these are twofold: first, the direct results of the training, and second, the overall values you are able to demonstrate, like caring about your employees and being committed to providing a respectful work environment. Another good idea is to hold events specifically for the sake of employee appreciation, whether it’s a weekend of travel to a seminar with all expenses paid or a simple Friday afternoon pizza party in the break room.
- Review your hiring and onboarding procedures
Another important way to establish a healthy workplace culture is to hire people who align themselves with your values and whose personalities will help you foster cooperation and harmony on a broader scale. The interview process is a key part of identifying the right fit for your organization. Some candidates look great on paper, but even applicants with the best qualifications may have a negative attitude that could be disruptive or even destructive to your business. When you do find the right people for the job, ensure that your training process will make them feel comfortable and welcome. Consider assigning a designated mentor, whether that person is a peer or a more senior leader, to go to for help as needed.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with developing and improving the culture in your business environment. The possibilities are endless and can be tailored to your unique concerns and challenges. You have the power to implement positive changes that will increase employee satisfaction and protect your business operations, and you can start today. If you are interested in learning about my experience as a corporate law attorney assisting business leaders and entrepreneurs in our community, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 407-647-7887.