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New Year, Time for a Workplace Culture Makeover?

Auld Lang Syne has been sung, calendars have been retired, and the daunting year of 2020 is finally put behind us. While many of the challenges that characterized 2020 will continue into 2021, we could all use a fresh start in whatever shape it comes. As your office faces a new beginning, it is worthwhile to take stock of the culture that 2020 created, and how you want to shape that into a healthier space for 2021.

For small businesses, it is imperative that workplace culture is intentionally upkept to produce healthier and happier employees. These three questions below can help company leaders assess their current workplace and identify where changes need to be made.

How often am I assessing employee wellbeing?

Small offices can give the illusion that employees are better known by their superiors, but that may not be true for each workplace. While small businesses often cultivate a more informal work environment, this does not always mean that there is a clear communication flow between employers and employees.

The pandemic has hit everyone differently, causing more stress on the average employee. It is valuable to keep a running report of all employee’s wellbeing. This feedback may include information on employee stress levels, their use of your insurance, ability to communicate with superiors, their reaction to how COVID has affected the workplace, and more. Both mental and physical health of your employees can be measured in a myriad of ways. The resources below may be helpful in determining what data points could be most helpful for you to know.

Having this information can allow you to shape workplace policies to improve results. More than just caring about your employees, this has benefits that connect directly to your company. A 2019 study by the University of Warwick found that employee happiness correlated with a 12% upswing in productivity, while a lack of happiness lessened productivity by 10%.

Am I creating a collaborative work environment?

Hearing the concerns of your employees is a great starting place, but there is more to be done. Empowering employees to collaborate on workplace projects will allow them to gain a greater passion for their work, increasing their happiness and overall productivity. Collaboration gives employers the opportunity to learn more about their employee’s skills and value each employee for their unique contributions.

As many offices are remote during COVID-19, it is imperative that each employer clearly identifies how they would like their employees to collaborate. It is worth the time to brainstorm how you can actively be engaging with your employees on office projects, whether in or outside the office. Consistently asking for feedback, handing off various project details, or even reimagining task designations to promote more feedback can help you get the most out of your employees while instilling in them your appreciation for their contribution.

Below are some ideas you may consider when thinking about tangible ways to structure a workplace that actively encourages collaboration:

· Weekly brainstorm meetings for various office tasks

· Frequently encouraging employees to share project progress

· Designate time to troubleshoot collectively

· Posting a digital forum to document ongoing project ideas

· Considering employee growth in responsibility designation

· Regularly asking for feedback in anonymous surveys

How am I investing in my employees?

More than just prioritizing collaboration in the workplace, what are you doing to enhance their professional capabilities outside of sharing their skills with each other? What kind of career opportunities are you providing? Investing in your employee’s professional growth is an imperative part of keeping your employee’s happy and engaged in your workplace.

Bob Nelson, Ph.D, author of the 2018 book “1,000 Ways to Engage Employees” noted, “ I did a regression analysis of three million employee surveys and found that the second-most significant driver of employee engagement is career development – that is, learning, development and advancement opportunities that are provided to employees on a systematic basis. Career development isn’t an occasional training class or periodical promotions but, rather, the daily journey of learning, job skills and networking that puts employees on the course they most want to travel in their career – with their manager’s help getting there.”

Investing back in your employees through offered training, paid seminars, and conference memberships can tangibly remind your employees that they are valued above their daily contribution to your company. Various benefits of investing in employee’s professional growth include employee retention, company loyalty, and increased productivity. This article provides 50 free professional resources to help you begin exploring different opportunities to provide for your employees.

Do you want help brainstorming how you can increase efficiency and provide a healthier workplace culture? Contact us today.

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