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Investing in Happiness: Solutions for a Better Work Culture

Amy Blackburn

A corporation’s culture is best displayed through its overall manner and attitude—both internally and externally. 

If you have a supremely merry or unorthodox culture, your employees will remain engaged and look forward to coming to work if only to avoid missing anything. That kind of engagement can’t be bought.

Or can it?

Investing in your business’s work environment does much more than many C-level executives might think. Not only does it send a positive message to your team, it creates a better work culture that resonates inside and outside the office walls.

Here are six smart investments to make to improve your overall work culture:

1. Screen New Hires for Company Fit

When recruiting for your company, make sure you ask probing questions regarding what types of environments the new hires thrive in. If a computer programmer only wants to bang out code at his or her desk alone all day, and your culture requires an interactive leader with people skills, there will probably be a major clash once your new employee enters his or her role. 

Make sure you are screening prospects for the job fit as well as the culture fit.

Related Article: The Strategist's Guide to Defining Company Culture

2. Develop Company-Wide Volunteer Initiatives

Now that the economy has improved, teamwork and employee interaction is considered more important to job seekers than pay. If your enterprise allows employees to go off-site and engage in volunteer activities that are important to them, they will enjoy the overall culture of the company more, and should also develop long-term relationship bonds that carry over into normal workplace hours.

Related Article: Why Company Culture Matters More to Employee Than Pay

3. Frequently Recognize Employees for their Accomplishments

Fifty-five percent of individuals find recognition very important to their overall zeal. What employee incentives are in place to reward those who excel? Do you offer gift cards for staff members who go above and beyond?

You might be able to improve your company culture by simply implementing an employee recognition program.

4. Emphasize Work/Life Balance

The growing economy has alleviated the stress of job security for an increasing number of employees, making unique benefits a key part of hiring and retaining top talent. Remember, now that the economy is improving, competitors will flash sparkling new benefits at talent to lure them away from your business.

Offering work/life benefits, such as flextime, could give your company the upper hand as economic recovery continues. When employees are not so stressed out about paying their bills and can focus on their lives again, this one benefit could dramatically alter your overall company culture for the better.

Related Article: How to Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Small Business Owner

5. Encourage Workplace Friendships

When coworkers get along, the result can often be camaraderie and moral support. If everyone is friends, there is less likelihood that anyone will want to disappoint a fellow team member. If worker conflict is a problem for your organization, you will want to look into team building trainings and activities, such as the volunteer activities suggested above.

Also, to improve work culture in 2015, make sure your company is stressing and rewarding teamwork. In the past, individuals might have tolerated working with bad teammates, but they are less likely to do so now that the economy has improved. As part of this work initiative, make sure communication between units and departments is stressed, since this will improve everyone’s perceptions regarding how the company culture is one committed to teamwork.

6. Focus on Employee Strengths

Since management is the most influential aspect of any work culture; first and foremost, the company needs to hire the right types of managers to create the right type of corporate environment.  This selection process must be scientific in nature—i.e., done through testing. The type of manager hired will need to understand how all of his or her interactions with subordinates are opportunities to increase engagement. 

A wise manager will actually show empathy towards others and stimulate their levels of interest by playing into their strengths. Most importantly, mangers must have a keen eye for talent, and skillfully match up all employees with tasks related to the individual’s greatest assets.

Once this has become part of the routine, management should then graft the corporate philosophy into the culture via everyday activities.  Remember, managers have the most power to influence interest levels and the overall tone of the work culture. So now that your leader has identified each person’s strengths, he or she must develop these skills by tying them into the company’s corporate values.

As a result, at an emotional level, the team will realize that management is paying attention to their personal abilities and developing them.  Management will illustrate this via ongoing discussions about these unique attributes and keep the team focused. Once management links employee strengths into the key skills needed to be outstanding personifications of the corporate philosophy, the overall culture will improve.

Remember, now that the economy is steadily improving, your competition will try and lure away your top achievers. It will be harder for them to poach your company’s best players if your work culture is one that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Amy Blackburn Member
Amy Blackburn is a writer for Stoner Bunting Gift Cards, a nationwide leader in employee recognition gift card programs based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, Amy joined Stoner Bunting as an Account Executive. Beginning her career in the design field with a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved into the world of retail and e-commerce, having worked with retailers such as Target, Bass Pro Shops and Amazon. Amy stresses the importance of relationships with clients as the key to continued success.