They took a couple hundred years to realize it, but employers have finally begun to appreciate the value of having a positive workplace culture. And when we say “value” we don’t mean the abstract, feel-good type of social value brand managers bandy around these days. We mean cold, hard cash.
Research shows that when employees care about their work and feel satisfied with it, they can help their employer not only make more money, but grow their operation as a whole. When giving them a sense of investment, such as through a profit sharing program, that motivation goes up even higher.
So how can you make your employees happier, and your bottom line happier by proxy? There is no magic bullet since every organization and workplace culture will be different, but here are three of the most important trends:
Start by Rethinking Your Work Space
Environment has a huge effect on our psychology, especially if that environment is something we will likely see 40 hours out of our week for years on end.
Recognizing this connection, leading organizations around the world like Google and Flickr pour money into crafting work spaces that inspire creativity and reduce stress. And while your company doesn’t have to implement a full-scale gym and playground on-site to accomplish your morale goals, it should be willing to depart from expected norms of what an office should look like.
Get creative with décor like hanging fan art from your staff’s favorite book, TV or movie series. Give employees a space to work away from their desk where they can enjoy comfortable seating, natural light and some uplifting scenery. Steer away from drab colors in favor of light, natural ones. Provide entertaining distractions like ping pong for employees to take a break and unspool their minds.
Ideas like these help your office environment itself work with employees’ creative energies rather than against them. At the very least, they make work a more exciting place to go to.
Let Your Employees Contribute to the Company Vision
Google’s famous 20 percent time policy — where employees dedicate 20 percent of their work time to passion projects — has been responsible for giving birth to products like Gmail and the Google News tab. Other companies find that employees have great ideas to reach out to the community, expand operations or shift focus in effective ways. Allowing these employees to share their input lets them feel invested in their work and also gives leaders helpful outside perspective.
Share Your Cash
It may sound paradoxical, but giving your employees a larger percentage of your profits ends up making you more money in the long run. Offering generous salaries, benefits and perks, for instance, can allow you to attract some of the best talent.
Companies that engage in profit sharing see the best results, though. Profit sharing payouts help channel employee focus on lifting the bottom line, and at the very least they give good employees a strong incentive to stick around. So how do you set out to improve workplace culture in your office? Or, as an employee, what types of things would you like to see more of at work?
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