"If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself", Tony Hsiesh, CEO of Zappos.com. Every company has their own corporate culture, which determines its value and tells employees how to respond to an unprecedented service request. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own everyday, and culture is their guide. It provides them with an answer to what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which of course is the case most of the time.

Creating a positive workplace culture that is practiced both by employer and employees, tends to lead to a healthier work environment, as this will in turn lead to an increase in productivity and a higher retention of the best employees. An experiment conducted in Britain, by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy held that productivity increased by an average of 12%, and reached as high as 20% above the control group, when their happiness at work was examined. How exactly can this be done?

Positive Vision and Mission

It is important to remember, that it is mainly employees that make a company, what it is. Without the employees, there are no sales or customers, and without customers there is no business to run. Creating a vision where employees can see career growth and development, will inspire them to be more creative, productive and innovative. Coupled with this, is the importance to promote communication, trust and positive thinking, as this leads to a collaborative culture; the way you think drives the way you act. Examples such as brainstorming meetings, catch up meeting with employees and innovation retreats can all help.

Physical Environment and Occupation Health and Safety

Reduce the concern of employees by ensuring their safety at the place of work. Legally, all employers are obliged to observe certain rules. Carrying out a risk assessment is fundamental to ensure basic level of comfort. Minimum workplace standards include proper sanitation, access to drinking water and sufficient ventilation. In addition, investing in office equipment that provides comfort, making the work space slightly brighter, choosing curved or spherical furniture and making use of plants and windows will all help with providing a more relaxed atmosphere for employees.

Health and Lifestyle Practice

Skip the happy hour and introduce a healthy hour.

Everyone enjoys being looked after, including while being at work. Putting effort into employee wellness leads to stronger team work, increased productivity and a reduction in sick leave. This is particularly important in cases where employees lead a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, contributing to avoiding long chair time is increasing in popularity. Companies are introducing standing desks and cycling chairs as well as persisting with getting employees to not eat in front of their computers. Keeping in mind that unhealthy eating is linked to 66% increased risk of loss of productivity, healthy eating habits should be encouraged. Initiatives such as providing fruit, installing a juicer, blender and sandwich press, or buying healthy meals for team meetings are all examples of how this can be done.

Linked to this, exercise is also part of the puzzle piece in encouraging better employee health. Encouraging the team to take the stairs rather than the elevator, installing bike racks in the car park and providing wearable trackers for all the team are simple examples. In addition, yoga sessions or evening runs can also be organised on a regular basis.

Laughter: The Best Medicine

"There is little success where there is little laughter" – Andrew Carnegie

The office environment may already be stressful enough, so rather than adding to the stress level, try and balance it out with fun activities. This can be done through fun team building activities or celebrating events in the office such as birthdays, anniversaries and sales success etc.

The bottom line here is to highlight the importance of creating a happy corporate culture and work environment does not have to be difficult or costly. It is ideal to overcome and remain in position in stressful situations.

Martha Camilleri

Generalist Recruitment Specialist

See also:

The Role of Human Resources in Our Organizations

Attraction and Retention Strategies

Internal Transfers