The average person will spend somewhere between 20% and 30% of their entire waking hours at work, over the course of their life. So it is hardly surprising that it will matter greatly to most people what the quality of the workplace culture they spend this time in is like.
It will influence who they apply for jobs with, and how long they stay in roles; how hard they work and, to a degree, how often they are absent with a physical or mental health problem.
More than one out of five job seekers questioned in a 2022 survey cited a poor company culture as their reason for leaving their previous job.
What might a healthy workplace look like?
Typically, a healthy workplace culture will embrace values like:
- Positive attitude
- Fairness (in how employees and customers are treated)
- A strong work ethic
- Mental and physical well-being
- An appropriate work/life balance
- Clear goals
- Employee feedback
Taking that as a checklist, the start of a new year is a good time to reflect and assess your culture. Could you drive a healthier workplace culture in 2024 to help your business perform better?
Every business is different, of course. While few would argue with the above values being building blocks of a healthy workplace culture, how you might go about achieving them will vary considerably based on your budget and other situational factors like the number of staff you have and your operations.
Tips from HR for improving your workplace culture
Fairness – Much good HR starts with having the correct policies in your employee handbook, and then communicating them clearly, acting on them when called for and updating them as employment law changes over time.
Doing this will ensure that employees always know where they stand, and that you have the framework to treat everyone the same. Time for a review of your policies or how you implement them? We can help.
Positive attitude – There are numerous ways in which you can nurture a positive attitude amongst your staff. From simply leading by example, with a smile, can-do outlook and acts of kindness, to organising team social events from time-to-time. Some businesses get excellent value from coming together to fundraise for a good cause. If you have the budget you could invest in a team-building away day.
Mental and physical well-being – This is a huge area and one which has become even more a focus of attention since the pandemic. We are big advocates for including an Employee Assistance Programme in a benefits package. It is a low-cost perk which gives employees access to things like confidential helplines, to assist with challenges like mental health or debt.
There are other health benefits you could include, budget permitting – from a health cash plan or private telephone GP access, all the way up to full private medical insurance. As well as being attractive when recruiting, these benefits can help employees return to work and full productivity more quickly when they are unwell.
Aside from benefits, keep a close eye on workloads, ensuring they are manageable and that they are distributed fairly – there may be no quicker way to spread discord and resentment if one or two people are having to work much harder than the others.
Lots of businesses invest in training up mental health first aiders within their team, who can be a strong first line of defence against mental health struggles. We offer eLearning courses for this as well as other training.
Encourage employee feedback – The anonymous ideas box may seem a bit old fashioned now, but there are plenty of other ways to show you are listening. One-to-one appraisals are one good opportunity as long as you make it clear it is two-way and they are comfortable speaking directly. Alternatively, technology makes it easy to send out an employee survey every now and then using Mailchimp or similar software.
Want to improve your productivity through a healthy workplace culture?
If you are feeling inspired to improve your workplace culture and want to get started with our expert support, please do not hesitate to contact us.