Is your office a place that you dread walking into, or the place where you feel you can be your truest self? The answer to this question can determine your quality of life at work and beyond, as workplace happiness is a huge contributor to overall happiness. A 2017 iOffice study found that almost half of Americans are unhappy at work, with 46 percent saying the reason is that they are underappreciated. This staggering statistic is the reason that Itivate works with corporate leaders to improve workplace culture through specific strategies, leading to an increase in employee satisfaction and ultimately retention.
Here are the top five signs we see that things are going well, and the workplace environment is thriving.
#1 RULES, GOALS, AND PROCEDURES ARE CLEAR, ACCESSIBLE, AND DOABLE
Goal and rule confusion is one of the most direct indicators of burnout. Clients I’ve worked with are completely incapable of achieving and feeling like they contribute at work if they don’t even know the rules and missions of the game they are playing, and we’re not talking about catering to endless needs created by lack of accountability. We are talking about clear-cut, achievable goals backed by data and the people you’re empowering to meet them If the only way these goals and procedures are being communicated is through monotonous, repetitive corporate trainings or sweeping motivational speeches or aspirational messaging, it’s not enough. Companies succeeding in this area are not only communicating the goals, procedures, and rules clearly, but are allowing employees to help create them. Having “buy-in” to company goals directly increases personal motivation to achieve them, and increases loyalty to the company and their mission.
#2 LEADERS ARE RESILIENT, AWARE, OPEN-MINDED, AND THEY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES
If a leader is burned out, they can’t and won’t be able to encourage their team and ensure the well-being of employees, which are the main responsibilities of those in leadership roles. Leaders in corporate cultures that are thriving do the following:
Prioritize their own self care to be rejuvenated and energized enough to care for others
Create a modern approach to leadership, with an open mind towards new ideas and theories, as well as new ways to work with their teams to keep things fresh
Set intentions for the day, the week, the month, and the year, and communicate and create those intentions to others.
Break down goals for their employees into smaller and doable chunks, then give positive praise for completing those missions. If constructive feedback is warranted, this is an agile approach to ensure your team is gaining momentum toward success along the way, not just waiting until the deliverable date to find they were perhaps off track.
Know they don’t have all the answers, and are willing to admit when they don’t (and to say they don’t know but will find a solution)
#3 EMPLOYEES HAVE MULTIPLE LEVELS TO THEIR SUPPORT SYSTEMS
One of the most important indicators of positive workplace culture is that employees have multiple resources and systems in place for when they need help. Do you or your employees know what to do if they need mentorship? Are experiencing tech problems? HR issues? Do they have other employees they can confide in who observe professional and supportive friendship ethics? These systems and networks are key to workplace happiness for employees, and sanity for leaders, so that they will be able to find answers to problems without coming to their leader everything, or worse, without bottling up their issues and never finding resolution.
#4 THERE’S AN OPEN FEEDBACK SYSTEM AND EMPLOYEES FEEL SAFE TO DISAGREE
So a leader explains a new initiative that’s about to start, and not all employees are on board. What do they do next? A trait of a toxic work environment is that they complain to each other behind the leader’s back, and don’t feel safe to vocalize their hesitations, concerns, or disagreement to the leader directly. Are there other means of voicing discontent such as employee surveys, mentors who are considered “safe places” to share without fear of political retaliation in the workplace? If employees can’t respectfully disagree with leaders, it’s time for a culture overhaul in your workplace.
#5 DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR TEAM WHEN BUSINESS PRIORITIES CHANGE
In addition you notifying you team of the new impacts associated with a change (we’ve seen countless examples of where the notification step was missed), don’t forget to ask how your team feels and more importantly, inquire and collaborate with them on helpful ways to implement the changes with ease. This makes the adjustment into aa team implemented approach, and leaders no longer have to agonize so much on constructing “perfect message” complete with “all the answers” By solutioning as a team, leaders also get the benefit of a team who’s bought in sooner and executes quickly.
Written by Jessica Walther, CEO of Itivate