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5 Essential Factors for Cultivating a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 Tips to build a healthy work culture

A healthy workplace culture means happy employees and happy employees are productive employees. Researchers from the Department of Economics of the University of Warwick conducted four experiments involving 700 participants. Their human resource (HR) study results indicate that happiness made people 12% more productive.

This University of Warwick study provides causal evidence supporting one of the most popular HR insights espoused by people champions: that happy employees work harder. If this is not enough to convince you that cultivating a healthy workplace culture is in your business’s best interests, consider the FTSE Russell’s findings using its Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For index.

FTSE Russell created a hypothetical stock index listing the Great Place To Work® 100 best companies. Analyzing 25 years of market data, FTSE Russell found that its 100 Best Companies index consistently outperformed the market by a factor of 3.36. If you had invested in the 100 Best Companies index, your returns on that investment would be more than triple your gains on a similar amount invested in another portfolio. This means companies that are great places to work for — companies with a healthy workplace culture — are more profitable than companies that do not share the distinction.

Putting these two pieces of data together, one can conclude that a business can be more productive and profitable by cultivating a healthy workplace culture.

How can your organization accomplish this? Establish these five factors that are hallmarks of a healthy workplace culture.

1. Clear Communication

When there’s clear communication, what one says is relayed precisely as it was meant and intended instead of being muddied and misinterpreted.

To foster clear communication, operationalise open communication in your organisation. Your employees must feel encouraged, empowered and enabled to express their thoughts, ideas, opinions, concerns, and feedback without fearing retribution, negative judgement and adverse consequences.

Open communication ensures messages are clearly, accurately and precisely delivered. It also makes employees feel comfortable and happy, encourages the free exchange of ideas, induces understanding and facilitates collaboration. These will naturally increase productivity, improve teamwork, boost employee loyalty, and ease cultural gaps among employees, all of which can lead to a snowballing of positive outcomes.

2. Trust and Respect

A healthy workplace is characterised by trust and respect among the organisation’s human resources. Employees trust that their colleagues are doing their best work and will deliver agreed-upon outputs correctly and on time; this eliminates the need for micromanagement and the stress that comes with it. Employees respect each other’s boundaries, ensuring harmonious work relations and minimising conflicts.

Building trust and respect is vital for a healthy workplace culture. Employees who feel trusted are more likely to take risks, share innovative ideas and collaborate effectively. When they feel respected, they will take ownership of their work and contribute more.

Trust and respect need time to flourish. To start, you must establish systems that encourage your people to trust and respect each other.

You can make people feel valued and respected by recognising their contributions through awards, bonuses and profit-sharing. You can delegate tasks and then keep your hands off to prove you trust your people to do the work.

Encourage your leadership to internalise trust and respect and lead by example. Your executives and managers must treat everyone with dignity and fairness.

When challenges arise, you must always choose the side that exhibits and demonstrates trust and respect and reward those who embody these values.

3. Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is the balance between the time employees spend working and the time they spend pursuing their interests, and it is a notable characteristic of a healthy workplace.

You can promote work-life balance by encouraging employees to take breaks, providing unlimited personal time offs and ensuring people use their time-off benefits.

You can facilitate remote work arrangements and make working remotely accessible for your employees. This will help increase the time your people can spend with their families or devote to their hobbies.

You can also institute a no-weekend work policy. For instance, you can discourage communicating over the weekend. You can also allow employees to work according to their preferred schedules. Such flexibility in working hours will lead to a significantly better work-life balance.

4. Continuous Learning and Development

Employees value learning and development. Some even pursue training outside their workplace, paying out of pocket for programs that will help them enhance their skills.

While it is reasonable to assume that this is due to their desire to increase their competitiveness in the job market, data from the 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends by the Society for Human Resource Management indicate otherwise. According to this report, only 27% actively pursue training opportunities to change jobs. More than half are doing so because they want to learn something new (57%) and develop their careers (54%).

Whatever the underlying reason for wanting training, it is clear that employees desire learning and development opportunities. It is also safe to suppose that learning and development programs are necessary for employee satisfaction and workplace health. In fact, a 2021study revealed that employees believe learning and upskilling opportunities improve their job satisfaction and are a consideration when deciding to stay at their jobs.

Organisations that want a healthy workplace must offer learning and development opportunities. They must encourage mentoring between experienced and new employees, conduct in-house training programs and workshops and give their employees the time and monetary resources to pursue upskilling training. They must also have feedback and guidance loops for continued employee improvement and established career advancement paths.

5. Commensurate Compensation

The health of a workplace goes beyond monetary compensation, but financial compensation remains a significant part of it. You must give a fair and commensurate salary to your people.

To make employees feel valued and their efforts rewarded, conduct regular salary reviews to ensure they are compensated competitively within the industry and based on their skills, experience and performance. You must provide clear guidelines on how employees can qualify for raises, promotions and bonuses. Additionally, you may offer non-salary monetary benefits such as retirement plans, health plans, and insurance contributions.

Unlocking a Healthy Workplace Culture

Healthy workplace culture refers to the collective values, attitudes, and behaviors that promote a positive and supportive environment for employees. It is characterized by open communication, mutual respect, fairness, and a focus on employee well-being and growth. Employees feel empowered, engaged, and motivated to perform their best in such an environment.

Leaders play a crucial role in fostering a balanced culture by promoting trust, providing clear expectations, and offering opportunities for professional development. Such a culture enhances employee satisfaction and contributes to organizational success and productivity.

Cultivating a healthy workplace culture is a worthy endeavour as it will make your company more productive and profitable. It requires a holistic approach encompassing clear communication, trust and respect, work-life balance, continuous learning, and commensurate compensation.