What is one way leaders can help create a work culture for a more engaged team, where all employees feel valued, loved, respected and supported?
To help small businesses build a workplace where employees feel valued, we asked business founders and leaders this question for their best insights. From regularly celebrating achievements to focusing on servant leadership, there are several ideas that may help you foster an engaging work community for many years to come.
Here are 10 culture-building tips for creating a work environment that values employees:
1. Welcome Differing Points of View
In order to have a great company culture and a fully engaged team, leaders need to understand and respect the fact that their employees may have different points of view and different approaches than they themselves do. It’s important for leaders to regularly solicit feedback from their teams and to listen to their employees’ concerns and recommendations. Great company culture exists when employees are appreciated, valued, trusted and empowered to do great work. When you hire talented people and give them an opportunity to shine in their element, great things happen for the company, and you have a strong and happy team!
– Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education
2. Celebrate Achievements Regularly
One way to foster a culture that values employees is by recognition and appreciation. There is never enough opportunity to recognize the team. We do this by regularly including “shout-outs” in our morning meetings that encourage employees to give kudos to their teammates. We also have “Appreciation Grams,” where we collect recognition and share during birthdays and send-offs when an employee is departing the company. Even with those in place, we are committed to finding more ways to celebrate our employees.
– Jenn Christie, Markitors
3. Prioritize Effective Communication
Communicate effectively with your team and schedule meetings where you encourage feedback. This makes them feel included and valued. Have one-on-one check-ins with your members to talk to them about whether they have any challenges or issues. Showing empathy allows you to connect easier, and they are more likely to express their concerns. Foster relationships outside of work with fun activities and events.
– Rym Selmi, MiiRO
4. Build a Culture of Empowerment
Show respect and gratitude to your subordinates. Empower them by promoting a culture of self-starters and decision-makers. Trust employees to make decisions and provide opportunities for them to take on leadership roles. Reward and encourage employees who showcase initiative. Consider other training opportunities to motivate employees to advance their skills. Incorporate weekly check-ins between managers and employees. Send out monthly surveys to gather anonymous feedback from staff on company culture, work-life balance and overall attitude toward work. Listen and incorporate positive changes based on the feedback received.
– Kelli Lane, Genexa
5. Develop a Quality of Life Objective
Setting reminders to break up screen time and encourage employees to take a short walk can help build efficiencies and ultimately reduce burnout. We have a remote work style at our company but ensure that our employees do not receive an unattainable amount of work that can be detrimental to their overall quality of life. Employees who feel cared for are likely to match that feeling in commitment to the company, and we are aware of that. A wellness program that considers solutions dealing with stressful situations can help identify and address negative stress before it becomes a problem. Vacation time, company social gatherings, and valuing feedback from your employees all add to a greater sense of morale and employee engagement that are necessary for any business' overall success.
– Dan Potter, CRAFTD
6. Offer Team Bonding Opportunities
Create team bonding opportunities, whether it’s going out for lunch, going on field trips or volunteering together. Bringing your team closer together can strengthen the bonds amongst teammates and their leaders. The better everyone gets to know one another through enjoyable experiences, the more respected and valued everyone will feel.
– Ben Teicher, Healthy Directions
7. Promote Regular Breaks
One way leaders can help create a culture for a more engaged team where all employees feel valued, loved, respected and supported is by encouraging them to take breaks. You need to set that example because if your most driven employees don’t see you taking breaks, they won’t feel comfortable taking them either. Instead of feeling like you have to power through an eight-hour workday (or a 40-hour workweek), allow yourself and your employees to take time for your mental and physical health throughout the day — even if the work isn’t finished. It’s better to get the work done slowly than to burn out completely and not finish it at all.
– Shaun Price, MitoQ
8. Assign Greater Responsibilities
Delegating meaningful tasks to employees or involving them in decision-making creates a sense of importance, empowerment and confidence. Find out their valuable traits and assign responsibilities according to their skill set. Doing so leads to increased levels of commitment, engagement and overall happiness.
– Haim Medine, Mark Henry Jewelry
9. Be Approachable and Present
Creating strong teams and engaged cultures doesn't happen overnight. Add to this the complexity of remote employees and finding ways to make sure that everyone continues to feel heard, loved and supported is increasingly difficult. As leaders, it is critical we continue to find ways to be approachable and present, no matter where we are. So, keep your office door open as much as possible, get up and actively walk around to have conversations, or be the first one to reach out through chats via Slack and Zoom to have meaningful conversations about both business and personal achievements. It is important to look at the whole person, invest in their entire success and happiness and support their journey through the company with encouragement and access to the right resources. It is always better to say "I need to get back to you on that" rather than to say nothing at all.
– Nicole Spracale, Coaching and Consulting
10. Focus on Servant Leadership
The best way leadership can create a positive employee work culture is to utilize servant leadership to ensure all employees are taken care of. Using this leadership style will show employees that they are valued, respected and supported in their position. Servant leaders show their employees that they matter most by going above and beyond for them. This leadership behavior will create a team that is more engaged and will work hard to aid their leader as they know this behavior will be reciprocated.
– Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology
Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business offers degrees to help you develop your servant leadership skills and your business. If you would like to learn more about our degree programs, click the Request Info button at the top of your screen. To read more conscious capitalism or servant leadership blogs, explore the GCU blog page where we offer a wide-variety of blog topics.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.