In a quest to grow revenues and scale up their business, most companies focus on improving their products and growing their customer base. However, the key to a profitable venture actually starts with happy employees. Employees who love their job are more productive and proactive than those who are unsatisfied.  This mindset trickles down from the work culture that your company has cultivated. Even if you haven’t directly tried to influence it, the culture of your organization stems from the kind of people you hire, your interactions with team members and the values you set. Is your company’s work culture fostering a spirit of innovation, creativity and teamwork? Here are seven steps to take to ensure that it does.


  1. Have a no-door policy


Rigid hierarchies are one of the biggest obstacles to innovation. If employees feel there is a large divide between them and the company leadership, they will not feel comfortable sharing their ideas or voicing their opinions. This can create a spirit of intimidation in your organization, where your employees don’t feel valued. The ‘open-door’ policy was a step towards rectifying this, but a ‘no-door’ policy can be even more effective. Without glass divides, your company will become a more democratic organization.


  1. Strengthen relationships between employees


It isn’t just relationships between the management and employees which can influence work culture; relationships between employees themselves also have a huge impact. If there are issues between members of your organization, it can affect the quality of their work to a large extent. Whenever conflicts arise in your company, it’s essential that your management takes immediate action to resolve it. This can be done by having an open conversation with all parties involved and mediating to find a practical solution.


  1. Maintain transparency


Your employees will work to their full potential only when they believe in the overall goals of the company. This can only happen when you are completely open about your company’s goals and strategies for achieving them. Maintaining a transparent work culture also means ensuring the accountability of every team member regardless of their position and being open about any failures that the company has faced. Only when you do this will your employees feel like they are valued stakeholders in your organization and not just a cog in the wheel.


  1. Do activities as a team


Sometimes the best place to bond as a team is outside of the workplace. Spending time together in an informal setting can help employees loosen up and get to know each other better. Meeting at events outside of work also gives teams a chance to strengthen their bond. Competitive games like bowling or volleyball require your employees to work together as a team and collaborate. These skills can also be translated into the workplace where they are of even greater importance.


  1. Offer unique employee perks


Everyone enjoys perks and your employees are no exception. Providing employees with perks lets them know that you value their contribution and want to reward them for it. Since financial constraints are one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners, you might be hesitant to offer employees with perks because of the added cost. However, there are several benefits you can offer that are also cost-effective. For instance, providing evening snacks is an affordable perk, which has the dual benefit of giving your employees a chance to bond with each other and de-stress. Your company can also offer a flexible leave policy, another benefit which won’t stretch your company’s funds.


  1. Ensure work-life balance


It isn’t the number of hours your employees put in that is important, but the quality of their work. Organizations who demand that their employees spend an inordinate amount of time at the office are not going to get the best work out of their teams. In the long-term, this approach will almost certainly cause your employees to burn out. Making work-life balance a priority will lead to more positive, motivated employees. Since they have time to themselves to bond with their loved ones, do things they enjoy and recharge their batteries, they will be better equipped to deliver their best work during office hours.


  1. Empower your employees


A positive, productive work culture stems from employees who can take ownership of their work. When you empower your employees, you are also enabling the flow of ideas and developing strong leaders that can take your company’s vision forward. To do this, you first need to equip your employees with the skills they require to fulfill this role. Employees who feel like you are invested in their professional development and trust them to make their own decisions will help contribute to your company’s larger goals.


With these steps, you can develop a productive work culture that will ultimately give your company an edge.

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