The 5 Keys to a Great Working Environment


August 6, 2020

By: Kevin Gardner 

While it’s true that working professionals should never take full time employment for granted, people who excel in their field tend to find that they have options to leave their current job for better opportunities.The value of retaining top performers is obvious to most employers, but the means to do so are often a little less clear. Ultimately, people are often willing to trade new opportunities for stable, welcoming environments. Here are five ways to build a workplace culture that will encourage this.

Clearly Communicated Goals

Regardless of the industry, from lawn care services to military supply factories, when asked about frustrations at their company, a shocking number of employees point to “communication problems,” or “lack of communication.” While this is a very broad issue, managers can make great headway in this area by making sure they communicate the business’ goals clearly and frequently. For some, this can be as simple as posting a one-sentence mission statement in common areas and reinforcing it at staff meetings. For others, it may change on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Whatever the case, if staff members understand the big picture end-goals, they will have an easier time contributing towards them.

Positive Reinforcement

Whether you work in a high-pressure environment, or on a team that takes months to develop a strategy or product, positive reinforcement is crucial to positive results. This doesn’t mean that there is no place for constructive criticism or disciplinary action. These are essential tools for effective management. At the same time, accomplishments and improvements should be praised. It’s also key to reassure employees who are being trained in a new position or skill set that they are doing well.

Blameless Problem Solving

A management team is only as good as how they manage mistakes. Expecting perfection is a recipe for failure, and the best companies account for human error. Perhaps the most important skill a supervisor can develop is viewing non-malicious missteps as “teachable moments.” By changing thinking to view issues that arises from errors as lapses in training or experience rather than incompetence, a manager can reinforce that they value the employee and build goodwill for showing them leniency rather than repercussions.

An Open-Door Policy

People want to be heard when they have an issue, and that’s a reasonable expectation. It’s in every business’ best interest to have an “open-door policy.” Essentially, the idea does not revolve around literal open doors (managers must close their office doors for lots of reasons, including webinars and sensitive disciplinary meetings), but it is meant to provide an environment of openness. This can take many shapes, from suggestion boxes to anonymous surveys and more.

It must be communicated and reinforced to general staff that the open-door policy allows them access to not only their manager, but the head of human resources and the general manager or CEO if possible. They need to understand that they can go beyond their immediate supervisor if they are part of the problem, and that they will suffer no repercussions for raising a concern, including confidentiality in most cases. It does have to be understood, however, that they will be heard, but that may not result in action. It may also result in action that is not made public out of respect for the privacy of the person being reported.

An Emphasis on Teamwork

Finally, the best organizations value collaboration and synergy. They understand that each person has valuable contributions to offer, but real magic happens when their people feed and build off each other’s ideas. Holding brainstorming and whiteboarding sessions will help get the team’s creative juices flowing. Assigning small group task forces to projects or to address problems will insure different perspectives have a seat at the table.

Providing an open environment with great communication and teamwork will make your company an in-demand workplace. You’ll inspire loyalty and retain quality employees for many years!