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Five simple approaches to making a great workplace culture


 — March 16th, 2020

Five simple approaches to making a great workplace culture

In a world gone digital, automated, filtered, fake and remote it’s no wonder we crave more humanness, personal connectivity, and authenticity in the workplace today.

The innate desire to embrace our social connections and empathy at work is something that rung loud and clear through all the recent podcast interviews I undertook for Season One of ‘A Place to Thrive’.

What struck me at the very fundamental level is that no matter what company you work for, where you work or what type of work you do, there are some critical elements we all need in order to thrive at work and help others thrive too.

Here are the top 5 themes:

Being human

Whether it’s following a process or policy, making a decision, delivering a new communication channel or event, working remotely or sending an email, it’s so easy to get hidden behind barriers that dehumanize how we would naturally want to think and act.

We can get wrapped up in taking action, delivering against our to-do lists and forget that behind every single interaction or thought at work lies another human being.

Being cognizant of that fact reminds us to stop before we act and take the time to understand each other's perspective and our human needs to a level that engenders more empathy and, arguably, more effectiveness as a person and employee.

Taking personal responsibility for our own wellbeing

There’s no doubting the benefit and need for better wellbeing in every aspect of our lives these days. We expect a certain level of support and duty of care from our employers when it comes to our wellbeing, and rightly so.

In order to thrive at work, we need a psychologically safe place to be ourselves and feel supported through whatever life throws at us. However, we also have a duty to ourselves to understand what wellbeing means to us on an individual basis and seek to put routines, healthy practices, habits and focus into taking responsibility for our own wellbeing.

Wellbeing starts with ourselves because only then can we be strong enough to recognize and support others when they’re in need. So prioritize your wellbeing, learn the art of saying ‘No’ and take a break.

Being purposeful and purpose-driven

In the craziness of life and the pressing demands of work, we can easily forget what our purpose and personal worth are, which when the tide turns and things aren’t going so well means we find it harder to cope, remain resilient and ride through the storm.

Both purpose and self-worth are known to correlate directly with the level of an individual’s wellbeing and happiness. We place a lot of focus on delivering goals, getting the next promotion or achieving the highest performance grade, but these can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing when they’re not achieved.

Take things back to basics and be clear on what your purpose is in life and how you determine your self-worth. Purpose brings meaning to what we do, and self-worth means we have the confidence and resilience to achieve it. Hand-in-hand they’re a powerful combination to enjoying a much more fulfilling life… at work and play.

Staying connected

Remote work is on the rise and I wrote a blog about how you can keep your remote workers better connected, engaged and feeling valued which unpacked some really practical advice.

We explored this topic in a number of podcast episodes and uncovered some interesting experiences and practices to help ensure this value-added way of working continues to meet our human needs.

At a basic level, how we like to work is an individual preference, but all humans are hard-wired for being social. We crave and need connection with others for advice, support, enjoyment, belonging, clarity… the list is endless.

Whether you’re in a position to facilitate better connectivity between colleagues or can take personal responsibility for making the effort to reach out and involve others, any effort to improve communication and socialisztion will drive a better world of work.

A great place to work is intentionally designed

In progressive organizations, there’s a heightened focus on mapping and designing the Employee Experience to improve the company culture. It’s a very positive endeavor but it can feel overwhelming to change or improve or even feel like it’s someone else’s responsibility, not ours.

Yet advice from Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, really struck me for its obvious simplicity. He advised us to intentionally consider how we want to make others at work feel in order to improve the culture within the workplace.

Nicky Young, former Managing Director of MullenLowe Salt shared the same approach when creating their amazing workplace culture. I took this to mean that each one of us can make a choice in helping to create and support a positive culture – choose to be kind, choose to say hello and thank you, choose to help others or be inclusive.

However we act and think our choices will incrementally add up and influence how it feels to work in your workplace, so let’s make that difference through good, intentional choices. Simple really.

  • ‘A Place to Thrive’ is a podcast that is intentionally informal, conversational and practical. Each episode delves into different topics to share down-to-earth experiences, perspectives and simple advice to help make workplaces happier and healthier places to be. You can subscribe and listen on iTunes, Spotify, Acast and all other good podcast platforms.
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