4 tips for building a great workplace culture 

Editorial Team

5 min read
Diverse group of business colleagues walking and talking

Lately there’s been a lot of conversation about workplace culture–and with good reason. The way that employees feel in their workplace can have a major impact on the success of a business. Is the environment inclusive and respectful? Is there a good work-life balance? Does the compensation match the job description?

While many factors can affect the overall culture in a workplace, small business owners have a lot of power when it comes to cultivating a positive work environment. Read on for four ways you can build a positive culture in the workplace. 

What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture is a broad term that describes many different aspects of an industry or organization. While we might think about certain cultural tendencies within whole industries–like restaurant culture or retail culture, for instance–workplace culture also describes how employees feel at each individual business. And that’s where you come in.

So, how can you create a workplace culture that makes employees want to stick around? Here are four ways you can build a culture that engages and retains your employees.

1. Thoughtfully approach flexibility

Ever since the pandemic changed the way we think about work, “flexibility” has been a hot topic. According to Forbes, flexibility can encompass everything from hours to location to operational times to methods. 

Employees reap multiple benefits from increased flexibility. For instance, A 2022 survey by Insights showed that fully remote workers reported higher levels of mental wellbeing as well as greater satisfaction with work-life balance. This might have to do with the fact that flexibility communicates trust because it empowers employees to complete tasks on their own time and in their own way, 

Flexibility is also about gender and disability inclusivity. Case in point: when London saw a corporate rollback of flexible working options in 2023, the city saw a significant departure of women from the professional sphere. That’s because flexibility is particularly important for parents, and studies show that women still shoulder a larger percentage of family and household responsibilities. Additionally, many workers with disabilities found relief in the mass move to remote work during the pandemic. 

At the same time, workplace flexibility can look very different in different industries. For instance, restaurant workers may prefer a dependable schedule over unpredictable hours. In the service industry, though, it’s particularly important that you plan enough time for breaks as well as two days off every week in order to give employees a sense of control over their work.

As the Harvard Business Review reports, offering flexible working options doesn’t immediately translate to an increase in satisfaction and productivity. It’s more important that you consider what forms of flexibility will be most beneficial to your particular business.

2. Take charge of inclusivity

Diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DE&I) is good for everyone. Studies have shown that more diverse workplaces perform better, benefiting from higher levels of creativity and innovation. A broader range of perspectives also leads to more equitable decision-making and diverse approaches to problem solving.

At the same time, it’s not just your hiring practices that affect how DEI-friendly your business is. Working towards inclusive practices means taking a closer look at your expectations, guidelines, and everyday processes, and changing anything you find to be exclusionary. For example, how are employees advancing within your organization? Are there mentoring opportunities you could be offering minority workers? Do you offer paid internships to help get more diverse employees interested and trained? And, are you paying attention to the everyday interactions that could help employees feel more included? Even allowing flexible working conditions can offer major benefits from an equity standpoint.

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion means creating an environment where every employee feels valued and respected. 

3. Build a team culture

When employees get along with one another, they‘re more likely to feel like a cohesive team. Arguably, there’s no better way to generate positive vibes in the workplace. This is also good for your business: employees with a friend at work are reportedly seven times more likely to engage fully in their work. While achieving workplace camaraderie is perhaps easier said than done, there are concrete steps you can take to build a tight-knit team.

You can start by defining your business’ vision and values you stand for, which go a long way in helping you attract like-minded employees. Aligning your company and employee values can make work more meaningful for your employees. Millennials in particular are drawn to positions that align with their values.

You can also set clear goals for your team to work towards. This creates a positive work environment on two levels: 1. individually, employees report higher satisfaction in jobs that provide clear goals, expectations, and guidelines; and 2. as a team, working towards a common goal supports collaboration and generates group energy. 

4. Pay employees competitively

Finally, it’s always important to pay employees adequately. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that effective compensation is one of the top ways you can retain your best employees. That means you’ll need to stay on top of competitive pay norms in your area while also being willing to reward your employees for a job well done. While certain forms of acknowledgment like “employee of the month” awards can help workers feel appreciated, there is still no substitute for a wage that shows you value your employees’ work.

While the idea of workplace culture can seem a little ambiguous, cultivating a positive work environment is actually more straightforward than you might have thought. It just takes a few mindful steps to put you on your way to creating a positive workplace culture for your business. 

Clover can help you build a better workplace culture and improve communication with your employees with employee management software solutions and apps from the Clover App Market. And, be sure to reach out to a Clover Consultant anytime for info about Clover POS systems and other tools that can help you build a workplace where employees want to be.

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