Successful business team with arms up at the officeNothing says “we appreciate you” like taking part in the company culture. The culture of a workplace is as important to your bottom line as the deliverables or services rendered. Without a good company culture, you risk high turnover, a lack of a shared enthusiasm and reduced productivity. “If your staff believes that they matter, that their opinions matter, the company soars,” Tom Walter, CEO of Tasty Catering in Chicago, said.

1. Keep the fridge stocked

Free is good. Coffee is good. Food is good. Good things make people happy. Happy employees are the root of getting projects done, getting them done on time, and getting them done well. When you keep your employees motivated, their morale is heightened. Coming from a professional standpoint, nothing is better than working with an employee who is happy to come to work. By investing in the physical well-being of your employees and showing that you care about their basic needs, you give them a reason to work a little harder toward shared goals.

2. Throw inclusive holiday parties

Yes, you need to include everyone during the holidays. Sounds silly, right? Well, there are tons of belief backgrounds that aren’t supported by the traditional Santa Clause, flying reindeer, and Christmas trees. Make an effort to incorporate everyone’s beliefs. When people feel included, they are more willing to work as a team. With better teamwork, comes improved morale. Fancy that. And this diverse viewpoint shouldn’t end during the holidays. Keep your mind open year round.

3. Keep employees in the loop

“I have something to tell you…. But I can’t tell you what it is.” No one likes that. As an employer, that is the quickest way to lose your team’s trust. Keeping everyone in the loop as much as possible is a great way to keep morale high. Never underestimate the value of communication.

“Ask yourself as CEO, ‘If I make this decision without employees, could this hurt the culture more than it helps?’” Traci Fenton, founder and CEO of WorldBlu in Austin, said. While it’s true that many organizations have information that isn’t always appropriate for everyone’s ears, try to keep gossip to a minimum by only letting your executive team in on very important or potentially stressful enterprise-wide decisions.

4. Start a tradition

Ugly sweater holiday parties have become very popular in recent years. Start your own company tradition at work and to be sure that it’s a hit, get employee input! It not only gets your employees involved, it gives the company its own internal branding and company spirit. Do you have a foosball league, doughnut day, or walking club? A favorite watering hole, meme day, or unofficial anniversary? Try one.

5.  Decorate for special occasions

How many holidays are there? Lots. How many can you decorate for? Countless. While some may argue against the productivity of decorating, it can lend itself to a fun and festive atmosphere. Wendy Thomson writes, “Holiday traditions in the workplace can build positive morale resulting in increased employee motivation.” Even better, create a company holiday celebrating the birth of your organization.  Here are ideas to keep your workplace festive all the livelong day:

January: National Blood Donor Month – Make a path using the Red Cross symbol to an area in the office (or in the parking lot) where employees can donate blood.

February: National Great American Pie Month – Well, pie.

April: National Humor Month – Hmm, who would have guessed April 1st is the start of National Humor Month? Some mild pranks and office appropriate jokes can keep the fun going all month long. Just don’t get carried away; no one likes a lawsuit.

July: National Blueberry Month – Blueberries, blueberry pie, blueberry smoothies, blueberries all the livelong day. They taste good and they are good for you. Use this month to promote health and a healthy work atmosphere.

September: Classical Music Month – While recent studies show that classical music doesn’t actually make you smarter, it can make you feel smarter. Blast it through the speakers a couple days of the month.

December: Write a Friend Month – Friendly emails go a long way. Tell a coworker you appreciate his/her hard work. You never know when nice words can turn someone’s day around.

6. Create a suggestion box

I promise, there is always that one person in the office that has something to say about everything. Even if he or she is the only person that starts using the suggestion box, that individual might have some good criticism. What makes the suggestion box work? You have to actually use it. Don’t ignore the suggestions made by your employees, that is a quick way to demotivate them. When the whole point is to motivate them and make the office a better work environment, why even take the chance by not answering? Go green by creating a virtual suggestion box or kick it off by giving a prize for the best suggestion.

7.  Recognize employee performance

Nothing makes someone feel special like a little bit of recognition for an accomplishment. “Studies indicate that an effectively implemented employee recognition program is likely to produce positive effects on employee performance.” Whether you give them a shout out on your intranet, have a small trophy made or get them a lovely gift, let employees know when they’ve done a GREAT job. Not only will the honoree feel important, the other employees will strive to do better in their jobs.

Take it one step at a time. Remember change is a good thing, but in doses. Make it a goal to start incorporating these seven ideas, or get a team together to brainstorm other ideas to make your workplace happier. Get your employees involved, show them what they’re worth, and keep them happy. A happy team is a good team, and good teamwork produces efficiency.



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