Positive workplace culture impacts every part of a business. Companies named “Best Place to Work” are more successful overall — they have 20 percent better environments, collaboration and values than companies without positive workplace culture. They also have 60 percent less absenteeism, employ workers who are 85 percent more efficient and hire employees who stay twice as long at their jobs. Their workers feel better and perform better, and they attract better employees at recruitment, making the company more successful over time. In short, happy workers want to be at a happy company.

Now, with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that comes along with it creating a labor shortage, a positive workplace culture is more important than ever in regards to retaining great employees.

Hire Long Term and Save Turnover Expenses

Positive workplace culture helps retain good employees long term because they feel loyal to a company that treats them like family more than colleagues. Employees who work in a positive culture report higher job satisfaction. In contrast, experts estimate that each time a salaried employee leaves a company, that company loses the equivalent of six to nine months of the employee’s salary. (So, for a $40,000 salary, the company spends $20,000 to $30,000 on recruiting and training a new employee.) When companies invest in their workers and their well-being, those workers return the favor.

Reduce Stress and Improve Morale

Workplace stress destroys positive workplace culture. Research shows that 40 percent of employees say their job is extremely or very stressful, and 25 percent say their jobs are the top stressor in their lives. Modern work expectations don’t help — thanks to technology, many bosses expect their employees to take work home with them, which could be why 75 percent of employees think that their jobs are more stressful than they would have been a generation ago. With working from home more popular than it has ever been, employees feel the line between work life and home life is blurry.

When employees are stressed, their productivity and well-being decline, which negatively affects their job performance and morale — and their company’s bottom line. Companies with positive workplace culture encourage collaboration and feedback. When employees participate in teamwork, when they feel that their opinions are valued, then they make genuine, thoughtful contributions that push a company on to success.

Positive work cultures are more productive thanks to employees feeling more motivated in their jobs, having better morale during their workdays and being more dedicated to companies that value them.

Put It into Action

Improving workplace culture can be done at companies of any size with any budget in any industry. The only thing positive workplace culture requires is a leadership team that genuinely cares about the well-being and happiness of their employees and workforce.

  • Foundation – Creating a positive culture doesn’t mean starting over. Employers can look at what their company stands for, revisiting their original business plans. Don’t expect workers to change directions completely within the hour — improve on the culture already there. Host a discussion to learn what employees like and dislike about the current workplace culture, and use that feedback to improve your company.
  • Purpose – Employees look for meaning in their daily work. Without purpose, workers report low job satisfaction, making negative workplace culture. If you haven’t already, write down your core values in a mission statement and discuss these with your employees. Give concrete, specific scenarios where an employee’s personal role fulfills these values and helps clients.
  • Goals – Employees don’t work well without goals — how else do they know when they’ve achieved anything? Clear objectives with guidelines on how to reach the goals will give everyone a specific goal to work toward and a sense of accomplishment when they reach the goal.
  • Uplift – As said earlier, positivity begins at the top. Positive workplace culture starts with employers who are positive, whether they encourage employees, recognize achievements or express gratitude in other ways. Say “thank you,” smile and be optimistic. Employees will feel the shift and follow suit.
  • Listen – Research shows that 86 percent of employees who have positive workplace cultures also have leadership that listens to company employees, a strong difference to the 70 percent of employees who don’t have positive workplace cultures. When employees feel valued and heard, they’re more likely to positively contribute.
  • Recognize – Employers should acknowledge “culture champions,” employees who embrace the company’s mission and edify coworkers. Team members who support the company should feel recognized, and there should be incentives for employees to spread positivity to others.
  • Wellness – Employees need to feel healthy mentally, physically and emotionally to positively contribute to a company’s culture and to work their best. Create an employee wellness program to guarantee that workers will have the tools, resources and opportunities to live healthily. Sponsor employees if they join local 5k events, purchase a company dog for employees to walk, provide good health care, offer standing desks and encourage workers to take short breaks away from their desks so they can return to work refreshed a few minutes later.
  • Connect – Positive workplace culture won’t grow if colleagues are strangers. Collaboration and general projects go more smoothly when teams feel comfortable with each other. Schedule regular team meals, community service projects or happy hour events for employees to build relationships with each other. From productivity to turnover rates, there’s no question about it, everyone wants the benefits of positive workplace culture.

The only real question is, what will you do as an employer or employee to create a positive workplace culture at your company?