On average, Americans worked 34.4 hours per week in 2019. That translates to over 20% of the week we spend at work. Shouldn’t spending that much time at work be a positive experience?
At BizStream, we live by our Core Values, which is the foundation of our culture:
Be Positive is extremely important because it plays a role in all the values. But what does “Be Positive” mean at BizStream, exactly?
It’s well known that there’s a favorable correlation between positive employees and positive culture. So how can we create a positive culture, you say? I’m glad you asked.
The first task should be to understand the current culture and evaluate what strengths and weaknesses exist. Strengths should be fortified, enhanced, and potentially celebrated. Identifying weaknesses will give focus to possible adjustments that can be made to achieve the desired culture. Getting input from the employees should also be paramount. Business leaders do not always have the same perspective on company culture as the employees.
One way for leadership to ensure a healthy environment is to build trust by communicating openly, honestly, and transparently when getting employee feedback about company culture. Make employees feel like they are a part of the company by emphasizing a team atmosphere. Allow employees to provide input and listen to them. Allowing employees the opportunity to provide feedback on something as big as establishing or changing company culture can bring everyone together and provide them with purpose.
Set expectations and goals and measure those goals frequently. Providing feedback is also critical to establishing cultural dos and don’ts and affirming open lines of communication. It also brings into view the bullet point “assume the best intentions.” We often think of feedback as a source of correction or pointing out needed improvement, but feedback can take many forms. Feedback can also be a recognition of going above and beyond. Recognizing individuals for their good deeds can be as crucial as identifying mistakes. Regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings without an agenda are great for generating trust and creating additional channels of communication for feedback in both directions between management and employees.
There are numerous events throughout the year at BizStream, including our annual golf outing, internal celebrations, a camping trip, March Madness parties, and company picnics, this year held at Michigan’s Adventure. Each of these events brings everyone together in a fun and social capacity.
We also have the regular Lunch and Learn events where topics range from benefits to a discussion panel on Kentico CI.
Having events, such as team-building activities or social events, helps to create an inclusive environment. Provide short surveys to get employee feedback—again, another option for communication that can potentially be anonymous if you have challenges with employees not speaking up honestly.
Organizations should invest in their employees’ wellness because it will help build a positive environment and generate community. An employer who makes an employee feel like they matter helps give meaning to that employee’s work. If possible, offer employees benefits that can positively impact them—gym/yoga memberships, mental health resources, assistance programs, and other things that can help their general well-being.
BizStream offers several benefits directly towards our well-being. Many BizStreamers workout together and challenge each other at CrossFit Allendale, as the membership is paid for by the company. If CrossFit isn’t your thing, BizStream offers gym stipends. We have the opportunity to do a 23andMe DNA genetic test to find out health and family data. Generous PTO and flexible schedules also provide us with the time we need—be it for vacation or if you just need to flex some time because you have a contractor coming to estimate your leaking roof.
The beneficial effects of having a positive culture are extensive:
Furthermore, there is the potential for increased recruitment opportunities due to positive word of mouth, reviews, or feedback. A positive culture could net you some local, regional, or national awards to help further promote your brand and business, including recruitment. Conversely, if a poor culture is in place and employees leaving the company write bad reviews, this could impact recruitment.
Don’t just set up a vague outline of values the company should adopt, define each of those values further to provide ample understanding for all employees. Every company should seek its own set of values to match its principles and goals. This can guide the way for cultivating the type of atmosphere the company wants and the type of employees it wants to attract. And most importantly—live those values from the top down. Asking employees to abide by a cultural framework that isn’t respected by all is a quick way to allow good culture to deteriorate.
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