What makes a workplace positive?
Positive workplaces are defined by employees who are committed, motivated and efficient. Examples of positive workplace behaviors include:
- Championing company values
- Cooperating with and collaborating with others
- Welcoming new ideas
- Being respectful of colleagues
- Promoting healthy work/life balance
Key contributors to workplace happiness
Positivity refers to the general feeling of a workplace. Does it make employees feel inspired and willing to work hard, or does it curtail enthusiasm, willingness to improve and personal satisfaction from work? Several factors can influence how employees feel at work. These include:
- The environment: The layout and design of a workplace affects well-being and relationships. For example, an office of small, closed rooms is less likely to inspire the spontaneous conversations that foster camaraderie and innovation. Employees may see managers, hidden behind closed doors, as emblematic of a culture unreceptive to new ideas and honest feedback. Open spaces, on the other hand, with areas for quiet work, collaboration and even relaxation, encourage positivity and cooperation. Managers whose offices are open or have glass partitions, can better understand the tempo and mood of their teams. They’re also more likely to invite those conversations that lead to positive change.
- HR Processes: Employees who are not onboarded in a welcoming, informative manner can easily become disengaged. It’s important that new hires feel productive, even if they’ve just started their jobs. Employees who are well-informed about benefits are also apt to feel better about their compensation packages and that they have options to maintain work/life balance. Continuing training, education and performance evaluations help managers ensure that employees are engaged, feel recognized for good work and understand clearly how to improve performance.
- Company culture: A business’s culture may be one of the most important drivers of positivity. An overly authoritarian, goal-oriented or hierarchical culture can create an environment where employees struggle to meet expectations or simply give up. However, in companies that promote cultures supporting equality, integrity and transparency, employees are more likely to see company goals as their own. It’s important that employees feel well-informed and that their work directly contributes to a company goals. They should also feel that their feedback and contributions are valued.
Cultivating positive behaviors in the workplace
If you’ve decided to improve your workplace, here are some steps you can take to encourage positive workplace behaviors:
- Communicate differently
- Make it a team effort
- Drive change
- Champion successes
1. Communicate differently
Start with the ways in which you communicate. How do your employees learn about company goals and initiatives? Is your company’s communication style “top-down,” non-existent, or cooperative, where employees feel they’re participants?
Look at the language and style your company uses when interacting with employees and customers – on the phone, in memos, in training materials and even in interactions between employees and managers. Learn positive communication and make it a value that your company champions.
2. Make it a team effort
If you think your employees are exhibiting negative behaviors, you can immediately transform the atmosphere by asking them how to change.
For larger organizations, surveys that allow employees to express opinions anonymously can be very effective. Ensure the survey is designed to illicit constructive feedback, rather than “thumbs up, thumbs down” responses.
If you have a smaller company and anonymity is harder to achieve, ask employees or teams to brainstorm solutions to improve positivity. Ensure employees understand the purpose is positive, and structured so feedback does not become a platform for airing grievances.
Use teamwork to boost positivity and employees will take more pride in, and personal responsibility for its success.
3. Drive change
With employees on board, you’re now primed to make changes. Ensure that positivity is not just an idea but a value that’s deeply woven into everything you do. Ask managers and employees to examine the ways in they work. Can processes be improved or (infused) with positivity? Use the expertise and enthusiasm of your employees to form task groups that improve processes, policies, protocols for interacting with customers, and everything else that you do.
4. Champion success
Celebrate the good. Ensure that you reward employees for positive changes, both as groups and as individuals. Employees who feel recognized will continue to champion positivity and new ideas for continual improvement.
Rewarding positive behaviors can also influence other employees who may be resistant to changes. Ensure it’s not a competition, but an acknowledgement of sincere effort.
Workplace Behavior FAQs
Here are our answers to two of the most frequently asked questions about workplace behavior:
Why is workplace behavior important?
Your employees’ behavior in the workplace impacts all aspects of your business. The term “workplace behavior” encompasses how your employees communicate with clients, how they treat each other and how they accomplish their daily tasks. If your employees consistently exhibit positive behavior, your customer satisfaction rates, productivity and culture are all likely to improve.
What does negative workplace behavior look like?
Negative behaviors are likely to result in disappointed customers, disgruntled employees and low productivity rates. Common examples of negative workplace behavior include:
- Disrespect for authority figures
- Exerting minimal effort when interacting with clients
- Acting selfishly or with little or no concern for others
- Gossiping or talking about others without their knowledge
- Excluding or ignoring coworkers
- Throwing tantrums or acting rashly in anger