Most people spend more time working than doing almost anything else. It makes sense to choose a career that you can imagine yourself doing day in and day out for an extended period of time. But it is not just your field of employment that needs careful consideration; you also need to ensure that you select a workplace with a culture of respect, collaboration and positivity. After all, you are going to be spending a lot of time there.
The average person spends 30 percent of their life working, with approximately 25-30 years spent in the office. That’s precisely why a positive work space and corporate culture are so important. But unfortunately, so many companies get it wrong, corralling employees into cubicles, providing harsh, lighting, uncomfortable seating and policies that make it difficult to combine a life outside work with a fulfilling career.
Workplaces can also be a hotbed of gossip, negativity, in-fighting and intimidation, with 37 percent of U.S workers claiming they have fallen prey to an office bully; that’s a staggering 54 million people.
If employees are feeling threatened, undervalued or unappreciated, they are unlikely to be producing their best work, and in fact, may spend more time looking for a new position on the clock than actually doing their current job. Companies are beginning to realize that dissatisfaction can lead to lower profits and are investing in more inspiring work spaces that nurture and motivate workers.
A company at the forefront of this change is Google, which offers its employees some pretty sweet perks including free haircuts, gourmet food and on-site massage, in addition to very generous pay and holiday policies. However, having a good corporate culture isn’t just about the perks; workers need to feel that their voice matters, that they are respected and cared for, and that the positive atmosphere trickles down from the management.
What Managers Can Do
It is often up to managers to ensure that their reports feel happy, secure and respected at work. What are some steps they can take?
- Show genuine appreciation for all employees. This can be in the form of benefits and pay raises, but it can also be delivered with a simple “thank you.”
- Communicate with all levels of the company, and ask: “What improvements would you like to see?”
- Take complaints seriously and investigate any problems brought to your attention.
- Don’t set unfair targets; motivating workers is essential but if your goals are unattainable, supervisors can feel enormous pressure and all levels of employees can become apathetic.
- Ensure every employee knows his or her roles and responsibilities. Problems can arise when there is confusion about who is in charge of a particular service or project.
What Workers Can Do
A positive corporate culture is impossible without action from the top, but every employee can contribute to a harmonious work environment by following a few simple tips:
- Bring your concerns to the attention of the right person. If you have a legitimate complaint don’t loudly talk about it on the floor; go to a superior who can (hopefully) rectify the problem.
- Praise and thank colleagues. Everyone benefits in an appreciative environment.
- Take responsibility for your own advancement. Consider earning an advanced business degree such as the online MBA from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which includes courses in individual, group, and intergroup behavior within the workplace.
- Volunteer for assignments that are less attractive. Pitching in shows you are a member of a team.
Every one of us, from entry level worker to CEO, can help contribute to a supportive workplace and create a culture of respect, positivity and inclusion.
Learn more about the TAMU-CC online MBA program.