We all know how important it is to have a positive company culture yet with life and business struggles sometimes neglect to place this at the top of our priority list. Micromanaging a team is perhaps not the best option and in today’s business world might not be an effective method.
Nurturing a winning company culture and a strong leadership on the other hand will not only help your staff feel valued, understood and motivated but it will increase performance, help your business to retain the best people and increase your profits.
According to a survey carried out by CIPD in April this year of approximately 6,000 employees, 55% feel under excessive pressure, exhausted or regularly miserable. Some employers I have spoken to claim that they are reluctant to invest in training and company culture because people will take advantage, get trained and leave to another company. But let’s think about it, what is the alternative? Can your business really afford to have employees who do not have energy, do not work to the best of their ability, do not feel like coming to work, cannot do a good job and they cannot wait for Friday to come? The lack of training, support and engagement will drive good talent away, increase staff costs and affect your business goals.
This is why I decided to speak to other experts and employers to compile our top 7 tips to help your business thrive.
1. Emotional Management Support
We all have seen and experienced emotions at work and we know (although some times we are unaware) that emotions are most likely to affect our decisions and the outcome. Learning how to manage emotions is an important part of for you and the leadership team of your organisation. And in addition, you will need to support your employees so they can manage their emotions better as well.
Jenni Hallam, a Personal Development Specialist & Business Coach teaches emotional resilience or ‘mental toughness’ as she calls it. This is essential for employers and employees alike. Jenni says “Mental toughness is the core of inner strength that means some people survive challenges when others don’t. This applies in all aspects of life but is particularly important in business, for employers to help themselves and to help their employees cope with pressure, take on responsibility and work autonomously when needed. People work best when they are emotionally strong enough to cope with challenge and change. Mental toughness helps people take the initiative and to be authentic in what they do. It’s something that you can build in the same way as you build physical strength”
Your employees will feel like they have someone to turn to if you offer support and this will create a positive working atmosphere. Sometimes, employees need to talk it out, in order to understand why they feel the way they feel and to release pressure.
Creating a process that works well with your company culture will help your employees to be happier, to be engaged and to love their work.
2. Flexibility and choices
Many employers are already adopting a flexible working policy as this can improve productivity and job satisfaction. It can also be a cost-effective method as you get to save on certain costs i.e. Saving on utility bills when people work from home, etc.
However, it is important to provide choices to accommodate the whole team’s preferences, Kalina Halatcheva, Managing director of Nouri Health, explained. She believes that healthy eating and staying active are key elements to increase productivity and wellbeing but she also understands that every member of her team is different and unique. At Nouri Health, a company that manufacturers delicious healthy snacks, every employee is given choices. “We provide healthy snacks and we allow them (team members) freedom to choose a sport according to their personality (and likes) so we allow them to go and practise their (chosen) sport during the working day.”
For information on their delicious healthy snacks, please visit:
3. Communication and Autonomy
All good leaders know that trust and communication are key elements in order to inspire their employees to work together for a common goal. Before your team can trust you, your employees must feel trusted first. “It comes down to human needs, we all want to feel appreciated and valued for what we do” says Tania Diggory, Founder of Calmer.
Autonomy means trusting your employees and giving them responsibility for their roles, allowing them to make decisions by themselves, giving them support without micromanaging their every single step.
Tania, who is also a Business NLP Practitioner, includes: “Communication is key. It's important for CEO's, managers and senior leaders to realise that each individual has their own way of filtering and absorbing information, therefore one form of communication doesn't necessarily work for everybody. Are you doing a mixture? If by email, are you being conscious of how the email is coming across, rather than quickly writing down the words and then sending it off. When speaking to your staff, is your body language and tone of voice congruent with what you are saying? Research has shown that our body language and tone of voice says a lot more than just the words we say, and so we must recognise that our non-verbal communication is also very powerful.”
4. Offer support for employees going through life changes
Most probably all of your employees will go through a life change whilst working for your organisation, whether this is a divorce, a new baby, losing their home, losing a relative, getting back to work after maternity/paternity leave, etc.
When I asked Donna Davies, a people strategist and owner of Conscious Benefits and More than Mums, about what she would recommend for employers and employees with a new family, she said: “The key is to have a returners programme, or even if it is not a full programme, a process that really accommodates an individual going through all this time of change, because it is a huge life change, having a baby, and we know that but then coming back to work after having a baby is also another huge change and it is not as easy as walking back into work on Monday morning. There is a lot of emotional distress around that for a lot of parents, so it is how we (as employers) make that time easier for them, it’s about being able to accommodate their needs in terms of flexible working or a change in working patterns without making them feel guilty about it”
5. Empathy in the workplace
Being an empathetic leader means that you will be able to relate to what your employees feel or say. Even if you do not agree with what they say, but you can understand and appreciate what they are going through.
Empathy can also be described as being present so Karen Liebenguth, an accredited mindfulness trainer from Green Space Coaching, can explain it better and she recommended these tips:
- “Paying attention to colleagues – making time to listen with fascination
- Understanding what’s going on for colleagues and acknowledging it as it is (without needing to fix the problem straight away)
- Empathising with their difficulties (not pitying) and asking questions to find out more
- Asking: How can I help?
Carrying out small acts of kindness daily, eg saying good morning or hello to colleagues more often and smiling when you do, paying a different colleague a compliment every day for one week, making time to write a personal thank you note/email/gesture to a colleague(s)”
Empathy can be very beneficial to you and your organisation as well, because this allows employees to grow, to be mindful of each other’s emotions and the clients’ as well. It fosters a business culture with open and genuine communication where people are not afraid of bringing up problems as their mindset will be set on how to sort them as a team rather than struggle on their own.
6. Understand the human element
Although, technology and innovation are at the centre of our society, as business leaders we must understand that businesses are made of people and they are probably the most important asset.
Employee performance just like athletic performance will improve with flexibility and regular breaks. Research suggests that people are only productive for about 3 hours from an 8-hour day. However, you can improve productivity by implementing appropriate breaks and training your employees to prioritise tasks.
Abigail Ireland, a High Performance and Productivity Consultant, commented for this article and she said: “First and foremost, employers need to recognise that humans cannot be treated like machines. We have physical, mental and emotional nuances and limits - all of which need to be taken into account if teams are to perform at their best. One of the easiest ways to boost team productivity, engagement, creativity and wellbeing is to simply encourage your people to take regular breaks to recharge, reflect and make sense of the huge amounts of input we digest each day. This works wonders for focus, clarity of thought and energy levels whilst reducing the risk of burnout and work-related health issues.”
7. People skills
If you are a sales person, you understand that sales and business development is about influencing people. To close a sale, your client will only buy from you if they trust you, like you and find quality in your product or service. This is why it is so important to encourage your team to learn good “people” skills.
As one of the leaders of your organisation, you must learn people skills yourself and put systems in place to help your employees to learn them too. Starting the day with enthusiasm, praising others genuinely, learning to be charming, encouraging other people to talk about themselves, knowing when to use suggestions instead of direct orders, respecting others, learning to negotiate, helping others when they need it, asking for help when you need it, letting your actions speak louder than your words, being able to laugh at yourself, all these will guarantee you and your team to influence others more.
Just like any other training, keep a record to reflect on what you have done right and what you can improve on, and encourage your team to do the same. You will be surprised just how much progress you and your team make. You will soon see a massive difference in your office and how people feel about coming to work and your clients will also notice the difference. Make your place of work an enjoyable experience and create a sense of community where everyone can be allowed to be their unique self but yet work as a unit towards the same business goal.
If you have any other tips that have worked for your organisation, please share them below.
Pictures credits: https://pixabay.com/en/