Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture results in engaged, motivated and committed employees. This leads to improvements in productivity, customer service, sales and employee satisfaction.

Tips to Achieving a Positive Workplace Culture

Inclusive and respectful workplace

Start building an inclusive workplace by ensuring all employees are treated with respect. A comfortable work environment requires cultural awareness and appropriate orientation training. Your own attitude is the key to creating this culture of inclusion and respect.

Developing your management team

It’s often said that people leave managers, not jobs. The relationship between a manager and employee plays a critical role in employee satisfaction. Choosing your manager(s) will be one of your most important decisions. Management is not absolute and what works for one manager may not work for another. Here are some recommended approaches for management:

  • Put the right people in the right jobs. People are happiest and most engaged when they apply their strengths to their job.
  • Recognize that no employee is perfect. Everyone has different skills, talents and attitudes and a skilled manager can integrate them effectively.
  • Open, honest, clear communication ensures that employees are kept informed and understand the context behind decisions or changes to their environment. This also helps establish trust between management and employees, helping employees feel comfortable coming to their manager with problems, solutions or ideas.
  • Trust your employees. Try to involve employees in decisions and improvements. Their insights are often extremely valuable.
  • Lead by example. If a manager demands excellence they should demonstrate it themselves.
  • Acknowledge employees who go above and beyond what is expected. Whether you offer a monetary reward, honour them at a company event, or sincerely thank them for a job well done, appreciating your employees will help keep them motivated.
  • If you are meeting with an employee, give them your undivided attention. This will show your employee that you value their time.
Work life balance

Your employees can be parents, spouses, friends, caregivers, volunteers and much more. With the need to look after their own physical and mental health, finding time for all of these competing priorities can be difficult. As an employer, here are some options to help facilitate good work life balance:

  • Flexible working conditions such as working from home, flexible schedules, generous vacation time, health and wellness programs, on-site services (e.g. daycare and gym), subsidized transportation or carpool/shuttles, and paid parental leave.
  • Encourage and facilitate time for activities such as exercise and meditation.
  • Organize company sponsored family events and activities to encourage team building, friendships among employees, and inclusion of families in work events.
Understand your employees

Employees from different generations and cultures will have varying attitudes and expectations in the work place. The following options may help you understand your employees:

  • Get to know your employees. Surveys can be useful for this and should be anonymous to encourage open, honest feedback. Take action based on survey results and if action is not feasible communicate the reasons why to your employees.
  • Embrace your employee’s diversity. Recognize and acknowledge special days and events including cultural and religious holidays. Occasions like these can help your employees to get to know one another better.
  • If some of your employees are new to Alberta, our workplace culture may be different than what they are used to. Orientation can be a great first step in helping them to adapt. Mentoring, approachability and open communication will further help them settle into the workplace.
Hire a human resources professional

You may want to consider hiring a HR representative to help you manage recruitment. Depending on the size of your business this may be an option for you. A good HR professional can be invaluable and will free up your time to focus on the success and direction of your business if you are struggling to:

  • hire employees
  • stay up to date on employment laws
  • provide employee orientation
  • coordinate employee training,
  • deal with employee grievances etc.
Support career path development

Supporting employee career progression can help you ensure that you create the skills and knowledge you require now, and in the future, to reach your business goals. It also allows your employees to envision a future for themselves at your company, motivating them to stay. Fostering this development can range from facilitating training to tuition reimbursement.

Operate a safe, fair and healthy workplace

In Alberta, all workplaces must comply with Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws. Employers and employees share responsibility to adhere to these minimum standards for safe and healthy workplaces. As well as being a legal requirement, these practices reassure your employees that their welfare is a priority to their employer.

If some of your employees speak English as a second language, you need to ensure that safety information, signage and instructions are correctly understood. You can achieve this through well planned and thorough orientation, continued revision of safety procedures and encouraging your employees to ask questions if they are uncertain.