A nice place to work isn’t good enough anymore. A civil or appropriate business atmosphere falls short for a variety of reasons. Businesses need to create a more humane workplace. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be mistakes or conflict, but you can’t afford not to improve the culture of your workplace. Let’s look at some of the reasons why. More importantly, we’ll share a number of ways you can create the human-centric workplace that employees want and need.
You Must Improve Workplace Communications
Teach people to say what they mean and mean what they say. For example, don’t say yes to avoid conflict when you mean no. State all commitments clearly and explicitly instead of giving vague answers. Open, honest communication contributes to trust in the workplace while avoiding confusion and preventing mistakes.
Don’t act as if your assumptions or opinions are facts; instead, recognize that others may think differently.
Tell people to ask questions rather than assuming they know what others think, feel and want. However, you can’t project, because you’ll often be wrong. Don’t act as if your assumptions or opinions are facts; instead, recognize that others may think differently. This reduces both bias in the workplace and mistakes that compound other problems.
One way to achieve this is to enhance emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence can be difficult to cultivate on your own, but it has a massive impact in the workplace. However, sites like Findcourses.com have various emotional intelligence courses that can teach people how to read others while checking their own emotional reactions. These could be taken by management, which can then use this newfound knowledge to teach emotional intelligence to employees.
It Is Essential to Follow Through
It isn’t enough to state your agreements out loud with a clear understanding of what happens if you fail to deliver. Make it an expectation that people will follow through on their commitments unless there is truly something in the way. Then, encourage them to communicate the status of work and report hurdles so that they can be overcome instead of engaging in a blame game. This improves workplace communication and truth while increasing the odds you’ll finish work on time. When someone doesn’t honor their side of the agreement, follow through on the consequences.
This should be true for all levels of the organization. For example, managers should state their expectations for performance and behavior. When someone falls short, express your disappointment and take action as necessary. Otherwise, rules on acceptable behavior mean nothing.
Provide Regular, Balanced Feedback
The modern workplace is moving away from the annual performance review to real-time feedback. This has many benefits for everyone involved. People get corrective feedback faster, allowing them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. This improves workplace performance, and means people don’t waste months while bosses wait for the annual performance review to tell them they’re falling short. This is one reason why more than half of employees said that annual performances are inaccurate.
Furthermore, businesses are becoming more fast-paced. You can’t afford to wait months to show them a better way of doing things. And, in a collaborative workplace, you want to provide continual feedback to maintain lines of communication. This is one reason why mentoring, coaching and regular check-ins are replacing the annual performance review.
A side benefit for the organization is that continual feedback, both good and bad, motivates people to do better. On the other hand, more than half said traditional reviews don’t motivate them to work harder. Peer reviews are on the rise because this provides multiple and thus more balanced perspectives. This is why nearly ninety percent of peer reviewed employees say they’re satisfied with their jobs.
Managers themselves have to balance the good with the bad. People want to be recognized for the good work they do, not just be told what they’re doing wrong. When someone has a positive experience like this, they work harder and stay longer with the firm.
Reevaluate the Entire Employee Experience
A bad company culture contributes to absenteeism. However, the inverse is true. When people are happy and engaged, they’re not only present, but they are more productive. Performance is higher, and they’re less likely to quit. To create this humane workplace, move beyond perks and the occasional team building experience to create a holistic employee experience. Wellness programs can be part of this, though it is only part of it. And, ask your staff to give their feedback on company culture. What do they want exactly? What do they need? What do they think can be done better?
A more humane workplace benefits everyone at all levels, and eventually makes for a more efficient workforce. There are many initiatives that you could implement if you want your business to be more humane and boost engagement. For instance, you could focus on giving back, and give employees opportunities for volunteer work. But make sure that they participate as a team. And choose causes that they are motivated by and in line with your business.
Team volunteering allows people to build bonds, sometimes between department members or age groups that wouldn’t have the chance to interact otherwise. This could also lead to an exchange of competence, and a better understanding of each other’s realities.
Authenticity Pays Off
Many employees are suspicious of the higher ups, and this can lead to dysfunction. This could also lead to things like theft and malicious attacks against the organization. Don’t wait until the last minute to introduce major shifts that could have an impact on your employee’s livelihood or life in general.
Also make sure that you do what it takes to encourage a clear and open dialogue between employees and management. By building a relationship based on trust, you’ll get more from your employees. This will also push them to be more honest, and less likely to hide certain things or have to lie to get out of certain situations.
Flexibility is Key
Agile workplaces are bound to become the norm, and if your organization hasn’t considered it yet, you might find yourself wondering why you can’t attract or keep top talent. In fact, an increasing number of new workers are now beginning to demand it.
This is why you should consider things like flexible and rotating shifts, hot desking, and more chances for remote work. You have to be able to trust your employees, but also use the proper project management tools. Cloud management tools allow everyone to see which stages projects are at, and allow for more accountability by seeing which processes are lagging and the person behind them.
The Need for a Community
Employees often feel a disconnect from each other and the world around them. But you have the opportunity to help them build real bonds. After all, some people see their coworkers about as much as they see their own families, and building bonds through social events could pay dividends in the long run.
Record unemployment is creating a talent war. Your employees aren’t front-line soldiers, but volunteers that can leave whenever they want, and many choose to do just that when they are unhappy. This is why you can’t afford not to have a holistic and humane workplace.