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For employers, fostering a positive company culture is always a top goal. A positive culture means strong company morale, which in turn boosts employee retention. But what makes a positive work environment, and how can you create one? 

In most workplaces, a positive culture starts with policy. Your company handbook should clearly state anti-discrimination policies, rules preventing any kind of harassment, and explicit procedures for filing any complaints. There should also be a clear disciplinary policy for anyone who violates these rules – and it should apply to every employee regardless of their seniority. Generous paid sick leave, maternity leave, and vacation time also go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated.

With these policies in place, it’s up to management to make sure that employees’ day-to-day experiences match up with the kind of environment it strives for. A positive work environment doesn’t just mean putting a ping-pong table in the break area – it means listening to your employees and being in tune with their needs. Do you have employees with dietary restrictions, whether for religious or health reasons? Make sure the break room snacks include options for them. Do you employ a lot of workers with young children? Flexible work scheduling can make their lives considerably easier. 

Of course, being in tune with your employees means giving them ample opportunity to make their voices heard. Establish an open-door policy that encourages communication between employees of different seniority levels. Provide a means for employees to submit suggestions or concerns anonymously (and make sure someone is checking the inbox!) If issues do come up, be sure to address them promptly. This shows your employees that you’re listening and taking their concerns seriously.

Lastly, wherever possible, encourage collaboration. Collaborative projects mean that employees, as well as supervisors, will get to know each other better. Encourage remote employees to come in person on certain days, or at least ensure that they’re collaborating with different people over time. When employees know and trust each other, they’re more likely to voice any concerns that they have, and these concerns will become more readily apparent to those who can address them. 

 

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