A positive work environment benefits both the business and the employees, helping the entire endeavor to be successful and beneficial. Happy employees may be more productive, leading to more profits and greater success. As the owner of a small business, fostering a welcoming attitude in the work setting can make the difference between mediocre operations and exponential achievements individually and collectively.
- Make the work environment pleasant. Keep all areas clean and safe. Provide an area for employees to eat and relax during breaks, if possible. Provide a refrigerator and microwave for preparing food during the work shift to help employees feel valued. Play soothing background music during the work shift.
- Model the behavior you desire of your staff. Be a positive and energetic role model, setting the tone for the work place. Smile, be engaging and friendly to everyone. Attitude often begins from the top down. If you have a negative, surly and unhappy demeanor, your employees may catch it.
- Institute an open-door policy, providing a willing and nonjudgmental ear for all employees. Encourage two-way communication, allowing employees feel like you value their ideas and providing feedback when necessary.
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy for intolerance and discrimination. Employees’ personal lives should stay out of the office and no employee should experience prejudice from a colleague. Encourage employees to involve you to problem-solve if issues arise. If you find any employee demonstrating or communicating intolerance, act swiftly. Give one warning and then consider removing an employee who creates this kind of atmosphere in the work place.
- Extend praise and compliments as often as possible. Go out of your way to find positive behavior and actions from your employees. When you notice these occurrences, verbally recognize the contributions. Positive recognition helps people feel valued and it also encourages more positive actions.
- Solve problems swiftly when they arise. Communicate openly with all parties involved. Listen to the details, getting everyone’s perspectives. Ask questions to ensure you understand the situation and work out a fair solution that will benefit everyone.
- Provide employees with treats from time to time. Even if you just bring in doughnuts once a month or spring for take-out at the end of a special project, these gestures help employees feel valued and important.
by Kathryn Hatter