5 Tips to Improve Your Work Culture: A Guide for Team Leaders

Work culture is a term that you’ll often hear bandied about these days. It conjures up images of casual dress codes and unlimited free snacks, but what does it mean, really? Culture is about more than what liberties and material possessions you can give your employees—it should be a lived reflection of what your company is about and who you are as a leader.

Fostering and maintaining a positive work environment is important for many reasons. It helps to boost productivity among team members, it improves communication, and—as 82% of respondents to a Deloitte survey stated—it gives your company a competitive edge. It makes sense: a great company culture attracts top talent.

But creating an awesome work culture is not always easy to do. As a team leader, it is your job to create a positive work environment, but how can you do this exactly? There are many different things you can try.

If you’re in need of inspiration on how you can achieve the difficult task of creating a truly creative, communicative, contented, and collaborative culture, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for five tips on how to improve your work culture today. 

1. Review Your Stated Core Values

These days, it’s commonplace for a company to have a set of core values it is said to abide by, and it’s likely yours does too. For example, some of Microsoft’s include “innovation, trustworthy computing, diversity and inclusion”. Meanwhile, two of Google’s are “It’s best to do one thing really, really well and Fast is better than slow”.

Whatever yours are, now is a good time to revisit them. Your company’s core values should be the benchmark against which you measure the success of your team’s culture. Ask yourself, are you living up to them?

If not, think about what you as a leader can do to adopt them into everyday life in the office. It could be something as small as writing them on the wall, so they’re always at the forefront of people’s minds. A company’s core values are vitally important, and should be referred back to on a regular basis, as a reminder of what the company stands for and the qualities it wants to see in its employees.

2. Celebrate Your Team’s Wins

Just like it’s necessary to speak to employees that are not pulling their weight, you should also be congratulating employees when they achieve something positive. Good feedback is every bit as important as bad, if not more. If your employees feel as though their hard work is being recognized, they will feel more motivated to keep doing a good job.

It doesn’t only have to be big things, either. You can buy a cupcake for a team member that raised money for charity. Or use one of these work anniversary ideas for when the office hits a milestone.

Emphasizing positivity over negativity is a great way to foster a more positive work environment and keep employees feeling happy. Make sure to recognize the good stuff as well as the bad—and celebrate the small stuff as well as the big.

3. Get Feedback From Your Team

Sometimes, if you want to know how to improve life for your employees, it’s best to go right to the source. Try asking your employees how they think the office culture could be improved. You never know, you might hit upon a gem of an idea you never would have thought of yourself.

But that’s not the only reason that this tack is a good idea. Recent research from UKG found that 86% of employees don’t feel heard in their jobs. This is bad for a number of reasons—not least because of the disastrous effect it can have on company culture.

There are a number of different ways you can get feedback from your team. One is to hand out surveys. Another is to have one on ones with each member.

You can also try calling a meeting, and have everyone share their thoughts in an open forum. Different methods will work for different teams, so make sure to think about which your team might appreciate most. The most important thing is to let them have their say.

4. Begin at the Hiring Stage

Of course, the key to building a truly cohesive and collaborative team is to begin at the hiring stage. The types of people you put together on a team will have an effect on how well it gels together. This is why it can be a good idea to consider culture fit among other factors when making a decision about who to hire.

You can do this by asking some culture-specific questions to interviewees, or even letting them sit with the team for a few hours, to see whether they would work well together. If various different team members are constantly butting heads, it has an adverse effect on the entire office.

5. Be Open and Honest

According to one study, around 50% of employees believe that their employer is not upfront with them. Not being transparent with employees is a death sentence for positive company culture. Transparency builds trust and encourages open communication, two things that are essential for successful teams.

Being open and honest with your employees—and encouraging the same from them—is the only way to have a truly positive work environment. It is also important for productivity and ease of collaboration.

Improve Your Work Culture Today

Building a positive work culture is not always easy, but it is important. It is essential for productivity, employee retention, and the happiness of your team. Follow the above tips to begin building a better company culture today.

Hopefully, this article will help you to make your team better than ever. If you’ve enjoyed this guide, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of our content.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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