By RUTH LYNCH
It is no secret that happy employees work better. So how can companies ensure that their workforce is happy? Your workplace culture plays a significant part in keeping your employees happy and engaged at work. It is the overall intrinsic atmosphere and attitude created through the synergy of great people, a positive working environment, and meaningful values. It has a direct impact on a company’s performance and employee wellbeing - particularly in light of the current market following the pandemic.
By giving businesses and their employees an identity, purpose, and sense of belonging, strong workplace culture can drive organisational prosperity. Businesses with a stale culture at work often look to improve it yet struggle to know where to start. Your culture isn’t tangible. It’s not something you can show people or just pass on from one to another. It’s the connectivity between employees and a business, and something that runs through the company in line with its values and purpose.
It also helps businesses to attract like-minded people who want to be a part of the company – and drive it forward. A positive organisational culture creates a happy workforce which leads to engaged and motivated staff who will in turn give their all to provide stellar service. It’s a win-win situation and therefore a must-have for any business.
Our Head of People and Premises, Ruth Lynch, and Dthree Studios People Director, Hannah Grothier share their top tips for creating culture in the workplace.
Hannah: Having strong values gives us a purpose, belonging and identity. Company values give an expectation of behaviour and a standard we wish our employees to adhere to. Having strong values has not only improved employee communication, engagement, well-being and performance – it also clearly outlines an understanding of who we are as a company.
Ruth: Instilling meaningful company principles is integral to building a happy workforce and gives more purpose to what you do as a business. DeVono’s core principles were the brainchild of the employees. They are relevant and resonate with every single person in the business and are the components of a universal goal and vision that are encapsulated in how we behave with each other – and how we treat and dedicate our time to clients. We help build an engaged workforce by providing a real estate platform for future growth.
Hannah: Everyone works differently, our core business purpose is to ‘make life work’. For our clients and employees, we provide the outcome you need. Having options for employees to work flexibly makes life easier – especially given recent societal changes and challenges. It increases performance and engagement and motivates employees. The workplace plays a pivotal role in fostering a specific type of employee culture. We’ve seen a clear shift in the market with businesses increasingly seeking more ‘people-centric’ office designs which prioritise the use of open-plan layouts and bright rooms with plenty of space for collaboration – yet still take account of new social distancing norms.
Ruth: Agile working systems create a great sense of autonomy and trust in employees, with working from home – as many of us did during lockdown, reducing both employee stress and sick days. The pandemic brought with it a unique set of challenges – with many of the working population hankering for a return to ‘normality’ and the office. Having an open plan office with areas for collaboration or quiet time will be important going forward and necessary for engagement, team morale and general wellbeing.
DeVono can help you find your perfect office space to suit your workplace culture. Start your search today.
Hannah: Supporting and enhancing employee wellness by providing perks is about giving back to our employees. It shows employees that they’re appreciated – and that we’re looking out for their wellbeing. People normally spend the majority of their time at work, therefore the importance of people-focused incentives such as team lunches and healthy eating are important and shouldn’t be overlooked when creating a positive culture in the workplace.
Ruth: The link between wellbeing and performance has never been more apparent. According to a ‘Work Well Being’ report, poor mental health costs employers between £33 - £42 billion per year in the UK, with over a fifth of employees now reporting that mental health problems are the main cause of prolonged sick leave – no doubt exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Putting an Employee Assistance Programme in place is a cost-effective way of helping your staff tackle their stresses and lower absences. Mental health and staff wellbeing is something focused on regularly at DeVono, and treated with the same level of importance as physical health and safety. Having employee breakfasts and lunches, when in the office, or regular ‘Zoom check-ins’ of late, are a great way of showing staff you care and value both them and their wellbeing. Regular social events, albeit virtual currently, also help to keep company morale high and create bonds between employees, providing opportunities for people to switch off and recharge. Small incentives go a long way and are so easy for businesses to implement.
Mental health and wellbeing should be central to the awareness of all businesses and their workplace culture. In this blog, we share our advice on enhancing mental health in the workplace.
Hannah: We have a reward and recognition program which is highly important and beneficial to both the business and our people. Recognition should be structured, organic and meaningful. It increases employee productivity, helps retain top talent, and builds on positive workplace culture. It also creates a collaborative working environment – especially in peer-to-peer recognition, and increases both employee motivation and company performance.
Ruth: Regular employee recognition is vital for employee success and acknowledging great work. Monthly awards and prizes for those that excel and display the company values are a fantastic way of celebrating the success of individuals and the efforts of the business as a whole. At DeVono we celebrate successes in company ‘huddles’ each month which bring everyone together and create a sense of fun and camaraderie amongst employees.
Hannah: Feedback comes under employee engagement. We use an online anonymous tool to ask employees for their feedback and ways we can improve to increase their happiness and productivity. Feedback helps us to gauge the overall feelings in camp and gives us awareness of any challenges or issues that may be under the surface. It also helps us to improve manager and team relationships, as well as increase communication across the board by giving everyone a voice. We visibly showcase changes to our employees based on popular opinions so they can see that their feedback hasn’t gone unheard.
Ruth: Distributing surveys on a monthly basis where employees can have their say and feedback on what we can do even better as a business is a great way to enhance staff engagement – and shows that we want to stay in tune with the working environment and workforce. Organised discussions or ‘people forums’ where employees can sit together and discuss what’s working well and what we could do better with department heads is another way that employees get to have their say and feel involved in creating an engaging culture in the workplace. This sense of collaboration is important for a positive company culture.
Hannah: We ensure that our company values are part of our hiring process. Our purpose and mission as a business are made clear in all recruitment strategies, to ensure any potential candidates are in line with our values. As part of the process, we’ve a final value interview stage where the questions are aligned to our values to ensure that the individual has a similar value-set and meets the needs of the business – from a personal perspective. By ensuring that a person fits in with our values and culture at work, we immediately create an understanding of who we are as a business and our purpose.
Ruth: Hiring the right people is a huge cornerstone in creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture. Core values should be at the forefront of the recruitment process. Managers need to be in tune with their team and know what does and doesn’t fit within this – while at the same time find the right people who already showcase a company’s core values.
Hannah: Wellness schemes in the workplace help to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Wellness is also increased by having a clear development and progression program for employees – driving motivation and retention levels. Healthy body healthy mind! We’ve a wide range of platforms for wellness including coaching sessions and one-to-one time with a financial advisor. Financial concerns can cause anxiety and stress – as a result impacting productivity.
Ruth: At DeVono we also encourage staff to do community work. Many have previously attended volunteering sessions for the Connection at St Martins, serving lunch to London’s hungry and homeless. Creating a sense of fun through our charity days brings staff together, as demonstrated this year during the pandemic through our participation in the 2.6 challenge – while also highlighting awareness around important causes. Both Dthree and DeVono work together to raise money for Young Minds by hosting various events and activities for our staff to participate in. In terms of balancing well-being with career growth and progression opportunities, a quarterly one-to-one appraisal system, where employees can discuss their progress throughout the year with line managers is important for professional and personal development.
If you have a stale workplace culture that needs improving and want to understand how your office environment and workspace layout impact this, get in touch. We’re here to help.
"Our second time using DeVono and again I was very impressed with the team - friendly, efficient and extremely commercial and honest. They understood the brief and worked hard to deliver the right property for our needs. In what was an unfamiliar area to me, they provided guidance on key issues and negotiated very good terms, highly recommendable."
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