In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor writes “When we are happy — when our mindsets and mood are positive — we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.”

Research shows that happier employees are more productive employees, and while most employers know this they still struggle with how to provide the right company culture to promote a positive atmosphere. Creating a positive culture involves a lot more than supplying awesome snacks, having a ping pong table, and implementing flexible work schedules. It is something that needs to be part of an organization, from the top down, and implemented through action on a daily basis.

While creating and living a company culture is complicated, there are 10 simple ways to promote a positive work culture that keeps employees happy and productive. that you can start today.

1. Make sure to start with a plan, and carry through with it.

According to Maritz Motivation, 78% of companies have a documented employee engagement strategy and nearly 50% measure success.

Unfortunately, in The Collaborative Economy, Deloitte Access Economics stated that 51% of respondents said that either their organization had no collaboration strategy, or that they were unsure if their organization did.

This is even more alarming after you read that they found one of the two most effective drivers of employee engagement and collaboration was to have the right company culture policies in place. You can’t only make sure to have a plan in place, you need it to be understood and carried out by everyone in the organization.

2. Walk the walk when it comes to company values, and do so through employee engagement.

In 2015, a Gallup study found that only 30% of employees say that they’re actually engaged in their job. Unfortunately, more than 50% of employees said they weren’t engaged, and around 20% stated that they were “actively disengaged.” Not only is this showing that employees aren’t exactly satisfied with their work environment and culture, but the lack of engagement drastically affects business productivity. According to Business2Community, organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%.

Not only should your company values should be explicit and understood by everyone, they should also carry over to everyone's daily work. Employees are more engaged when they feel like they are contributing to the company culture and mission. IBM found that 80% of employees felt more engaged when their work was consistent with the core values and mission of their organization. Don’t be afraid to be creative with demonstrating company values either as all of the small things add up over time.

3. Give employees the opportunity to step up.

SHRM found that 70% of employees ranked being empowered to take action at work when a problem or opportunity arose as an important element of their engagement. Challenging employees will help them stay engaged and ultimately improve their performance in the long run. Not only that, but ReportLinker found that 83% of employees with opportunities to take on new challenges say they’re more likely to stay with the organization, so keeping employees challenged will ultimately lead to less employee turnover.

4. Be flexible with technology, and take team input on what should be used.

The Cisco Connected Tech Report found that 60% of respondents would choose a device other than a laptop for both work and personal use and 70% of HR professionals think Gen Y employees perform faster if they are allowed to use their mobile devices instead of computers. BYOD is real and here to stay. Not only that but 85% of working millennials say that if they can’t find what they need in the business, they’ll turn to non-approved apps instead. “Bring Your Own Software” or “Bring Your Own Application” is coming as well so make sure to embrace the technology your employees actually enjoy using in order to have them remain engaged and productive in their work.

5. Make sure your to show your team empathy where possible.

According to Salesforce, employees who feel their voice is heard in the workplace are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Engagement is a two-way street so make sure to listen as much or more than you direct and delegate. With 92% of employees saying that showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention, make sure you are not only listening to employees but showing a level of understanding in their situations as well.

6. Encourage daily collaboration and team interaction.

Collaboration is crucial to creating a positive work culture. The Collaborative Economy by Deloitte Access Economics stated that 56% of respondents said that they were happier when they collaborated. They also stated that dissatisfied employees only collaborated about 12% of the working week, showing that in order to make employees happier and more productive, you should be promoting a collaborative work culture.

If you have teams with weekly goals, have daily scrum sessions in the morning, or short meetings that get everyone together and on the same page. In the past, we’ve also done some small fun things like “wine down” Fridays where we closed out the week with a few bottles of wine. Again, remember the small things add up.

You also need to make sure your office is set up for success when it comes to collaboration. For example, in the past we moved offices, and the shape of our office only allowed for rows of desks as opposed to islands which were better for promoting face to face interactions. We solved this issue by having unassigned desks, encouraging more team meeting times like group lunches, and doing sprints and breakouts in the communal area of the space.

7. Allow employees to specialize where they have strengths.

Gallup found that Employees who use their strengths, skills, and abilities every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work. As a team leader, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who comprise your team and leverage those strengths for success. That same study also found those individuals to be 8% more productive, and 15% less likely to leave their jobs, so you’ll end up a more efficient and consistent organization in the long run.

8. Recognize and reward teamwork.

Recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts sends a positive message to your team members about the work they are doing individually and as a team. Being a vocal team leader can pay off tremendously, as Reward Gateway found that 70% of employees say motivation and morale would improve massively with managers saying thank you more. Sometimes the simple things in the workplace matter, so remember to show gratitude for even your team’s smallest successes.

9. Create a culture of Knowledge Sharing

A culture of knowledge sharing allows employees to support each other through the challenges they face and ultimately leads to happier and more connected teams. Google and Raconteur found that 88% of employees agree that a culture of knowledge-sharing correlates to high employee morale and job satisfaction.

And last but not least…

10. Do more of all of the above. This may seem simple but do more of everything!

After taking this all in we can see that happier employees are more productive employees, and while building a positive company culture can be difficult there are some easy steps to take to get on the right path. Once you are more aware of the makeup of your company culture and how employees respond to different activities, you’ll be on your way to contributing to a positive culture every work day without having to keep everything top of mind.

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