Creating a positive work environment can offer businesses a multitude of benefits. According to our employer brand research, it ranks among the top 5 reasons why individuals choose to work for a company. Not only does it help attract top talent, but it can also reduce employee turnover and absenteeism while simultaneously boosting productivity.
To cultivate a positive work environment for your business, it is essential to pay attention to the key milestones that shape the employee experience from the moment of recruitment to separation. Below, we have compiled a few strategies that will help you create a welcoming atmosphere at your company.
how to create a positive work environment
Your recruitment process not only affects your ability to find and hire talented workers but it also says a lot about your company’s overall culture. Poor hiring techniques can lead to a toxic working environment.
Every touchpoint of your recruitment process should be flawless and human-centred. For this reason, it's often better to work with an expert like Randstad, who can help make recruitment efforts more efficient. Your reward will be great people who believe in and support their organisation and want to help it succeed.
In addition to adding the human touch, follow these suggestions to help your candidates experience a positive recruitment journey.
- make sure job descriptions are accurate; no one wants to waste time on unsuitable matches
- avoid lengthy applications, especially during the initial process
- check that your company’s career landing page is user-friendly, up-to-date and has workable links
- keep your applicants informed of where they are in the process, either through sending rejection notices, requesting more information or reaching out to schedule an interview
Onboarding is another key milestone in the employee experience as it aims to integrate new employees into the company. A successful onboarding program starts workers off on a positive note by providing the knowledge, training and support they need to become productive team members.
In fact, onboarding has proven to be a key element in retaining and engaging employees. Statistics show that over two-thirds of newly hired employees who’ve experienced successful onboarding will stay with the company for three years. In addition, effectual onboarding can increase the productivity of new employees by 50%.
Structured onboarding procedures guarantee that each step of the journey is covered and that every new employee receives the same level of introduction.
However, don’t overlook the challenges that hybrid or remote work can make to your onboarding process. Be prepared to adapt as necessary to engage these out-of-office workers.
If you require onboarding help, consider contacting an HR solutions specialist to ensure you cover these essentials.
- each new hire will need to complete the required legal and payroll forms
- distribution of tech equipment and passwords or tokens should be prompt
- incremental training periods can prevent overwhelming the new employee — however, at the same time, you want them engaged from day one and not staring at a blank screen
- providing a mentor is a great way to help the new employee become acclimated with the layout of the building, understand how lunches and breaks are handled and meet an assortment of new colleagues
- scheduled sessions with a manager or HR representative can guarantee the new employee isn’t forgotten or excluded.
invest in learning and development
Employees want to perform their jobs better, position themselves for promotion or obtain a different role via reskilling. By offering training programs and classes in various formats and subjects, you show that you're also invested in your people.
Employees with opportunities for growth and development have less stress about losing their jobs due to technological advances. Data from the University of Phoenix for The Society for Human Resource Management supports this. Over half of the workers surveyed are concerned that their jobs can be replaced, and 40% feel that technology may make their jobs obsolete. The most telling statistic of all, though, is that over 65% of workers would stay with their current employer if given opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. This puts pressure on the employer if they want to retain valued employees.
In addition, Randstad’s 2023 Workmonitor survey found that job and financial security are high priorities among 92% of workers. While workers feel confident that they can find another job, workforce resising and the adoption of automation is causing insecurity. Offering workers career coaching along with upskilling and reskilling opportunities can help employees and companies remain competitive.
Your organisation probably has a variety of required training and safety classes, some annually. While these are necessary and beneficial, you should distinguish these types of courses from training and development opportunities. Making sure all your employees understand what training is available and how to access it is a critical role for the HR department.
Offering rewards can help incentivise employees and let them know you value them. Rewards don’t have to be monetary, but money is always welcome, especially during periods of inflation. In fact, many employees hope their employer can provide some type of cost-of-living adjustment to help with financial worries.
In addition to monitoring your wage scale to ensure adequate compensation, consider the following non-monetary rewards as good working environment examples.
- flexible scheduling, including shift adjustments, time off and days worked
- remote work from home or in a hybrid model
- recognition through employee awards, callouts during meetings or in newsletters, or personal acknowledgments
- miscellaneous perks like upfront parking, corporate giveaways and the opportunity to choose between projects
- entire department rewards go a long way to improving morale and encouraging teamwork. Consider catered meals, social activities and extended break periods
develop strong management
All too often, companies promote staff to management positions based on the wrong reasons, such as length of service or job performance. Unfortunately, just because someone is your best salesperson doesn’t mean they’ll make a good sales department manager.
Many other aspects go into the ability to manage people. Using analytical tools to assess skill sets can help you determine who is the best fit for an opening. Take time to discuss job duties with each prospect thoroughly. Sometimes, the lure of more money or prestige can cause a hasty, and in some cases undesirable, acceptance.
Another way to help ensure you have a good working environment is to give new (and veteran) department heads support through training and development courses. Managers need a thorough knowledge of employment laws. In addition, conflict management, decision-making, motivation and organisation are all necessary skills for a successful leader and ones your newly promoted employee may be lacking.
If you have the staff, provide a mentor manager who can help support new duties. Also, make sure the chain of command is clearly delineated. For instance, new supervisors are often pulled from current team members, causing a challenging role switch from co worker to boss. Only by providing comprehensive support can you help develop a positive employer experience — for the manager and their team.
A desire to enjoy life and work rather than enjoy life despite work is overreaching among employees. Therefore, employers who want a good work environment must ensure optimum work/life balance. Randstad’s Workmonitor 2023 survey on employee attitudes demonstrates this principle.
- 94% consider work/life balance important
- 61% wouldn’t work for a company that interferes with work/life balance
One of the ways an organisation can influence the work/life balance is through added flexibility in hours and locations. While remote work opportunities are not at the level they were during the pandemic, they are still significant to enticing and retaining employees.
Use data-gathering techniques to determine what your employees want regarding workplace flexibility. Creating a hybrid work model with some allowable remote days may be all that is necessary to improve the work experience for many of your employees. Others may prefer a 4-day work week or the ability to change work hours.
listen and learn
Making changes without gathering input can lead to discouraging results. Look upon your employees as valuable resources when creating a positive work environment. As you take surveys and conduct think-tank sessions, keep an eye out for trends, even if the suggestions vary greatly. For example, 20 people may have differing opinions on revising the coffee bar, but because everyone mentioned the topic, you now know the current setup is lacking.
Furthermore, realise that due to their familiarity with work processes, your employees often have a better understanding of improving productivity than you do. Don’t be so quick to dismiss even an entry-level worker’s suggestion.
One way to get the focus onto the employees and away from leadership is to let the employees run the meeting. Your job is to listen, take notes and respond positively. While some ideas may involve more time or money than your company can spend, there are ways to tactfully address this without immediately shooting down a suggestion.
focus on the employee experience
Remember that the employee experience is at the heart of any effort to understand and improve your desired work environment. The employee experience encompasses all the interactions between your people and your organisation, both positive and negative ones.
To assist you in creating a positive experience for your employees, we have developed a template to map your employee journey. By identifying the critical touch points from recruitment to separation, this resource will help you to unlock areas for improvement and take your workplace to new heights.