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After a global pandemic, the Great Resignation, skyrocketing inflation, war, and recent recession fears, it’s understandable that company cultures have taken a hit around the world.
But despite external influences, your company culture is an internal aspect of your organization. That means with the right focus and improvements, you can create a healthy culture and maintain high levels of productivity, even through hard times.
You can do this by investing in your greatest asset: your people. With this focus, you’ll see a jump in employee happiness, satisfaction, retention, and engagement, despite external challenges and economic hardships. And the best part is, many of these changes are either free or inexpensive.
In this blog, we’ll look at potential weights that may be dragging you down and what you can do to improve your company culture.
Stress and Burnout: Improve Work-Life Balance and Adjust Workloads
In tough times, it’s easy to feel overworked and stressed, which leads to burnout. And burnout leads to low energy, hopelessness, and resentment. It’s a silent killer that leads to quiet quitting (and actual quitting).
In order to reduce stress and burnout in your employees during hard times, you have to focus on improving their work-life balance. Here are some ways to easily accomplish that:
- Offer mental health days. Give your people the occasional day off to just relax and decompress. You don’t have to give out PTO like it’s candy—simply encourage people to take off the occasional rest day, and help them overcome any fear they have about taking time off when they need it.
- Walk the work-life balance walk. Don’t talk about work-life balance and then turn around and reward “hustle” culture. Promote mindfulness, foster open communication, be understanding of employees’ mental health, and create company-wide de-stress initiatives. If employees see the company prioritizing balance, they’ll feel better doing it for themselves.
- Give employees the freedom to choose. Eliminate any arbitrary rules that may increase stress for employees. For example, don’t force everyone to work the same schedules; to whatever extent you’re able, let employees work when and where it works best for them.
Improving work-life balance is a great way to help employees manage stress and reduce the risk of burnout. The other strategy to readjust workloads, and here are some ideas:
- Talk with employees. The first step is to actually ask your employees how they feel. If you’ve cultivated trust, they’ll tell you if they feel overworked.
- Allocate tasks based on workload and position. Find who has the bandwidth to take on more work, and reallocate tasks to spread around work. Make sure employees aren’t consistently taking on more work than their job responsibilities encompass.
- Prioritize tasks based on importance. It’s okay to let small, less-important tasks slip through the cracks sometimes, especially if that means your team can dedicate more time and effort to the important tasks. Prioritize work and don’t be afraid to cut out stress-giving tasks that aren’t as impactful.
By focusing on work-life balance and maintaining a healthy workload, you can improve your company culture and ensure everyone stays engaged, no matter what’s going on outside your workplace.
Negative Work Environment: Build Relationships and Offer Recognition
If employees don’t enjoy where they work and who they work with, your culture is probably MIA. One of the easiest ways to make work more enjoyable is by focusing on fostering relationships. Here are some ideas:
- Let employees connect outside of work. Have each team go on a team outing every quarter or so. These events can be parties, meals, movies, or local activities—the goal is to let employees get to know their coworkers on a personal level.
- Have frequent one-on-ones. The manager-employee relationship is integral to your culture. In fact, managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. When employees feel valued and cared for by their managers, productivity and retention go up. Frequent one-on-ones is a great starting point for building that relationship.
Having friendly relationships with both managers and coworkers is important for everyone. But that’s not all—employees need to have a healthy relationship with the company itself, and employee recognition is a great way to develop that:
- Celebrate milestones. Companies need to show that they care about employees’ happiness, and that means celebrating milestones with them. Work milestones include service anniversaries, promotions, and holidays. Personal milestones include things like birthdays, getting married, graduating, or having kids.
- Offer monetary and non-monetary recognition. Employees need to feel rewarded for the work they do. While monetary rewards are awesome, non-monetary shoutouts can be impactful as well. The important thing is to make sure everyone knows that they’re appreciated.
- Make recognition frequent and genuine. Employees work harder when they’re recognized—it’s as simple as that. So offer meaningful, personalized recognition throughout each employee experience to keep the good vibes flowing regularly.
Recognition improves employee engagement, morale, productivity, performance, and retention. And the best part is, with a recognition program, you can get these benefits with hardly any effort or stress.
Take Charge of Your Culture
Despite all of the craziness that’s going on in our world today, companies still need focused, productive, and happy employees. The way to accomplish that is by building a company culture that’s resilient against outside influences.
By focusing on work-life balance, workload health, workplace relationships, and employee recognition, you’ll create a work culture that acts as a buffer against stress, burnout, unhappiness, and turnover. You’ll be able to find success regardless of what’s going on in the world.