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12 signs of a healthy work culture

The world’s best innovators are PEOPLE, from entrepreneurs and executives to ordinary managers. How they collaborate, communicate and work with others can either foster innovation or kill it.

Is your team or company culture fostering or killing innovation?

Here are 12 signs to look for courtesy of Saeed Mirfattah, M.A., CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach®), Conscious Coaching Alliance. 

At Harvest Summit this fall Saeed will be one of the experts offering his consulting time during our Innovation Office Hours. More about his background and expertise below.

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.”

-Ken Robinson

There is a lot of talk these days about employee wellness. Rightly so. But what about the health of your company culture?

It seems like it’s stating the obvious that a positive work culture means greater productivity while a negative work culture can be counterproductive and even toxic.

A large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.

A 2012 workplace culture study conducted by Deloitte found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

Moreover, 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank having engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.

What does a healthy culture look like?

Work culture is a combination of employee values, attitudes, expectations, and beliefs blended with the principles of the organization.  To a large extent, the culture shapes employee interaction, productivity, and loyalty to the organization or team.

Below are 12 key indicators of a healthy work culture:

  1. Respect.  Employees are respected for ‘who’ they are; not just ‘what’ they know and they respect their fellow workers and work meaningfully to avoid personality conflicts, gossip, and backbiting.
  2. Creativity.  Employees feel that their work exercises their creativity and imagination. They don’t feel stagnated and feel that the company values innovation and innovative thinking. They are encouraged to ‘think out of the box.’
  3. Strength Based. Employees believe that their personal strengths are utilized, nurtured, and supported. The organization takes the view that building upon employee strengths is the way to optimize performance.
  4. Open Communication.  Employees feel they have the freedom to contribute ideas and alternate views without fear of reprimand. They can weigh in knowing that all their ideas may not be implemented but they are welcomed.
  5. Knowledge Access.  Employees feel empowered if they have access to data and information which flows easily up, down and across the organization.
  6. Encouragement.  Employees feel that they are recognized and encouraged to perform their best. The company puts their money where their mouth is and supports employees to do their best with resources and incentives.
  7. Clarity.  Employees understand the direction their team and organization is headed. The mission, goals, and strategies are clearly articulated and inculcated.
  8. Emphasis on Learning. Employees should feel that they are learning and developing.  They should have access to new training, workshops, mentoring, coaching, and presentations.
  9. Positive Relationships. Employees work better when they feel they have quality, supportive, and energizing relationships with fellow workers. Employees feel that a positive work environment is important and prioritized for the company.
  10. Fairness. Employees feel that their work performance is assessed fairly following a set of standards that are evenly applied. Employees also feel that work promotions and assignments are based on a system of meritocracy vs. a system of favoritism.
  11. Contribution.  Employees must feel that they are making a contribution to the team and that they are justly recognized for their contributions. When contribution is not encouraged or recognized employee engagement suffers.
  12. Engagement. As a cultural norm, the company places emphasis on employee engagement but employees also accept their own responsibility to be engaged and to encourage others to stay engaged.

A Final Word

A healthy workplace environment is good for your company. Period. Company culture is important to the success of the employees because they are more likely to be productive when they enjoy their workplace. The costs of a poor company culture can result in low employee engagement, higher employee turnover, diminished customer service, and a host of other negative impacts on the bottom line. Too many managers micromanage their employees, lack transparency and open communication and don’t emphasize collaboration and team work. They lack direction and clear values.

As more younger generations enter the workplace, the same old management styles may not be as effective as they were in past decades. A positive company culture is a right, not a privilege. In the worst case scenario, toxic environments are toxic to your health. Employees will care for the company they are working for if they know that they are being looked after. Employees are the best asset of every organization, and putting effort into culture wellness can encourage better teamwork, increased productivity and reduce sick leave.

Good luck.

 

Saeed Mirfattah, M.A., CPCC is the founder of The 360 Impact – a transformational change company: building leaders, cultures and teams that unleash human potential and ultimately create a better and more conscious workplace and a better and more conscious world.

Saeed has worked on various sides of the table: for-profit and non-profit, public and private. He has built and run his own enterprises, served on nonprofit boards, consulted to leaders of major organizations, entrepreneurs and startups as well as philanthropists and foundations. He has worked locally, nationally and internationally in small, medium and large sized organizations.

His engagements have been as diverse as his background. As an accomplished photographer, he conducted visual storytelling workshops in a bomb shelter in the West Bank as part of a peace project to foster empathy in Israel-Palestine. As a trainer, he taught entrepreneurship to inmates in a maximum security penitentiary in California. He has worked throughout the state of California facilitating large multi-stakeholders cross-systems social impact partnerships focused on systemic change. And as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), he has worked with countless individuals to support their journey of transformational change.

Saeed has lived, studied and traveled abroad extensively. He spent three years traveling and working in Asia. An avid adventurer, Saeed traveled by bicycle from Indonesia to Spain and later from Alaska to San Francisco. He graduated with a Masters degree in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London with Merit and Distinction and completed his undergraduate work in child development.

 

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