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6 ways to build a more positive, productive culture at your workplace in 2016

company culture

Just about everyone in the HR community understands that driving employee retention and productivity is a key goal at all times. In practice, however, many companies struggle to turn that vague, abstract concept into a reality. They have a few fleeting little-picture initiatives in the works, such as throwing parties and giving away small cash bonuses, but those rarely translate into a tangible long-term change.

According to the Harvard Business Review, if you want to have a great culture at your place of business, it needs to be one based on positivity. Emma Seppälä, director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, told the news source that you’re asking for trouble if you push your employees too hard, seeking to motivate them through intense pressure and negative reinforcement.

There are a number of issues with this strategy. One is it tends to be unhealthy – stress can lead to lost productivity, accidents and other symptoms that will eventually drive up your organization’s health care expenses. Other problems include a decline in employee engagement and a growing lack of loyalty.

“A large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cutthroat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees and the bottom line,” Seppälä explained. “Although there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better and faster,what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred.”

In order to make 2016 a successful year, what you really want is a positive, productive culture. The following are six ways to get it:

Respect and responsibility
With a positive culture, employees respect each other and feel a debt of responsibility to come through for one another in collaborative work situations. Do your employees feel this way?

Support for others
Support can take on many forms – sometimes it’s as simple as a bit of moral support, while at other times it’s being willing to step up and tackle a big work project. Either way, supportive employees are good ones.

Avoiding the “blame game”
When things go wrong at the office, it’s easy to fall into a habit of blaming people for miscues, but there’s a better approach. If your staff is able to forgive mistakes easily, you’ll be able to move on and focus on the next project.

Having employees inspire one another
It’s one thing to complete your daily assignments – it’s quite another to feel inspired to reach new heights. In the best workplaces, employees inspire one another to do bigger and better things.

Searching for deeper meaning
Is your work just “work,” or is it something that brings a greater meaning? A positive culture is one that emphasizes how meaningful everyone’s work is.

Building trust over time
Seppälä told HBR that the best employees are those who treat one another with “respect, gratitude, integrity and trust.” Of these, trust is the hardest. It requires a long-term process to build it up. Ultimately, though, that process is worth it.

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