June 14, 2022

Positive Workplace Cultures

In between what’s considered trendy and what’s considered set in stone, employers have a myriad of options on how to lead their teams. Ultimately, the manner in which leaders guide their teams comes to define the organization’s company culture, which in turn plays a role in employee engagement, retention, performance, and even recruitment.

Nabih Haidar

On Positive Workplace Cultures:

In between what’s considered trendy and what’s considered set in stone, employers have a myriad of options on how to lead their teams. Ultimately, the manner in which leaders guide their teams comes to define the organization’s company culture, which in turn plays a role in employee engagement, retention, performance, and even recruitment.

Some business leaders may focus on what isn’t working, as they attempt to fix inefficiencies and problems through punitive measures. They scope their focus on their teams’ deficiencies, and attempt to correct them through negative reinforcement, or other correctional measures (i.e., 3 strikes).

On the other hand, some managers focus on what’s already working, instead they adopt a positive reinforcement policy in order to reward their teams’ efforts and incentivize better performances. In this regard, managers correct their teams’ inefficiencies by motivating them with future performance incentives, or other positive rewards (i.e., extra day-off).

On Supportive Management

A positive work environment stems from supportive management. Company cultures are top-down, meaning the elements that come to define the culture are first exhibited by those in leadership positions, thus setting the example to follow for the rest of the organization.

A culture of employee recognition leads to a culture of employee engagement, which in turn plays an instrumental role in teams thriving. When employees feel like their efforts are appreciated, they feel an increased sense of engagement towards the organization as they feel valued by the latter.

A positive work environment leads to increased employee self-confidence, supported by the ongoing positive reinforcement to incentivize growth. This confidence motivates teammates to perform at their best, allowing them to have a significant and lasting impact on the organization.

Stimulated and motivated employees will see the company’s success as their own; a positive reinforcement culture encourages them to feel personal professional growth linked to that of the organization.

Leading by Example

The best leaders lead by example; those who implement positive processes at work inspire their team members to replicate that behavior, creating a company-wide approach to positive reinforcement and positive cultures.

A positive reinforcement culture plays a subtle but important role in building team spirit at work. When leaders create a culture that promotes personal effort, people in the company will do the same.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

In other words, the team will replicate the management style with one another; if management is positive then teams will be more supportive of one another’s shortcomings. On the other hand, if management is based on negative reinforcement or punitive approaches, the teams themselves will act similarly with each other.

On Cultures and Brand Perception

A positive culture plays a holistic role in a company’s success, but not just internally.

Keep in mind that employees are people first, which means that they will communicate their experience at work to those around them. This happens in both instances where a company culture could be either beneficial or detrimental to the person.

Consider this; an employee communicates to their circle of friends and family that the company is invested in their professional development and career ascension, that they feel supported and validated, and they can sense incoming professional growth. What does this mean? This positioning will encourage consumers to interact with your organization through positive reviews or purchases, which in turn lead to increased sales and growth.

Let’s picture the opposite situation and see how things change.

In this scenario, the employee works at a company where a positive culture is not prevalent, and it functions as we’ve discussed throughout this piece. They will communicate their experience at work with those around them, highlighting the stressful and anxious nature of work. They do not feel valued, instead they feel like their best is never enough. Friends and family understand that the company does not take care of its own people, and they feel dissuaded from interacting with the company’s products.

Some clichés remain true, and it’s important to remember that good reviews may travel quickly, but bad reviews have wings. An employer’s brand ultimately gives a competitive advantage, with the opposite also being true.

On Culture and Hiring

Although it’s not entirely explicit, a positive company culture will make an organization’s recruitment efforts easier.

It’s significant to preface this by highlighting how candidate expectations have shifted, and they expect more out of the organizations they are potentially joining. Candidates now place an increased emphasis on topics such as career advancement, culture fits, and work-life balance when looking for employment, as a competitive salary does not suffice to attract top talent.

It’s relevant to note the candidate experience when looking for jobs, and the steps that candidates take before applying for an open position. Candidates seldom apply blindly to opportunities, as they now conduct research on potential organizations pre-application. During their research, candidates will often look at a company’s online review given by past or current employees.

Employees who have had a positive experience working at a company will leave positive reviews, which will incentivize talent to apply to the organization. On the other hand, bad reviews will cause potential applicants to stay away, as they get a glimpse of the company’s working environment. It’s important to remember that candidates will often trust employees more than company representatives, as their peers’ accounts of work hold more relevance to them.

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein from Pexels

A well-defined company culture serves as a tool for effective recruitment. Hiring managers who are aware of their company culture can better asses the candidates they are screening to know if they would fit the organization’s inner workings. This can help recruiters and talent acquisition specialists save time and energy when sourcing talent, as they can select and filter applicants based on their culture fit.

To read more about culture and recruitment, here’s our piece on how positive leadership facilitates recruiting.

Wrapping Up

Positive reinforcement plays a role that extends to different aspects of your business. The impact of a culture that promotes positivity makes your organization a healthy space, where members feel valued and capable.

A culture of positive reinforcement underscores an engaging employment environment, which improves your company’s competitive positioning and hiring, while playing an instrumental role in your brand image. A positive culture will lead to easier candidate attraction and employee retention, ultimately leading to lower turnovers and higher growth.

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