The importance of workplace culture and what you can do to improve it

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We recently had a team member resign from MyBabbo. It hit me hard. I wondered what we could have done better. At their exit interview, I asked the question, “How would you describe the MyBabbo culture?” She responded, “It’s a positive family environment. It is uplifting and inspiring.” As you can imagine this made me tear up with pride. So why was this team member quitting? There were a multitude of reasons but top of the list was family balance. I couldn't debate this as she was aligning with our culture of family first. I know I will keep in touch with this team member and maybe when her family situation changes MyBabbo will welcome her home and back into our work family.

At MyBabbo, we continually try to build a culture that lives out our core values and guiding principles. Sometimes we fail but those failures offer us a chance to reflect and get back on track. One of our most important core values is celebrating people. Appreciation for our team is a key factor in our company's success. Finding suitable candidates to hire and employee retention are critical issues for businesses everywhere right now. A recent study suggests just over 4 in 5 companies will face hiring challenges over the next year citing issues like finding qualified candidates and increased competition in the job market. The culture of your business - the culture your employees actually feel (not just the one written in your business statement) is essential in retaining your most prized asset - your employees.

Forbes magazine identified three reasons why positive workplaces are more productive.

1. A positive work culture encourages happier employees. Happy employees generally don’t leave.

2. Positive work cultures promote collaboration. A sense of team means people know they can rely on one another to solve problems and get the job done - likely faster.

3. A positive workplace promotes creativity. When employees feel like they are an important part of the team, they will be more likely to speak up and share their ideas and fresh perspectives.

Here are five practices to promote a positive work culture.

Everyone should know and feel your company values

We have our company values framed and posted on the wall above our desks at the office. Our values are in our face everyday. They are there to remind us of who we are and the culture we want to create and maintain based on those values. Our team and our customers also know our values; partly because they are often a part of our conversations but also because we regularly act on them. You can also find them on our website. Just reading them over for this blog made me feel good! What are your company values? Are they widely shared? Maybe it’s time to revisit them and ensure they reflect the culture you want to create. Or maybe it’s time to bring them back to the forefront of your practice and see how they positively impact your workplace culture.

Practice what you preach

One of our most important practices for our team is putting family first. Many of our hires are moms who want to be a part of the workforce but also still want to stay home to support their families. We offer flexible hours and remote work to support this important part of our culture. Our business was built on the principle of putting our family first and to this day we live out this commitment to their kids and extended family every day. What specific practices do you have in place that directly connect with your core values? Everyone benefits when the vision and actions are strongly aligned.

Invest in learning & growth opportunities

Growth and learning for everyone in your business is essential. We all need opportunities to learn and to share our learning. As well, proper training is essential for your team to feel supported and be able to execute their roles successfully. At MyBabbo, we invest in both learning about what we do and in our team’s well being. We have invested in courses and books (like those from Marie Forleo and Simon Sinek) and specifically in strengthening each team member through work in MBTI and The Table Group with Patrick Lencioni. We also attend an annual Global Leadership Summit with some of our team. A positive workplace culture requires investment.

Connect with your team

A sense of connectedness is an essential part of a positive work culture. Feeling connected makes everyone feel like they are part of a team. It also keeps important lines of communication open. We like to have weekly manager meetings to ensure our action plans and vision are aligned. We also have an open door policy - any employee can reach out to us directly at any time. It is important to be accessible and to be a listening ear. This policy builds a sense of trust and contributes to employee satisfaction. Team parties, hikes and meals are also fun ways for us to connect. Everyone feels more validated when they feel connected.

Celebrate your employees

Our number one customer is our team. We need to take care of our teams before we even take care of our clients. For our business, we are a concierge service with a high focus on customer service; without our team, a happy team, we do not have a business. We try to share with them specific ways they are making a difference in the work we do. We celebrate our team - their accomplishments, their milestones, their lives - with big and small gestures. Sometimes we drop treats to their homes (usually baked goods) and sometimes we treat them to team parties at fancy places like Langdon Hall. We also like to send messages and notes of appreciation whenever we can. Receiving a pay cheque is not enough validation from employer to employee. Here are 19 ways to show employees you appreciate them.

Spend some time thinking about the culture of your company. Is it the culture you intended to create? We would love to hear your thoughts. Share with us in the comments below. Let’s get the conversation going!

You can read more on the importance of culture here.

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Connection is why we're here;

to our lives.

-   Brene Brown

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