These 6 Strategies Are Proven To Foster a Positive Workplace Culture

Stress levels are at an all-time high, and sadly, the workplace is the leading cause of that stress (TSheets Survey, 2018). In order to increase the well-being of your nonprofit’s team members, they need to feel that they are part of an organization that truly cares about them. When you can foster a positive workplace culture, not only will productivity skyrocket, but your employees’ overall job satisfaction will enjoy a boost as well.

1. Prioritize Onboarding Training & Professional Development.

When you invest in your team members, you are investing in the long-term future of your nonprofit. The majority of employees want to perform well — but if their training is difficult to understand, not personalized, irrelevant, or… well, let’s face it, boring… it fosters an environment for employee apathy and disengagement. This can lead to massive losses in productivity over time.

So, give new hires (and volunteers) an attractive first impression! A mentoring program could do the trick: 83% of workers who were formally mentored explained that this initial experience positively influenced their decision to stay at their organization (River’s 2018 research).

Don’t abandon your current employees either: 70% of them believe ongoing education would increase their focus and time management skills (Udemy’s 2018 Workplace Distraction Report). Consider offering free subscriptions to online learning platforms like Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning as an employee perk. Both platforms offer team plans that can provide your team members with the knowledge and resources they need to advance in their careers.

→ Result? Boosted Work Performance & Lower Turnover

2. Encourage Open And Honest communication.

If you’re a leader within your nonprofit, it’s up to you to ensure that team members don’t feel left out, unheard or unsupported. However, 69% of managers are generally uncomfortable communicating with employees, especially to give direct feedback (Interact Report 2016).

Having a strategy in place for honest and thoughtful communication:
  • fosters a positive sense of community
  • shared purpose within your organization
  • creates individual accountability
  • minimizes chances for confusion

Host a collaborative meeting with your team to discuss your nonprofit’s current priorities and post these priorities in a public, high traffic space that everyone can see often (ex. whiteboard, kitchen, Google Doc).  And if you’re not already, use communication platforms like Slack to dedicate specific channels for each of your current projects.

→ Result? Stronger Collaboration Between Team Members

3. Celebrate Team Members (More Often Than You Think!)

An employee engagement poll by OfficeVibe reported that 2 in 3 employees feel they don’t receive enough praise for their contributions in the workplace.

Now before you go announcing monthly individual awards like "Employee of the Month” or "Perfect Attendance”, you may want to hold off. Ian Larkin, a Harvard Business professor, conducted a study which cited that previously stellar employees experienced a 6—8% productivity decrease during a 9-month contest for… you guessed it… perfect attendance. Wait, what?!

Larkin suggested that this drop in productivity may result from the recognition being given in a singular context. We tend to be more motivated by building a strong emotional attachment with our group.

So instead, draw attention to shared team wins:
  • Formally praise employees and volunteers (often) for remarkable company achievements
  • Celebrate their anniversaries since joining your team
  • Invite friends and family of your team to community-centric events (outdoor summer movies, BBQs) that publicly highlight your team’s wins this past year

→ Result? Increased Employee Morale

5. Reinforce the values and mission of your organization.

This holds true for any organization, but especially for a nonprofit! Employees with a strong sense of purpose underlying their everyday efforts are 64% more fulfilled at work compared to employees that are apathetic to (or just don’t know) the values and mission of their organization (Randstad US, 2018).

Why else do strong company values matter? The same research reveals that 2 in 3 employees would likely leave their job if they felt their organization was portrayed negatively to the public because of poor business practices.

You want to retain your top talent!! Don’t let your nonprofit’s values and mission statement be something you gloss over once during initial training, never to be heard of again. Just like with your team priorities (mentioned in #2), be sure to post your team’s values somewhere easily visible and make them a vital consideration in team decisions.

Praise employees’ contributions when they think up new ways to carry out these values both in and out of the workplace so they can begin to feel personal accountability and pride toward your nonprofit’s culture.

→ Result? Loyalty From Your Top Talent

6. Conduct Regular Check-Ins With Team Members

What’s more nerve-wracking than fumbling around during a project, not entirely sure what’s expected of you and no longer wanting to be there at all?

Or worse, actively putting in increased effort at work, trying to build a positive relationship with your manager or peers… and nobody seems to care.

Either of these situations would put you off your workplace pretty quickly, and yet they’re commonplace. Only 8% of those surveyed said their employers measure employee engagement at least monthly… 18% don’t formally measure employee engagement at all (Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends, 2016).

Always remember your team members are still human! No matter how straightforward your instructions or how well employees seem manage on their own, checking in with one another is the thoughtful and caring thing to do — and ultimately gives you insight on how to make the workplace a more satisfying place to be.

Software company Atlassian uses MoodApp to gauge how employees are feeling at work, whereas online retailer Revzilla conducts weekly one-on-ones or company outings. You might even try a survey platform like TINYPulse to collect employee feedback (Growth Everywhere Infographic).

→ Result? Higher Job Satisfaction

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Management & Leadership,Leadership Aug 14, 2019, 12:00 AM

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