Company culture can make or break a business. It permeates everything from recruiting talent to the attitudes and behaviors coming out of the corner office. If your company culture is toxic, it pays to take a closer look into ways of creating an environment that will support your employees and bolster your bottom line. Here are five leadership hacks that you can implement to build a positive company culture in your business.
1. Improve Your Employees' EQ
Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, forms the foundation for creating a positive, open company culture in which employees can thrive and grow.
The definition of EQ is the ability of individuals to recognize and understand their own emotions and to make a concerted effort to understand those of others. More important, it means using emotional cues to guide thinking and behavior, and manage emotions to adapt to environments or achieve common goals.
EQ is a blend of self-regulation, self-awareness, understanding of motivation, empathy, and social skills. Many experts argue that EQ may be a stronger determiner of business success than IQ, and investing in supporting your employees' EQ through training programs can be a valuable way to improve employee loyalty, work performance, and collaboration.
2. Impose a Communication Curfew
Constantly being connected can have a significant impact on employees. While connectivity allows employees to work from anywhere, it also means that work-life and personal-life blend together. One thing is for certain: boundaries are essential. When work impedes personal time, it can lead to resentful, alienated, anxious, and unproductive employees.
Just as rest and recovery is an integral part of an effective physical training program, communication curfews or periods of time when emails cannot be sent, or when employees can actually recover and get some downtime, can help improve company culture significantly. It gives employees time to relax, reconnect with their families, friends, and loved ones, and gives everyone a much-needed break from being constantly connected.
3. Invest in Reliable, Flexible and Accessible Technology
There are hundreds of technologies designed to improve performance and profitability. Obviously, not every technology will be beneficial or economical for every business. Technology can be a boon to a business or kneecap it before the race even begins, which is why it's so crucial to invest in the right technology for your business.
If you have a workforce that is scattered around the globe, it's essential to invest in solutions that can support real-time updates and encourage collaboration. After all, no one wants to miss the water-cooler chat or the lunchtime huddle when working on a big project.
"With more Millennial and Gen Z employees entering the workplace, employers are having to update their workspaces to align with these workers' preference to work remotely and more collaboratively in open spaces rather than in traditional cubicles like previous generations," says Marshae Mansfield, Lenovo's vice president and chief customer officer, North America. "Lenovo is developing a variety of smart office solutions that allow teams to collaborate more easily and productively across multiple locations. These technologies can make even the most remote employee feel involved, appreciated, and part of the team."
4. Praise Your Employees in the Open
Who doesn't love getting praise for a job well done? Studies have shown that feeling appreciated is one of the most important factors in driving employee satisfaction. It makes employees feel empowered and can often inspire them to do better work. It's also a quick way to foster a positive work environment.
But praising your workers doesn't mean handing them an employee-of-the-month plaque to hang on their wall. Calling out good work can be as simple as a social media post. Whether you work with a completely remote team or everyone sits within a few feet of one another, it's crucial to recognize your employees' accomplishments. In so doing, other employees may be inspired to follow suit
5. Improve the Physical Environment
Sure, open offices and communal workspaces can be beneficial and have become more popular, but they have their downsides, too. In fact, according to a Forrester study of more than 800 small business employees around the world, employees often find that these kinds of spaces contribute to distraction and frustration more than they contribute to productivity.
While there will never be a situation where all employees are happy with the workplace layout, it is incumbent upon business leaders and HR executives to create the physical environment that ultimately will lead to overall employee satisfaction, productivity and profitability. It may not be an easy task, but it is an essential one.
In Conclusion: The Leadership Hacks that Work
While creating a positive company culture can take time and effort, it's well worth the investment to do whatever is feasible to encourage collaboration, productivity, and sustain overall employee happiness. The investments you make in improving company culture will reap both financial and human rewards.
"Focus on the employee experience," advises Mansfield. "Our research and the market have clearly demonstrated that the best indicator of positive business growth isn't cash flow or profit margin, but employee experience.
"At Lenovo, we feel passionately that technology is a key contributor to that employee experience. People don't just use technology today--they have a relationship with it, it has become a central part of their work experience."