Top 10 things to make any work environment enjoyable

Employees want an awakened, dynamic spirit when they are at work.

They are tired of excuses and just want people to be real about how they feel and honest about what needs to be accomplished. Employees have no time for office politics and the corporate rat-race.

They want a workplace that is challenging, encourages trial and error and makes them feel that they matter. Nurse and protect your company culture as if your life (or business!) depended on it. Culture is key and, as you scale, this becomes harder to keep aligned, especially with multiple offices across multiple locations.

Keep the organisation alive by enabling a culture that embraces new perspectives and keeps people on their toes. Never allow your employees to get complacent. Help them expand their skillset. Make the workplace an environment where people are continuously growing and thinking creatively.

Don’t just be a provider, but an enabler of opportunities. Make it easier for people to contribute and feel more valued – yet demand enough from your employees that they are continually challenged and hungry for more.

Allow people to fail; encourage employees to test their ideas

Empower people to be entrepreneurial and test their ideas. Encourage your employees to be their best by discovering how they best fit within their team and throughout the organisation. Sometimes you might employ someone for a particular role and, whilst it may not work out, they could be a fit elsewhere in the organisation and excel in a different area. A good attitude and work ethic is hard to find, don’t lose these people!

Don’t always feel like you need to be in charge. Good leadership is all about delegating and allowing others to establish themselves without being dependent entirely on you. You know those helicopter parents that hover over their children constantly and never give them time to breathe? You don’t want to be the workplace equivalent of that. Your instinct may be to micromanage and make sure everything is running exactly as you want it, but that will only create a negative environment for everyone else in the office. If you do find yourself having to micromanage a staff member, then maybe they are not the right fit for your business! Step back and let your employees do their jobs. You have to trust that they will do a good job—after all, you hired them for a reason. While you should be periodically checking in with them, you don’t want to be overbearing about it.

Build teams that last, allow them to be tomorrow’s leaders

Great teams require great leadership. Today’s workplace must remove silos and operate without boundaries – putting a premium on collaborative thinking and holding each member of the team responsible to contribute. The days of depending upon one or two superstars are over.  

Leaders need to influence but not control the dialogue. In the 21st century workplace, their responsibility is to find interconnection points that exist between each cluster in order to guide and direct focus.

They must measure effectiveness by how well each member is contributing to the overall impact, dialogue, thinking and outcomes of the group. It should be merit-driven and in fact, your business should wholly be a meritocracy. In a fast-changing marketplace, engaging employees and discovering their passions is best achieved when people feel valued and empowered to think, act and innovate in ways that come most naturally to them. The passionate worker is always looking to provide and create impact through long-term sustainable growth. Great leaders are the ones that allow their employees to discover their strengths.

Awaken the organisation, keep people on their toes

Keep the organisation alive by enabling a culture that embraces new perspectives and keeps people on their toes. Never allow your employees to get complacent. Help them expand their skill set. Make the workplace an environment where people are continuously growing and thinking creatively.

Don’t just be a provider, but an enabler of opportunities. Make it easier for people to contribute and feel more valued – yet demand enough from your employees that they are continually challenged and hungry for more.

Set clear goals

One of the most common issues plaguing workplace cultures today is a lack of overall direction. This has multiple negative effects on employees, from a decrease in motivation to low job satisfaction.

As a leader, you’re responsible for establishing a series of clear goals to achieve. These should guide your decisions and, by extension, your employees. When employees are united in working toward clear, common objectives, your team becomes a cohesive unit rather than a number of vaguely related coworkers. The ensuing camaraderie will encourage and motivate everyone, and the overall atmosphere will dramatically benefit.

Introduce a mentorship scheme.

This is a proven way of supporting peoples’ professional, career and personal development.  By expanding specific skills and knowledge you will enhance the mentee’s career and personal growth. This can also include peer mentoring, where participants are at the same level of seniority but have differing experience. This helps both the mentee and the mentor as it strengthens interpersonal relationship skills and encourages the sharing of knowledge.

Keep an ‘open door’ to allow employees to bounce ideas off of you. Encourage your team members, especially the more quiet employees, by asking for input directly—that will help cement the fact that everyone’s opinion is important.

Be a great communicator; transparency is vital

Never stop communicating your vision, goals and objectives.  Be a great communicator who uses all available methods to define your expectations and set the tone for your department or organisation. A lack of transparency runs the risk of losing trust from others, both with staff and with your customers. When leaders share ideas and updates with their employees, open communication becomes second nature, and everyone feels equally invested in the organisation ’s overall goals.

The workplace is becoming more fragile and employees want to know what they are ultimately being held accountable for and what they can or cannot do.  Stop being so structured about how you communicate. Be human and be approachable. When you make a mistake, let everyone know! This creates the right sort of top-down mentality which makes it ok for them to admit when they mess up – helping put a stop to ‘throwing people under the Bus’ culture. You also learn quickly which employees want to be part of the solution – and which ones put up roadblocks. The Leaders versus the Loafers!

Don’t Hide Behind the Title; Be The Real You

Effective leadership is more than just the influence a “job title” gives you. The real impact of leadership is when you can reveal the person that is behind the title. People are more curious now than ever before and they want to know who their boss is as a person.

People want leaders they can relate to and respect as people. Be real in who you are and what you represent as an individual. Reflect your true intentions as a leader and don’t hide behind a title – this limits your ability to build relationships with employees. People want leaders who are humble enough to be approachable, yet whose executive presence is impactful and dynamic enough that they never cross the line of respect. People will naturally gravitate towards you if you allow your likeability and approachability to flourish.

Keep it Simple

Some leaders purposely make things more difficult for others in order to make themselves appear smarter and more capable. Often times they seek relevancy when they begin to feel more vulnerable. Have you had a boss or known anyone else like this?

Perhaps, we are beginning to understand why a lot of leaders need a ‘reboot’. They need to simplify their approach and make it more fun and engaging for employees because this will increase their productivity and engagement.

The simpler you make things, the more believable and trustworthy people will find you. Establish standards and best practices that everyone can enjoy, learn from and improve on along the way. If you step back, you will see that simplicity is becoming the new normal. The workplace and the world are changing fast and it’s important to embrace the basics that serve as the foundation for how we think, act and innovate new products, services and the technological advancements that support them.

Make employees feel that they can relate to you and encourage their voices to be heard. Don’t intimidate, make the journey simple and fun and watch them flourish.

Introduce FUN

This sounds like a simple and obvious solution, but you’ll be surprised by how challenging it can be to keep fun a priority. In this case, practice makes perfect.

Make it a habit to evaluate morale in your workplace; if it’s suffering, a break for fun can lift spirits and boost success. At regular times during the day, staff play a few rounds of table tennis at Invotra. We regularly hold ‘Office Jollies’ which usually take the form of offsite BBQs and, once a year, we head off to a secret location for our annual staff party. The last few years have seen us travel to Paris, Berlin and Cannes. Give your team a chance to enjoy themselves; it’ll undoubtedly create a friendlier, happier, and all-around healthier environment for everyone.

BONUS POINT – Encourage competitiveness!

Once you succeed in building a team of entrepreneurs, use a healthy level of competition to your advantage. Don’t fall into the trap of pitting employees against each other; instead, consider this an opportunity to recognise the work your team members do. It’s well known that incentives, rewards, and recognition increase employee satisfaction, but, adding an aspect of public acknowledgement allows you to include your whole team in celebrations of successes.

As an added bonus, this improves workplace culture overall, fostering an environment that recognises and aspires to key business values. We use our intranet, affectionately named “42”, to regularly @mention people, call out successes and recognise hard work. We also use our regular Monday all-company staff meeting to call out those going above and beyond.

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