16 Ways Businesses Can Construct and Maintain a Positive Work Culture

A business's culture directly influences relationships within the workplace.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Newsweek Expert Forum

The work culture of a business has a direct impact on the ability of the organization to last long term. Besides the benefits on the business side, a positive work environment enhances the relationship between leaders and current and prospective employees, leading to increased retention and employee loyalty.

However, the challenge comes with building and preserving this kind of company culture. To help, a panel of Newsweek Expert Forum members shared their recommendations for how business leaders can build and maintain a positive work culture.

1. Communicate Company Values

The core component to building and maintaining a positive work culture is the communication of shared values. This starts with the hiring process. Make sure candidates share the values your company espouses before bringing them into the fold by first asking principle questions. A shared sense of purpose goes a long way toward increasing employee fulfillment, productivity and work quality. - Anthem Blanchard, HeraSoft

2. Commit to the Well-Being and Happiness of Employees

A positive work culture is most easily built when company leaders are genuinely committed to the well-being and happiness of employees—and are as dedicated to employees as profits. When executives are sincerely grateful for the team that's collectively realizing the company's vision, it's felt throughout the company, organically leading to programs, benefits, events and rewards that demonstrate this. - April Margulies, Trust Relations

3. Create a Safe, Sensitive and Rewarding Environment

Employees feel positive in an environment that is safe, sensitive and rewarding. Ensure safety through protocols like OSHA and make sure employees are able to communicate openly and respectfully. Display sensitivity through DEI initiatives, mental health awareness and by responding quickly to issues. Reward employees with recognition—financially and through promotions. Rewards should be broken into smaller time periods to avoid job burnout. - Vipp Jaswal, VM Inc

4. Have the Board and the C-Suite in Agreement

The key is the board and C-suite reaching consensus because, without this support, few if any diverse changes will occur and survive. When executing a strategy, empower people who find what needs to be changed and can make those changes. This sometimes requires out-of-the-box resolutions, such as implementing career paths for your diverse employees to move into higher management roles. - Erika Lance, KnowBe4, Inc.

5. Ensure Everyone is Accountable

A positive work culture is led and supported by leadership engaging everyone in agreement and accountability. This requires asking the right culture questions, listening deeply and creating accountability and credibility as a team. Then support the agreement through the development of communication skills. Take real action when the mark is missed. Otherwise, it doesn't work! - Karen Valencic, Spiral Impact

6. Establish Clear Policies and Procedures

Organizations build and maintain positive work cultures by establishing clear and concise policies and procedures in every capacity, from behavior to how the company operates. Having a thorough onboarding process for new team members that states and clarifies the organization's values and what is and is not expected of them will set every member of the organization up for success. - Matt Drayton, Drayton Communications LLC

7. Be Honest and Straightforward

Many team members are becoming frustrated when their leadership isn't completely honest about changes in the business or opportunities that were promised but now cannot be executed due to business changes. Leaders will often try to spin the reality of what is shifting instead of treating team members like intelligent adults with the truth. - Dorethia Kelly, #MoneyChat | Work • Space • Spark

8. Make All Voices Heard

You can build and maintain a positive work culture by ensuring that all team members have a chance to be heard when conflict arises. Many times organizations try to avoid conflict resolution, which leads to issues festering rather than getting resolved. When employees know that there is a way to mediate issues, they are more comfortable bringing those issues to the leader and working toward a resolution. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

9. Consistently Show Empathy

As a leader, you have a direct impact on how your employees feel about working at your company. Ask them how you can help when they struggle with a task or difficult stakeholder. Show that you care by keeping your one-on-one meetings, even when you're busy. Find opportunities to genuinely acknowledge and celebrate their wins. Ask how their weekend was and really listen. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

10. Implement a Listening Mindset

Build a listening mindset by seeking feedback at every stage of the employee journey. Use anonymous surveys to ensure employees convey their opinions freely. Build fair and transparent work policies. Ensure every department is clear about the greater organizational goal and how they contribute to it. Promote interdepartmental communication to break silos and set the right incentives. - Sumit Aneja, Voxco Survey Software

11. Facilitate Employee Feedback

It starts with making sure everyone feels heard and supported. Implementing moments within every process to check in with each other—whether it's an employee, client or partner—is critical to capturing what's working and where there are opportunities to improve. - Jacob Kupietzky, HCT Executive Interim Management & Consulting

12. Set High Standards for Excellence

Set an expectation for excellence to create a culture of excellence. Talent will be attracted to organizations with high standards for performance and great reputations to match. In a culture of excellence, where industry records are broken and company milestones are surpassed, every employee feels ownership in the part they played toward achieving the collective win. - Austin Woodward, Taxbit

13. Leverage the Role of the Leaders

Business leaders are the key to building a positive work culture because they are the ones who set the standards of how the business operates. They serve as the role models of the company, so it is up to them to help each employee truly enjoy their job and find the role that makes them excited to come to work each day. - Noah Mitsuhashi, noahmitsuhashi.io

14. Construct Ways For Employees to Connect and Collaborate

In the age of remote employees and Zoom calls, the dynamic of work culture has changed. It's critical that you allow freedom for employees to work and connect with other employees. We encourage employees to set up one- to two-hour workrooms via Zoom so multiple people can work on projects at the same time. This allows them to collaborate and also ask peers questions while working. - Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

15. Give Back to the Community

Give back in some way and do something for others. Companies that offer employees the opportunity to support an initiative that gives back to the wider community in some tangible way will go a long way to developing a positive work culture. We all want to help those in need, so be a business that facilitates it. - Kevin Vallely, The AIP Group

16. Enable Employees to Want to Do Their Job Well

It's simply about enabling every employee to be able to do their job, want to do their job and believe in the job they are doing. It's about giving everyone a firm foundation of task delivery skills. With leaders inspiring them to give their best and the C-suite setting out a compelling purpose and leading by example, this will create a "we, not me" ethos that focuses everyone's best onto what delivers success. - Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
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