How to Create a Positive Work Environment

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How to create a positive work environment

Positive versus Negative WorkplacesWe have all worked in places where we grew to dread getting up in the morning, and a few of us have had the pleasure of working for a boss who makes us feel like we can do anything. Lets take a look at the differences between a positive and a negative work environment.

Signs of a Negative Work Environment The boss is unfriendly.

The boss is critical.

There is high employee turnover.

There is low employee morale.

People watch the clock.

People dont get much performance feedback.

Signs of a Positive Work Environment The boss demonstrates interest in the employees.

The boss has an encouraging attitude.

Employees like working there.

There is evidence of company pride and loyalty.

People know where they stand with their supervisors.

Thousands of books have been written on the subject of managing and motivating people, and as many training seminars are conducted on this subject around the world every day. And yet its interesting that even with all of this available information, few companies succeed at creating a positive work environment. Lets see whats involved.

Four Key SkillsCreating a positive work environment is based on four key skills. They are:

1. Telling people what you expect of them.

2. Showing interest in your team members.

3. Creating an encouraging environment.

4. Recognizing and rewarding good performance.

Skill #1: State Your ExpectationsTelling people what you expect of them means doing the following:

Communicating expectations clearly

Having a specific job description

Identifying specific performance standards

Specifying deadlines

Setting goals

Skill #2: Show Interest in Your TeamWhat behaviors convey that someone is interested in you?

Making eye contact

Calling you by name

Asking your opinion

Smiling

Complimenting your work

Taking your suggestions

These behaviors convey a lack of interest:

Ignoring you

Not knowing your name or not using it

Not asking your opinion

Ignoring your suggestions

Not commenting on your work

Following your suggestion, but only when heard from someone else

Such signsdiscourageproductivity because they make people feel discouraged, angry, less confident, and stripped of self-esteem.

Skill #3: Create an Encouraging EnvironmentMost people would agree that an encouraging work environment is one where:

Their ideas are valued.

Creativity is encouraged.

Risks are encouraged.

Fun and laughter are valued.

New ideas are rewarded.

They feel appreciated.

People thank you for your contributions.

Flexibility is valued.

They feel like part of the team.

Creating such an environment results in the following benefits to employees. They:

Contribute more ideas.

Feel more committed.

Look forward to coming to work.

Are more productive.

Have increased self-esteem.

Creating such an environment results in the following benefits to managers and business owners:

Less turnover

Less sabotage

Greater loyalty

Easier to find employees due to good reputation

Higher productivity

Skill #4: Recognize and Reward Good PerformanceA reinforcer is anything that happens, after a behavior, that tends to increase the chances that the behavior will be repeated. Included are such things as:

Compliments

Smiles

Thumbs-up gesture

Saying "Thank you"

Public announcement of your achievement

Positive letter in your personnel file

Promotion

Time off

Special parking space

First choice on schedule

Tickets to an event

Extra employee discount

Picture on the bulletin board

Applause at a meeting

Recognition Guidelines1. Describe the results you are recognizing.Be specific. Its important to make certain the employee knows what behavior or accomplishment you are referring to.

2. State your personal appreciation. Say, "I appreciate it." Adding your personal appreciation makes the compliment feel more genuine.

3. Encourage the person to continue producing such good work. This increases the chances that the person will repeat the desirable behavior.

The Ideal Work Environment

Melvin Richardson,Yahoo Contributor NetworkOct 22, 2008

MORE: Getting PromotedFlag

HYPERLINK "http://voices.yahoo.com/the-ideal-work-environment-1997488.html" \l "new_comment_area" \o "Post a comment" Post a commentI've often thought about what it would be like to work at the ideal workplace and quite frankly I'm not sure such a place exists. All too often we work at places that just don't live up to our expectations and you eventually succumb to the politics and/or mediocrity. What are some of the key components that would make up the ideal workplace? Well let's take a look at some of the categories, in my opinion at least.

CommunicationI believe a workplace should have effective communication across the board. There has to be a free flow of information that encompasses every department and everyone within from the mailroom clerk to the CEO. If you work there then you should know what's going on. This would eliminate, the, "didn't you get the memo," syndrome. There's nothing worse than a situation where everyone within an organization does not receive important information. Don't you think that is unacceptable? In order for an organization to operate like a well oiled chain everyone needs to be on the same page and that entails everyone getting the same information. People feel valued when they are included. Now I know there are situations where information cannot be given out but as much as people need to be included.

TrustI've seen situations where individuals worked in the same area in the same department and they don't trust each other. It's no wonder productivity suffers so much; everyone is looking out for themselves because they don't really believe their coworkers are looking out for their best interest. Somehow the feeling is that an associate is somewhere trying to bring them down with a negative comment. The ideal place needs a environment that fosters trust and loyalty to the company and to each other. What if everyone consistently encouraged and motivated each other as well as share their best demonstrated practices with the team. Do away with so many closed door meetings. I once had a boss that was in a closed door session on the phone every half hour it seemed. Needless to say to one working for her trusted her. Whatever was said she did not bother to share it.

Grow and DevelopThe ideal place to work should be a place that gives everyone an opportunity to grow and develop with training and education. There should be a motivational library on site with nothing but books, CD's, tapes, DVD's, magazines and other resource material designed to take employees to the next level. Seminars should be a major part of the ideal work place whether they be onsite or off. The ideal work place should have an abundance of opportunities for promotion with new opportunities always coming about because of rapid expansion and growth. A people development program should be put into place that encompasses a part of all of the aforementioned information.

Employee Well-BeingYou need profits for an organization to grow, flourish, and develop, but when you put profits above the needs and concerns of your people then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Imagine telling your people to give excellent customer service when the employees are being less than human. People need to be treated with respect and dignity and they need to know that they matter and that someone is actually concerned about their well-being.

There are organizations that just grind the life out of people all for the sake of results. An organization like that doesn't even have a sense of who their employees are. They don't really take the time to get to know their employees or anything about their personal habits, interests, or who their spouses are, or if they have kids.

It's always back to the grind stone we have to get those numbers. The ideal work place should have a meeting lasting 5 or 10 minutes prior to the start of the day where everyone gets an update and included in the meeting should be some time discussing personal things. What did you do this weekend?

HonestyOrganizations should be honest and up front. If an employee has an employee that is looking to get promoted but they have no intention of promoting him/her then they should tell that person. Even prior to that should let that person know what his short comings are, and then there should be a plan of action put into place that allows that employee to bridge that gap. It should be a realistic legitimate program that's well thought out with the input of the employee and not something thrown together so they can say they covered all bases; actually they are trying to cover something else.

TeamworkWouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate the phrase that's not by job. Certainly there will be situations when this does not apply but if it's something within the realm of your capabilities and you are not taxed unreasonably in terms of effort and time needed to get the job done, then by all means do it.

People should view the entire organization as a team and not just your own department or your immediate co-workers. Everyone should actively look out for the organization by recognizing the fact that everyone needs to work together to fulfill the mission of the organization. Everyone needs to understand the big picture and what the organization is trying to achieve. There should be more of "we" and less of "me" and "I'.

President - Open door policyWouldn't it be nice if there was open door policy which enabled you to speak directly to the President/CEO and be able to voice your opinion and someone actually listened.

Results and RecognitionWouldn't you love to work for a place that recognized you for your results? There is nothing worse than someone getting promoted because of longevity or nepotism. The average person wants to be acknowledged for their contributions and achievements.

AttitudeAttitude is so important. I would love to work for an organization where everyone is motivated, excited and encouraging one another. All it takes is one person with a bad attitude and it can spread like wild fire. The minute someone makes a bad comment the issue should be addressed. Of course there will be times when people voice their opinion but it should be done in a caring constructive manner and then come with a plan that will resolve that issue. All the bad apples should be driven out but only after you have done everything possible to resolve that matter.

FamilyThe ideal work place should establish an environment that really treats employees like family. Of course there will be disagreements and misunderstandings but eventually these things can be worked out if we try to see the other person's perspective and truly have a desire to resolve the issue. It all goes back to caring, listening, respect and gaining an appreciation for the contributions and efforts of others.

Challenging and Purposeful WorkI don't think anyone really loves the mundane and the ordinary. People want variety and surprises. I believe everyone wants to contribute in a way that challenges them and gets them to tap into that creative genius on the inside. Wouldn't it be nice to function within a position that you felt you were born to do. What if that work were meaningful and full of excitement?

FunIf you must spend eight plus hours a day at work then it should be fun. The interaction with your associates should be fun. There should be some element of fun interwoven throughout the day. Their should be contests, games, social activities, for employees. I remember two years straight I organized the corporate challenge for our organization. This is an event where companies compete against other companies that are similar in size. The events were all sporting events and everyone had a great time it also got people involved and gave people a chance to get to know other people that did not normally associate with. That was fun.

Creative IdeasIt would be great if employees were encouraged to bring forth their creative ideas. People feel valued and like they are making a contribution when this happens especially if someone actually listens and puts those ideas to work. Now you create a situation where employees will want to give you their absolute best.

GoalsHow about an organization that actually allows employees to participate in the goal setting process. Of course there are sales forecasts that need to be put together and there are commitments to shareholders and investors but when you let employees get involved they tend to take ownership of those goals and they become more committed and passionate about hitting those targets. The goal no longer seems unreasonable or out of reach because everyone played a part in the goal setting process.

Customer ServiceEveryone should understand that the customer is the life blood of an organization and anything less than world class customer service is unacceptable.

Committed To Be The BestWhat if everyone was not only committed to being the best that they can be but also committed to making everyone else the best that they can be? When this happens the company steps into a state of excellence because everyone is striving for the same end result. When your entire organization is looking for ways to do things better faster, as well as more efficiently and effectively then the goal of being the best become a reality. The ideal workplace would have everyone acting as though they were the owners with a passion for developing others to be their best, saving the company money, saving the company time, and increasing market share. Wow that would be the ideal place to work.

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