How to give your employees what they need and want in a workplace culture

Benefiting You

How to give your employees what they need and want in a workplace culture

Look around. It’s no secret a great workplace culture is linked to business success. With nearly 87% of the workforce disengaged, a healthy workplace culture is more important than ever.

At Unum, a great culture is more than a value or goal: It’s a part of who we are as a business. That’s why our company was named a great workplace by the Great Place to Work Institute, an independent authority on high-performance work cultures.

Here are six things we found employees look for in a workplace culture. If they’re not already a part of your work environment, consider asking your employer to add them. And if you’re in a human resources or leadership role, consider how you can help your company make them happen.

1. Be flexible.

Balancing responsibilities between home life and work can be stressful. Now one of the most valued workplace perks, a flexible working environment allows employees to take time out of the office when they need it most. If not already a part of your culture, ask your employer about offering remote working options.

2. Give back.
Many companies and employees offer monetary donations to nonprofits and causes. But money is just the beginning. Employees want to get involved, and see their company involved, too. Ask your company to consider allowing employees to volunteer with organizations on company time. An established community relations team can provide guidelines and foster engagement.

3. Encourage challenges and responsibility.
Nothing is more rewarding than the satisfaction that comes with owning a project. Either as an individual or as a team, encourage an atmosphere for taking smart risks. Provide room for new ideas — and yes, making mistakes. When employees are encouraged to innovate and grow, companies can tap in to their potential and benefit from their diverse and fresh perspectives.

4. Diversity: not just a buzzword.
Cultivate a culture that attracts the best, no matter the personal background. Rally support from senior leaders, suggest sponsoring a parade or event, examine your hiring practices, and empower employees to seek community and learn about people that may be different from them. Most importantly, listen for needs and possible gaps, and be sure you’re promoting an inclusive environment.

5. Provide a modern atmosphere.
The way an office looks and feels says a lot about the way your company values its employees. What do employees need? Is the tech out of date? The furniture or walls needing repair? Often, investing in the environment is good for employees and contributes to productivity. Whether it’s updated office equipment or starting an office garden, employees will feel valued by the investment.

6. Don’t just say you care — show it.
To establish a supportive work environment, go beyond rewarding employees for a job well done. Whether you’re a co-worker or a manager, show you care in everyday moments. Encourage an environment of trust and transparency. If an employee’s need is beyond your control, point to resources that will help.

Take time to examine the overall culture in your workplace. Employees will appreciate the company’s efforts to meet their needs while simultaneously supporting the company’s brand and reputation as an employer.

Looking for more ways to improve workplace culture? Here are some resources to help:
How to improve your workplace culture
10 tried-and-true workplace strategies that improve company culture
How to create a workplace culture that organically feeds your candidate pipeline

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