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Building a Thriving Work Culture (Part 2)

Jessica Gardner 0

Have a positive effect on an organization from the top down by building a thriving work culture

In the previous article, I discussed building a thriving work culture by focusing on how to build a good team. Having a good team dynamic is crucial in work getting done efficiently and on time. Members of a team bring a unique perspective to solving problems. Teamwork though is not the only piece in making an organization work effectively. In this article, I will talk about how management affects work culture.

Building a good work environment is important for the organization to achieve its goals. Companies have missions. They have a purpose for the products they make. It is their job to deliver that mission to the hearts of the employees. It is then in the employee’s hands to use their skills to make that vision come to life. As requirements come, management passes them down to the employees to work. They assign work to whoever is capable of doing that particular task, but how do the employees feel. They end up doing the actual work to build or support the product. Work culture thinks about the little people

Think About the Little People

Everyone in an organization works hard to deliver the expectations that are handed down from project management. They work hard to meet the weekly or bi-weekly deadlines, but a good work culture doesn’t just focus on what work is complete. What about the people under the employee title? Do they feel appreciated, like their work matters or even heard? Believe it or not, employees who care about the mission are in-tune with the decisions made. They may have concerns about choices made on a particular requirement and may have a better recommendation. If an employee makes a suggestion, especially if it is within their professional skill set, but their advice is not taken, it may make them reluctant to speak up again in the future.

When it comes to employee appreciation a simple “Good Job” is all that is needed sometimes. Sometimes employees can be treated like all they are good for is working. These people give up the best parts of their day to give their knowledge and talents to the company. The least we can do is say they did a good job or that was a great idea.

Giving recognition when an employee has achieved or accomplished something makes the person feel like their contributions matter. This makes that person more of a team player. I worked at a company where I re-designed the entire web application and management got all the credit for it. Now this is a stretch, but I’m going to throw this out there anyway. A bonus goes a long way in the appreciation department. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, just something where the company can recognize the contributions of an employee.

What Type of Manager Are You?

Is your boss more like a mentor or a dictator? An effective manager is a person who has the heart of a teacher. He has the door open demonstrating an open ear. If the manager’s door is closed it makes employees feel like he’s busy and should not be interrupted. A good manager doesn’t just bark orders at employees, he finds the right person to do the job. He gives employees the right amount of challenge to make them grow as a person and in their profession. Good managers don’t yell at their employees, they set firm guidelines to meet and ask how they can help if an employee is struggling. The way managers treat the employees that work for them will make the difference of whether the employees have his back.

Have One on Ones

One way to be an effective manager is to have One on Ones with your employees. It’s not that easy to know what a person is struggling with or how they are doing on an assignment unless you talk to them. This is where the employee feels like they have your ear even if it is just for a few minutes. They can talk about how they feel about a decision that was made or how overwhelmed they feel with the amount of workload they have. This fosters a close team dynamic and closes the gap of miscommunication.

Be Open with Project Status

Ever felt like you have been left in the dark? It’s not such a good feeling when everyone else knew about something and you just found out after the fact. It makes for good work culture when everything is transparent and out in the open. What is the status of this upcoming project? Did we win the work? Is our current work out in production yet? Were there any problems with the deployment? These are all things that can be discussed with the team. Have a group team meeting where you can discuss the status of current and possible future products. It helps keep employees mind on the entire company as a whole instead of their one task they are assigned.

Have a Daily Scrum

What is Scrum? Scrum is an agile framework for managing knowledge work. Each morning before work gets started, have all the team members and the manager stand in a circle. Then each person takes turns telling what they did yesterday, what they are going to do today and if they have any roadblocks (challenges in getting the work done whether requirements need to be gathered and haven’t been or their work is blocked by someone else).

Scrum is a good way for other employees to keep up with what each person is working on. If one employee needs help the team as a whole hears the problem and can step up if they have the skills to be of assistance. This is also a chance to bond as a team. Sometimes funny things are said and you just can’t help but laugh. Scrum also helps project management know the status of features as they are being implemented. They are then able to ask questions if the employee wasn’t clear or needed more information on a requirement. It may be difficult to make it a daily habit, but it is important to keep doing it every day as it keeps communication lines open.

In closing, building work culture is more than just having good teams. It’s about having a good work environment where people feel heard and respected. Where people are appreciated for their hard work and dedication. They feel like their knowledge and skills are respected. Not only is the employee important, but management as well. All these entities play a big role in keeping the culture as a whole peaceful and focused on the end goals of the organization.

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