5 tips for creating a positive workplace culture

From incentivising employees to build healthy habits, through to creating flexibility, take a look at our new blog to see how you can develop a more positive workplace culture.

Yugi the Giraffe - 22 November 2021

Having a strong company culture is proven to boost productivity, decrease staff turnover and improve employee wellbeing. But what does it look like, and what are the steps to achieving it?

A company culture is made up of the shared values, beliefs and attitudes that you build your organisation on. Your culture will guide the way you treat your employees, and has a direct impact on employee retention and attracting top-performing employees – and is the result of several strategies working together.

The importance of a positive workplace

Creating a positive workplace culture can have a huge impact on wellbeing and mental health – 57% of organisations now treat mental health as their focus of wellbeing activity in the workplace, with employees who are happier at work showing improved overall health and increased productivity. Not only is creating a positive workplace culture important for employee wellbeing, decreasing stress and increasing staff retention rates, it’s also good for business performance.

Wellbeing has become a crucial factor in whether prospective employees want to work for a company, and this is especially true when you consider the millennial workforce – with 77% of millennials ranking physical and mental health as most important to them when asked what would help them to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

So how do you create a positive workplace culture and nurture your employee’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally? Here’re five places to start...

1. Incentivise and inspire people to build healthy habits

A healthy mind and a healthy body are linked. There is strong evidence that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of depression by 20-30% in adults. Just a 10-minute walk can increase mental alertness, energy and a positive mood.

Encouraging employees to make small lifestyle changes, with regularity – walking meetings, getting moving during work time, or giving them time to go to the gym – can have a significant impact on their overall wellbeing and result in measurable increases in productivity. As their employer, you can incentivise staff’s physical activity and give them opportunities to move within the working day instead of at the end of the day, when they’re too tired to move.

YuLife’s Group Life Insurance offers a different take on life insurance and focuses on the life, rather than the death, part of life insurance. The YuLife app uses the psychology of gamification and rewards to encourage exercise and wellness activities designed to improve employees' health, engagement and performance at work.

2. Protect the mental health of employees

According to research, around one sixth of workers experience a mental health problem at any one time. In addition, stress, anxiety and depression are thought to be responsible for nearly half of all working days lost due to sickness.

As with many health-related issues, prevention is better than cure for poor mental health. Investment in apps built to support wellbeing activities such as yoga or meditation – which can result in a better mood, and decreased anxiety – decrease an employee's likelihood of experiencing problems as a result of stress, or lack of sleep.

Another way to decrease stress and help with overall wellbeing is to build regular breaks into the working day to help employees stay alert. Studies have shown that this can help to maintain productivity throughout the day and reduce the need for an extended break at the end of the day.

YuLife’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – included as part of our Group Life Insurance – allows you to offer additional support in terms of employees’ health and wellbeing. A good EAP can help to reassure employees that there will be no negative repercussions if they’re honest about mental health problems, or worries. As part of your company culture, it displays your focus on their wellbeing, not only to help improve performance at work but to reduce stress within their personal lives.

3. Create a culture of recognition and praise

31% of employees surveyed said that better treatment from their employer, more praise, and a greater sense of being valued, would motivate them to do more. Many employees are not looking for financial gains when considering whether or not to stay in their job.

As part of a shift to a more positive workplace, praising employees on their achievements can have a positive effect on motivation and mental health. Peer-to-peer recognition can also have an impact, so make sure your employees are encouraged to praise each other’s successes and are given the time (inside and outside work) to get to know each other.

Employees want to know that their careers are moving forwards, so provide personal development activities and give them the tools they need to move internally and externally. You might not want to lose your top performers, so give them a chance to tell you what they want out of their role and how they want to progress – and then facilitate them in doing it. They might want to move internally but, if the position doesn’t become available, help them to develop so that they can go out and get that dream job! You never know, one day they might come back as a result of the support you have provided.

Providing this type of support will help to deepen trust between you and your employees and make them feel more valued.

4. Connect physical and hybrid workspaces

Aside from the mental health benefits you can provide, the workspace or office space environment you provide can also have an impact on your employees. In fact, good office design can boost employee productivity by 20%. You might also want to bear this in mind for those employees who are working remotely, either full-time or part-time.

How can you improve your office space for your employees to feel more connected or to work to their full potential? Some employees need a private space to complete work that needs concentration, and a chance to work for a few hours without being disturved. Provide them with private spaces for working and encourage everyone in your organisation to respect the space.

In other instances, you should provide collaborative spaces so that employees can choose where to work, and the space in which they feel the most productive.

How do you cater for hybrid working? Many employees are now adopting a hybrid approach to working, or they’re working completely remote. These employees will need a way to stay connected to prevent them from feeling lonely or isolated. Research shows that feelings of isolation can have an impact on productivity and wellbeing so introduce a way to help them stay connected throughout the week, regardless of where they choose to work.

5. Allow for flexibility

Occasionally, outside factors can get in the way of work life – this is natural and something that can’t be helped. Part of creating a more positive workplace is allowing employees to address and deal with these issues without suffering negative effects, such as cuts in pay or discipline, which can lead to further stress.

Work with your employees to find compromises that allow them to work around commitments that arise in their personal lives and still be able to work, regardless of the time of day, or the day of the week.

A flexible working policy can help you to attract more top talent: 88% of workers would consider a lower salary if flexible hours were provided. This is a huge percentage and is becoming a symbol of the modern workplace, as more and more companies look to make employee health and wellbeing a priority.

Get ahead of the curve in creating a positive workplace culture

Creating a positive company culture is a key factor in building trust with employees, reducing stress and improving productivity. This goes far beyond simply offering free gym memberships or other similar perks – whilst these may be great benefits, they are a minimum, and employees want to feel as though the company they work for cares about their health and wellbeing. This is shown by taking measures to meaningfully change your company culture for the better.

Wellbeing should be ingrained into your company culture – and will have a long-term impact in helping to retain staff, and attract the best talent in the future.

Click here to get a quote and learn more about YuLife’s Group Life Insurance.

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.