How to Build a Positive Corporate Culture
Veronique James, Founder and CEO, The James Agency shares eight tips to build a positive corporate work environment.
No matter your industry or profession, in today’s fast-paced business age, you undoubtedly spend most of your waking hours at work–at least from Monday through Friday. Some weeks, your office could easily be mistaken for your primary residence, and you likely spend more time with your colleagues than with your own family.
As a mother and wife myself, I understand how difficult this reality can sometimes be. That’s why, as a business owner and leader, I strive to create a workplace culture that nurtures and inspires my team (and myself).
Follow these eight tips to build a positive corporate work environment that you and your team can be proud of:
- Environment + Energy = Success
If you’re like me and work in marketing, math equations may not be your forte, but commit this one to memory. The right office environment, the right people, and the right clients are the key formulas to a successful business practice.
An office environment is more than just the type of chairs and paint color on the walls–although those play a role. The environment also includes the tone, feel, and intangibles your office exudes.
The personalities within need to mesh with that vibe. Staff and clients need to have some harmony so there is synergistic energy when working together. Aim for a balanced equation. A company is like a stool: all three legs need to remain intact for the stool to serve its purpose. If you’re missing out on the right office environment, it’s difficult to attract and retain the right people and clients. Without the right people, the client mix will suffer. You get the gist: if one of the three areas is missing, the stool is lop-sided.
- Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
Working with a team is a privilege, not a right. That is one thing we are very passionate about at The James Agency. We begin our Monday Morning Hustles, our version of an all-hands Monday morning meeting, with a “team kudos” that quickly turns into a 20-minute pat on the back about the extraordinary accomplishments we as a team have made in the week prior. Starting our Monday Morning Hustles out with gratitude helps employees feel valued and appreciated and often inspires them to keep reaching higher.
- Create a safe environment
Corporate culture has the reputation of being toxic–a quality that is exponentially draining to a company and professional workplace. Ensuring employees have a safe environment with positive and respectful personalities is key to a positive corporate culture. Leaders should be encouraged to speak with honesty, integrity, and vulnerability by being completely transparent with their employees.
- Don’t leave your dishes in the sink
To me, time is the most valuable currency. An essential ingredient to a positive work environment is having respect for others' time. Suppose someone has to duplicate our efforts and take time to recreate a document, hunt for a missing file, or submit something that we forgot to do at the end of the day. In that case, we’re being disrespectful of their time and creating a negative corporate environment. Don’t leave a mess for someone else to clean up.
- There are only opportunities in business, not problems
Many situations in the business world can, at first glance, seem high-stress and emotional. At The James Agency, we try to find humor in certain situations and lighten the mood as often as possible. No matter the problem, we can always look at it as a positive because we get the chance to reflect on the opportunity and assess how we can do better next time. With our post-mortem analysis meetings, the team will discuss how an engagement with a certain client went and how we can improve and approach new client engagements. This gives us the chance to evaluate our performance and really hold ourselves accountable to make sure we are putting 110% into our practices.
- Consistency is vital
Everyone is jumping on the new trends of creating a positive workplace or culture–and that’s great! But try not to get caught up in what might seem like the best possible workplace habits or replicate what your biggest competitor is doing.
I’ve found that the same tactics don’t work for every company. For specific industries, one practice could be detrimental to the workplace, whereas others could be beneficial.
Consistency is the key for our organization and we try not to be influenced by the newest professional culture craze. Although change can be healthy, disrupting a good thing can affect the cultural balance of your organization.
- Encourage positive thinking
Life is short and many companies don’t realize that. Why waste time on negative behaviors that don’t align with your business’ moral compass?
I proactively encourage my team to think positively–all. the. time. Positive thinking always eventually yields positive outcomes.
We like to set yearly, monthly and weekly intentions as a group so we can align our team to the best of our ability and ensure everyone is facing the same North Star.
- Don’t sacrifice the important for the urgent
Urgent client calls and meetings come through a lot, and I mean a lot. It’s easy to put your team on the back burner to make the client happy, but this is a detrimental practice for your company.
The connections with your team are crucial for maintaining a positive workplace environment. As the executive, president, leader, or boss, whatever your title may be, you are a cheerleader for your company and the glue that holds everyone together. Without connecting with your people, mission, vision, and energy, your business can easily get lost in translation and affect your cultural fiber. It’s okay to reschedule; just don't let those conversations get replaced with urgent demands and deadlines.
Dependability, structure, clarity, and meaningful work are all ingredients that, when combined, can create a solid foundation for a positive workplace. Add your own awesome sauce and voila! You have the magic recipe.
About the Author
Veronique James launched TJA from her living room in 2005 because she knew she could offer a more sincere agency model than what was available in the industry. What began as a one-woman show has become an award-winning integrated agency that starts with insights and follows up with a healthy dose of humanity.
To learn more about The James Agency and the TJA way, visit www.thejamesagency.com or follow @thejamesagency on all social media platforms.