Top Ways to Create a Good Work Environment

If you have identified that your work environment may be bad this is the article for you. If you want more info about what a good work environment is click here to see my other article. Now you want to make changes but what changes? Every organization is different so this article will help you identify issues.

The top ways to create a good work environment are to create simple but direct policies, do employee reviews, do management reviews, do employee engagement surveys, create job descriptions, create pay grids, and do training. Each one of these will take research and time for you to implement but we will touch on these for the rest of this article.

Policies

Policies are a way to control employees. Keeping that in mind, people hate being controlled. Longer and more complicated policies amplify this negative aspect. Additionally, employees don’t read long and complicated policies or thick employee handbooks unless they need to. So, this defeats the point of policies trying to prevent negative organizational outcomes.

Only create a policy if you really need it. If you do create them, keep them very short and to the point. The best policy that has the highest rate of compliance by employees are the ones that the employees helped to create.

Employee Review Process

Employees need to be reviewed and given feedback more often. Feedback is vital to training, see below. Yearly is not enough, every six months is not enough, and quarterly may not be enough also. Monthly is the ideal time frame for employee reviews.

Keep employee reviews extremely short, a half-page with four or five questions is enough. Supervisors need to be able to fill it out for each employee in one to five minutes. The score for each review should be tracked to measure ongoing ratings.

To learn more about creating an easy employee review process read this article.

Management Review Process

Managers need feedback and need training based on this feedback more than employees do. The ideal timing for managers is monthly or quarterly. This is an anonymous process that takes a bit more time but protects the employees from retaliation. It must be anonymous to ensure the employees will be completely candid. 

This manager review must also be something the employees can fill out quickly. Make it only five to ten questions that can be answered with zero to four or yes and no. Conducted by owners or HR so the feedback can be given to managers individually.

Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys help an organization see major flaws in the systems, processes, and policies of that organization. This can be seen as the ultimate internal feedback about workings and inefficiencies. Again, this is anonymous, but all employees and managers will complete the survey.

Make the survey ten to fifteen questions long. Also, simple to answer by circling an answer. You want to do an engagement survey at least twice a year. You can change the questions each time to get feedback on different areas of the organization. Your results should become part of your organizational goals.

Job Descriptions

An employee or manager cannot do their job if they don’t know exactly what they are supposed to do. Job titles sometimes seem self-explanatory, but they only seem that way. Jobs with the same title can vary widely from organization to organization. Every single task an employee does should be listed in their job description. This is for understanding, efficiency, training, and legal reasons.

Create a job description each time you create a new position before your hire or transfer a person. Keep that job description updated weekly or monthly.

Pay Grids

Organizations that keep wages and salaries secret will become toxic. Employees have no laws preventing them from talking about what they get paid. Eventually, everyone will know what everyone makes. This will create animosity for people doing the same job that have drastically different pay.

Create a pay grid for each job type in the organization. Build-in cost-of-living increases and merit increases. Every employee in this job type should have a place on their pay grid. This is also helpful when an employee is requesting a pay increase when it is not the time or not deserved.

Training

I would say training is the most important item on this list! Employees can’t do their job well if they don’t get constant training. Some owners and managers assume short up-front training is all employees need but that is false. No one can perfectly remember every single detail about their job. It takes time to master tasks, especially tasks that are not done constantly.

Training also has the added effect of giving employees the skills to get promoted or move to the next level in their careers. The possibility of career advancement is important to morale and loyalty. 

Moving Forward

Implement these changes slowly and one at a time. Employees will not trust changes that are short-term, so an organization must stick with changes for multiple years to reap the benefits.

If you’re interested in continuing your learning I recommend the book “A Little Book About Workplace Culture” from Amazon. This is a great continuing path after you fix a few of the underlying issues above.

Pizza Party

Did you see Pizza Party on the list? No, that is because things like Pizza Parties are b*llsh*t! A Pizza Party is not going to reduce stress, pay for a child’s daycare, pay the rent, take care of a loved one, or put food on the table for a large family. A Pizza Party is a slap in the face of employees! A Pizza Party is a control mechanism, showing employees that they are only workers to be used. One-time cheap actions do not work.