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25 Mar 2021

The essential building blocks for a positive workplace culture

A positive workplace culture is one where employees feel connected to the organisation, its values and mission, and their colleagues. And although there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how exactly to build a positive workplace culture, to be successful, first and above all else, there must be psychological safety.


In brief, psychological safety means that employees feel safe to be themselves, feel safe to speak up, use their voice and feel as though they matter.

Harvard Business Review conducted research in 2015 on the qualities of a positive workplace culture and found that the following were essential:

  • caring for and being interested in our colleagues
  • treating colleagues with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity
  • providing support for one another, including kindness and compassion
  • forgive mistakes and avoid blame
  • inspiring one another at work
  • emphasising the meaningfulness of the work.

However, to achieve any of these things, psychological safety must exist. Below, we look at the essential building blocks for a positive, motivational workplace culture once psychological safety has been established.

Positive emotions in the workplace

When employees feel safe, connected to the organisation and their colleagues, and they believe that what they do at work matters, they are likely to experience positive emotions. An encouraging workplace promotes positive emotions and increases employee wellbeing.

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D., professor, author, and a leading scholar within social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology, identified the following as the 10 most common positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love.

In addition to helping us “feel good”, positive emotions affect all areas of our life, including our work satisfaction and connections at work. To learn more, don’t miss our post on 10 positive emotions that increase employee engagement.

A positive workplace culture also helps develop and improve people’s relationships. Read our blog: seven ways companies can help employees build workplace relationships.

Maintaining culture, remotely

A recent article published on Digiday shares how remote working has made it more difficult for organisations to promote and maintain company culture. The article points out that it’s harder to remind long-term workers what the organisation stands for and, at the same time, challenging to instil a company culture into the hearts and minds of new starters when working remotely.

“One has to redefine what the core elements of that culture encompasses when working remotely,” says Ylva Eriksson, marketing manager at Benify. “For instance, at Benify, we have the core value ‘Show Love’ as a part of our company culture. Our employees have had to define what that means in their professional life when working remotely.”

Organisations must find a way to reinforce their values and maintain company culture while working remotely. Therefore, be sure to create opportunities for employees to interact both professionally and socially.

Read some ideas on how to create social opportunities during a time when many employees and workforces are working from home, we recommend reading this post.

Resilience in the workplace

Another essential building block for a positive workplace culture is resilience. A positive workplace culture acts as a buffer against negative experiences, including stress, and instead helps develop resilience.

As shared in this REBA post, for individuals, resilience means the ability to 'bounce back' despite stress, adversity or trauma. For organisations, resilience means the ability to adapt and thrive amidst challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

To create resilient employees, employees must feel supported and know that help and support are available.

The importance of employee benefits

One of the best ways organisations can support their employees is by providing them with rewards and benefits that support their wellbeing. To build a positive workplace culture, it’s essential that the benefits are of use to employees.

Rewards and benefits should help support ‘the whole person’, and make their everyday a little bit easier. For example, you may wish to offer discounted home cleaning services or improve their remote working situation by subsidising the purchase or rental of home office equipment. Alternatively, you may wish to focus on wellbeing, by offering subsidised home gym equipment or mental health benefits, such as counselling.

Another key component is to offer benefits that reflect the organisation itself. For example, if you work for an organisation and one of its values is sustainability, to reflect and reinforce this value, you might offer your employees the flexibility to choose from a range of sustainable mobility benefits, such as a bicycle subsidy.

Need some inspiration or help on deciding what benefits to offer your employees? Don't miss this post to learn what unique benefits other companies are offering their employees worldwide.

This article is provided by Benify.

View the original article: Rewards and Benefits: How These Contribute to A Positive Workplace Culture.

In partnership with Benify

Benify offers the market's leading global benefits and total reward platform.

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