We’ve all heard of (and been a little jealous of) the companies with famously happy employees. Tech giants like Google and Microsoft always top the lists, as well as big brands like Costco and Southwest Airlines. But what do these companies have in common? To some extent, the positive work environment that helps these organizations thrive is the result of good leadership. But there’s also something to be said about the attitude employees themselves bring to the workplace.
Whether you’re considering your company culture as you hire your next new face, or you’re looking for a job with your dream company, considering the environment you work in is key. Here are the most important characteristics to keep an eye out for when you’re searching for a positive work environment.
1. Good Communication
In a positive work environment, employees should always feel that they have easy access to the information they need. Most importantly, employees should feel that they understand the values, overall strategies, and mission of the company. This information should come to them often, and they in turn should feel comfortable sharing their own views or even voicing disagreement where appropriate.
2. Work-Life Balance
The best companies understand that workers run on finite batteries. Everyone needs time to themselves to refresh their minds, including time to enjoy their own pursuits or to relax with friends and family. At a company with a positive work environment, employees are never asked to sacrifice this time for the good of the company.
3. Room for Growth
On a personal level, employees tend to have more stake in companies that actively help them grow. When organizations put plans in place to develop an employee’s strengths and skills, they encourage learning and enhance each person’s value. At the same time, investing in employees is a great way to win their loyalty in the long-term.
4. Encouragement and Recognition
No one wants to work if they feel their efforts aren’t valued. Positive reinforcement is well known as a strong motivator, but it really is key to success here: rewarding employees who deserve it goes a long way to increasing morale, and it also shows that their time and effort is truly appreciated. From casual shout-outs in company meetings to formal awards or certificates, a little recognition goes a long way.
5. Team Atmosphere
Last, but not least: humans are social creatures, and we thrive when we’re in a group. We perform at our best when we know we’re working toward something larger than ourselves, and when we’re collaborating with others to do so. The best companies take advantage of this by cultivating a team atmosphere, creating opportunities for bonding, celebrating all employees, and encouraging employees to work and learn together.
From the outside looking in, it might be hard to identify a positive working environment—but like most things in life, you’ll know it once you’re in it. Finding the right company culture can be difficult, but these five characteristics make it well worth the long-term benefits. If you’re looking for more info on finding the right environment, check out our tips in other posts and podcasts!