It’s a fact of life: Staying happy and engaged at work over the long haul can be a big challenge. While a large part of your job satisfaction depends on the people and environment, you can do some things to improve your own outlook and strengthen your workplace culture.
If your company has communicated its core values to everyone in the organization, it’s your job to do your best to embody them every day in your interactions with co-workers, clients and customers. As CEO of a company ranked No. 26 among the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by consulting firm Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine, I can tell you the secret of our team’s passion: We all reflect our company’s core values on an intrinsic level.
The following are three of our most cherished values, along with insights into how everyone in our organization lives them each day — and how you can follow our lead to find your own workplace nirvana.
1. Excel and Improve
Excellence and continuous improvement are inextricably intertwined. To achieve excellence, we push ourselves out of comfort zones and embrace continuous improvement, turning love for learning into a habit through practice, discipline and a holistic commitment to quality.
What worked yesterday very well might not work tomorrow. To thrive and grow — personally and professionally — it’s essential to challenge yourself, learn proactively, examine failures, adjust and move forward.
To quote Ray Kroc: “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.” To help our team members stay green, we set new goals every 90 days and offer professional development opportunities such as training in communication, leadership, and time management.
Even if your organization doesn’t offer these kinds of opportunities, you can still commit yourself to continuous improvement. We live in an age when we can learn almost everything online for free or for a minimal fee. Whether you leverage YouTube, books, mentors, or online learning sites like Lynda.com and Udemy.com, resources exist to help you excel and improve.
2. Embrace Relationships
Relationships don’t just enhance our personal lives; they also advance our professional success. By focusing on long-term outcomes, we strive to build genuine connections with our clients, teammates and partners, because relationships built on trust allow us to achieve more.
At our company, the “cheers for peers” feature of a tool we use called TINYpulse lets us send kudos to team members. For example, when our event manager did an incredible job pulling together an important meeting in London, I sent her a “cheer” to let her know how much I appreciated her hard work. We have the tool synched up to our Slack platform so we can publicly praise others for their work and so everyone can see it.
You don’t have to use a technological tool to positively acknowledge teammates. Just send them an email, give them a call, or give them a shout-out during a meeting. Recognizing people for good work won’t go unnoticed. In fact, it can make a huge difference in your workplace’s overall vibe if you set aside five to 10 minutes each week to express gratitude and thank people.
Ninety-four percent of employees who receive positive daily recognition are happier with their companies. Genuine and thoughtful accolades also strengthen relationships among team members. TINYpulse’s 2015 Employee Engagement Report found that peer-to-peer recognition fosters a strong company culture and boosts employee satisfaction — so spread the love!
3. Own it
For us, “owning it” means being proactive and taking accountability, even when variables are beyond our control. By the same measure, it also means being comfortable holding one another accountable. The main point here is that we focus on results and give people the freedom and flexibility to achieve them.
To illustrate, when one of our team members recently needed to find some data for a client presentation, he found himself pulled onto another project and knew he wouldn’t be able to gather the necessary stats by the deadline. So he emailed his teammates to let them know he’d get it done the following week. Given ample time to reschedule, the team could prepare for the meeting and really impress the client.
It’s important for every team member to do what you say you’ll do — even company leaders. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said CEOs could boost trust by “keeping promises.”
If you take on a certain task or project, get it done well and on time. But if you can’t, be a partner your team can count on by admitting you need extra time or help. By being honest, you’ll build trust and goodwill among the people you work with, as well as a reputation for being highly competent.
A company’s core values shape its culture, and you can play a big part in that. If you mirror those values from within, you’ll not only help create a more positive environment, but also find more satisfaction in your role.
As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This truly applies to how you approach your time spent at work. When all team members play their parts as well as they can, collaborating creatively and innovating to help the company grow, everyone comes to work happier and ready to achieve more.