Smart companies put a lot of effort into creating a workplace culture that supports wellbeing, innovation and creativity — a culture that enables each team member to bring their A-game. Unfortunately, all of that effort can be undermined if company leaders fail to walk the walk. Mixed messages can cause confusion, mistrust and a lack of motivation.
These actions in the workplace can speak louder than words:
Taking Time Off Isn’t Really Encouraged
Taking a break from work is important for employee physical and mental wellbeing. It can enhance productivity and reduce stress, which allows everyone to do their best work, including managers.
Even if your business has a robust time off policy in place, bosses who rarely take personal time or postpone vacations can send their employees the message that current work projects and obligations always take precedence over time off.
How can this be fixed? Work together as a team to build coverage and back-up support so colleagues can be accountable for each other. That way, one person’s absence won’t cause a delay on projects and deliverables. Regularly encourage workers to use the days that they are entitled to, and lead by example.
You don’t necessarily have to plan an extended vacation to take time off — here are five creative and cost-effective ways to use your PTO.
You’re Not Creating a Work/Life Blend
Occasional overtime work or meetings outside of normal work hours can be unavoidable, especially if you work with people in different time zones. If you know a certain project or deliverable may need more attention or work outside of normal business hours, than be more flexible during office hours. For example, reassure your employees that it’s okay to take personal time during the work day to attend a child’s school event.
A Collaborative Environment Isn’t Really Thriving
Are you quick to shut team members down when they introduce new ideas, or reprimand them when their plans fail?
If you value creative collaboration, encourage your employees to take risks by being less judgmental and more receptive to new ideas. How you respond sends a strong message. Being overly critical without offering constructive feedback is likely to discourage others from speaking up.
Set aside time for employees to express their creativity by scheduling brainstorming sessions or creating a suggestion box. If an idea is implemented, consider a reward for your employee’s contribution to the team, either through verbal recognition or something more tangible, like a financial incentive.
You’re Not Really Available to Your Employees
Is your office door closed all day? If you’re too busy for regular meetings, and you fail to keep employees in the loop on major business decisions, you’re likely discouraging an open dialogue with your team.
A true open door policy speaks volumes. It not only tells people that they’re welcome to stop by and chat, it shows them that you mean it.
It’s also important to make time to talk to each and every employee, either at regular staff meetings or by scheduling one-on-one’s as often as you can. Remind employees to ask questions, and answer them as promptly and openly as you can.
When it comes to employee retention, your company culture can set you apart. Make your company values known to your team, and ensure each action you take as a leader supports the culture you want to create.
At MetLife, we’re for the workforce. Find more insights on company culture and other workplace trends here.