Creating a positive workplace culture that can fuel your team members with motivation to work hard, inspiration to thrive, and commitment to the company’s goals is easier said than done. It’s a constant evolution that takes frequent assessment and consistently looking out for better ways of working. Here are 4 areas we believe agencies and companies should focus on and advise based from our experience on how we carried it out at We Discover:
1. Communication and Collaborative Environment
Create a collaborative environment where team members collectively work together to achieve a common goal. They must communicate through interdependent tasks and completely understand their role and responsibility within the team. In doing so, information will be shared quickly, conflicts will be resolved easily and team members will instantly experience being a part of something bigger than themselves. This is the driver to success as it opens the chance of sharing knowledge, developing new skills, and igniting creative thinking in achieving the end goal.
- Encourage people to talk face to face, but allow your team to set up boundaries if they’re head down on work. Collaborative tools like Slack are great, but shouldn’t be your primary means of communication.
- Conduct an expectation setting session to make sure everyone is on the same page as projects commence.
- Bridge communication gaps by utilising collaborative tools such as:
Communication — Slack, Hangouts, Whereby
Project Management — JIRA, Trello, Airtable
Design — Sketch, Figma, Invision
Documentation — Google Docs
- Ample white walls and stickies, though are a cliche of UX design, they are vital to collaborative brainstorming. There are multiple vinyl materials on the market now which can be installed onto walls fast and cost efficiently versus whitewall paint. We also suggest investing into large movable whiteboards , these can also help to set up temporary areas for collaboration.
Recognition and affirmation encourages team member’s engagement and productivity. It reinforces positive behaviours and practices that result in better performance. Although some would immediately think of expensive bonuses or awards, it can simply be a verbal thank you and praise, a written note of appreciation, or public recognition in a meeting or conference narrating the exemplary behaviour being recognised.
- Acknowledgement, it’s simple — but what’s not said is not heard. In our meetings and catch-ups we take the time to acknowledge when someone has gone out of their way and thank them.
- Discretionary Incentive: Rewards high performing team members who go an extra mile and exceed goals with a gift card.
- Birthday and Milestone Incentive: Receive a birthday or thank you card and celebrate your milestone with a cake or free lunch.
3. Trust and Transparency
Transparency builds trust, and trust is one of the keys to a successful relationship. The more you share knowledge, opinion, and suggestions easily with your team, the more they will be open to do the same. They will feel confident in making decisions on their own when you establish that the team has the information they need to accomplish tasks efficiently. More so, they will be likely inclined to request and receive feedback as they will be more comfortable raising concerns and admitting to mistakes. This can result in better performance and increase efficiency in the workplace.
- A core fundamental to our success has been developing a culture where it’s okay to be wrong. It’s vital for our team to feel as though they can throw ideas out there, challenge and be challenged but not take everything to heart. This at its core is the basis for productive collaboration and building a level of trust where you will receive honest feedback and support. In our line of work, being challenged is a part of the process and this needs to happen in a safe environment.
- Weekly All Hands: Connect with the entire team by sharing the company’s latest highlights and plans on the future while facilitating open discussion to establishing trust and accountability. Cadence is important to ensure these aren’t reactive, but often, so the team feels the business is making a clear attempt to share direction and progress.
- Provide consistent exchanges of feedback and touch base with team members to ensure alignment and strengthen relationships.
4. Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement encourages the team to maintain the focus on finding ways to evolve and be better. It begins with the people in the front line who are involved in the process, service, or product and encountering the problems. They are usually the ones who have the ideas for enhancement and can instigate the change. This is followed up by analysing your current workflow and thinking of small and manageable improvements with a mindset to strive to be better than yesterday. And to know that real progress is made and the improvements are working, find a cadence to monitor performance and conduct a checkpoint assessment as a team.
But Continuous Improvement will not be possible without having a personal growth mindset; a mindset where mistakes you have made are a chance to improve, where criticisms are motivation to be better, and challenges are transformed into opportunities to grow. By having that way of thinking in your personal life, it can extend to your workplace as well.
- Recently our team has explored fun and efficient ways of onboarding new employees to increase retention and improve performance by breaking down the process, restructuring the steps and transforming it into a board game. This allows new team members to engage in completing the onboarding process and at the same time have a memorable experience.
- Streamlining processes like that of our Case Study Procedure and having standardised tasks to improve productivity ensures that the team is aware of what should be done next.
We Discover is a Design and UX Research studio with offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. www.wediscover.com.au