By: Paul Santello
Company culture matters. It’s everywhere: LinkedIn, business articles, the list goes on. Culture is the personality of your company. It’s what makes your company unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes.
How would you define the culture of your company? Collaborative? Work hard/play hard? Corporate? Fun? Would you describe your company as “Nice”? If not, you might want to reconsider some things.
Why? Companies that have a “nice” or “friendly” culture have several advantages over those that don’t. Nice cultures increase knowledge sharing, foster team spirit and build team morale, reduce stress, improve mental health, and make you feel better about yourself at work.
From a top down perspective, many companies have programs that foster social interaction that can help increase the perceived friendliness of company culture. However, don’t leave it up to your company’s leaders. Everyone can play a role in creating a culture of nice. Here are some easy things you can do from the bottom up to build upon your company’s top down efforts:
1. Be Welcoming to New Hires: Introduce yourself and offer to have lunch or coffee to show them the ropes.
2. Smile and Say “Hi” More Often: Many times I see two people walk by each other and just keep looking ahead. It takes so little energy to smile at each other and say “hi” as you pass. Try it. It makes a small change in both of your days.
3. Help Someone Who is Struggling: If you see someone struggling with an assignment, offer to help them. If you can’t help them because you don’t have the skill or time, work with them to find the help they need.
4. Be Present and Accessible: Take off the headphones every now and then. Go for a quick walk around the floor. Make small talk with your coworkers.
5. Be Nice via Email: Take an extra few seconds to set a nice tone in emails. Focus on a friendly greeting and close.
6. Share Your Passion with your Coworkers: Like to cook or bake? Make something and bring it into the office to let your peers know you care.
7. Get to Know Your Coworkers Personally: Show an interest in their lives outside of work. This doesn’t require much energy and goes a long way.
8. Help Clean Up: Public workspaces can get messy. Kitchens, eating areas, and conference rooms often need cleaning. If you’re walking by and see an area that needs tidying up, just take a few minutes and do it yourself.
9. Recognize the Unsung Heroes: Don’t forget the unsung heroes of your organization: the receptionist, the office manager, the administrative assistants, the IT people. They usually deal with more in a single day than anyone else. Say thank you often. Let them know you appreciate them. Know them by name. Remember them at holidays.
10. Give a Shout Out: Give a shout out to someone deserving. In an email, at your next team meeting, on LinkedIn. Take the time to recognize someone who is deserving of a little recognition.
11. Perform Random Acts of Kindness: Once a day, try to do something kind for someone else. Hold a door, buy an extra treat at Starbucks, offer to pick up someone’s lunch. Make it an active pursuit. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to be kind.
12. Be Nice as a Team: If you like some of these ideas, get a handful of your friends together and all agree to be nicer every day. Spread it around, pull more people into the group over time. Before you know it, you’ll be making a big difference in the pursuit of a nice workplace culture.