Building a Positive Work Culture

Shot of a group of business people having a meeting in the boardroom

The concept of work “culture” has become increasingly important over the last 10 years. It encompasses everything from how managers communicate with faculty and staff to how much support employees feel they have to balance work and personal commitments.

What culture have you created for your team? Here are questions to consider as you examine how employees feel about the culture on your team:

  • Do people feel they have the support they need to balance work and personal commitments? How flexible are you when responding to employees’ work-family needs?
  • Do your employees feel comfortable taking time off from work to attend to family matters?
  • Do you have a coverage plan in place so that people know how work will be handled when someone needs to be away from the office?
  • Do you, the manager, ever take time off for a soccer game or to care for a sick relative?
  • What kind of role model are you when it comes to work-life balance? What signals do you send with your own work schedule and work habits? Do you spend late hours at the office and expect your employees to do the same? Do you start meetings at 5 p.m.? Do you pride yourself on not using vacation time or coming to work when you are visibly ill?
  • Does your staff feel you genuinely care about them as well as the success of your team?
  • Does your team feel “in the loop”? Do you meet regularly with your direct reports and provide updates about projects, goals, and initiatives in your unit as well as across the university?
  • Do individuals feel their opinions count? In workplaces with positive cultures, individuals feel they have a voice and their opinions matter, regardless of title or seniority.
  • Are you familiar with the signs of overload and stress in yourself and others?
  • Are you comfortable delegating work to your team? Are you providing your employees with meaningful challenges that foster growth and development?
  • Do your employees have personal choice in how they address their challenges?