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Australians spend a lot of time at work. And if you’re going to spend the majority of your time there, the culture has to be right. And we all know how hard it can be to find and keep great employees, so it’s important to create and nurture a workplace that is healthy and enjoyable for everyone in order to maintain a high level of staff retention.
Here are some of the things you can adopt in your business to achieve that goal.
Recently, International Women’s Day saw business leaders around Australia, and the world, show their support for gender equality. This is a great example of how workplaces can demonstrate their values and what they uniquely offer to employees, but the support needs to extend beyond one day a year.
The IT industry is still predominantly male, only 38.9% of employees being female, so it’s important for us at The Missing Link to ensure that we offer support regardless of gender, so that our employees are encouraged to be the best they can be – both inside and outside of the office. We have amazing staff and want to do whatever we can to keep them working for us and loving their jobs.
We also believe in supporting our team to make their own decisions where possible. Enabling your staff to do the same will free up time for all involved and also create a feeling of empowerment. When you hire the right people, you can trust that they’ll make decisions that are in the best interests of the business.
Flexibility is another key area that we know has a huge impact on workplace culture. While there are some jobs that do require more rigidity, most can easily be done on a more flexible schedule or even remotely. This is important for employees that have children, responsibilities as carers for other family members and for anyone studying, just to list a few common scenarios. And while it’s one thing to offer flexibility, it’s another to actually back it – encouragement from management and colleagues is vital for people to feel comfortable working outside of the standard 9 to 5, in office model.
This is something that the IT industry does really well. We love to celebrate and recognise the efforts of our teammates – be it winning a great contract, winning an industry award or the birth of a child. Knowing you have the backing of your colleagues makes the win feel even bigger and we are really invested in our employees and their happiness.
If this is not something you’re doing in your business, there are a few simple ways to start – send around an all staff email and highlight a person or team’s achievements, bring in a cake for a colleague’s birthday, and if your workplace isn’t alcohol free, have team drinks occasionally to toast everyone’s hard work.
When you spend a good portion of your waking hours at work, getting along well with your colleagues is a must. The friendships we build at work can be long lasting and make deadlines and difficult situations easier to manage.
Hiring for cultural fit is something that most businesses look to do nowadays, and we’ve found that this had made a huge impact on our business – you can teach technical skills and train on systems, but you can’t force camaraderie and genuine respect and fondness between teams.
Most workplaces have policies about bullying and harassment, along with rules around anti-discrimination, but there are businesses that don’t apply them correctly. It can be difficult to have a truly healthy workplace if employees don’t treat each other with respect or feel that they can speak up if they have experienced bullying or discrimination.
Removing the term ‘boys club’ and the mentality that goes along with it, not justifying rudeness with ‘oh she’s just like that’ and being careful to stamp out casual racism and sexism are all ways that business leaders can make a change. And following policy and disciplining anyone found to be in breach is key.
Whether you do all of these things already or have a few new ideas to implement, we hope your workplace culture is healthy and you and your colleagues all feel inspired and supported.
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