8 ways to help build your own workplace culture

Jul 09, 2018

mental healthA healthy workplace culture makes all the difference between dreading the day ahead and striding into it with anticipation and enthusiasm.

"While you may have limited influence on your organization's culture, you and your co-workers all have an opportunity to influence the culture in your immediate environment," says WSPS Consultant Krista Schmid. "It's not just about feeling good, it's about creating an environment where people feel psychologically safe. It’s good for the individual and the organization. It engages us and makes us feel more connected to our work and the organization."

How do we get to this point? With manageable and achievable steps. Krista offers eight practical suggestions for managers, supervisors and workers.

"Don't try to do everything at once," says Krista. "Small things can really make a difference."

  1. Set terms of reference with your team. Does the team have a code of ethics that describes appropriate behaviour? Zero tolerance for harassment and bullying?
  2. Get together regularly. Start meetings by asking how everyone is doing. Allow time at the end for open discussions. Ensure team members have a sense of being involved in decision-making and the direction in which the team is going.
  3. With team member input, establish guidelines on how to run meetings and discussions. Ask questions and set meeting agendas together.
  4. Provide team members with training skills, leadership skills, communication skills and emotional intelligence. Encourage members to coach each other.
  5. Review key policies and programs together, such as violence and harassment, wellness and employee assistance.
  6. Involve team members in activities that broaden their understanding and experience. For example, conduct hazard assessments and inspections together. Have a team member accompany the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative on inspections.
  7. Recognize and reward team members so that they can see they add value to the bigger picture. Just saying thank you can go a long way toward creating an inclusive, civil, respectful environment.
  8. Find an internal sponsor who could remove obstacles, champion the team’s efforts, and ensure the team is visible and acknowledged for its work.

How we can help

Learn more about 13 workplace factors that promote a psychologically safe place to work. These factors are known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of individual employees, and the financial bottom line.

Visit ThinkMentalHealth.ca, a website created by WSPS and its prevention system partners that offers free tools and resources to help workplaces organize work and manage their people with mindfulness and carefulness. The goal is to create a psychologically safe environment in which each individual is respected, valued, and a contributing factor to the organization.