You can feel it as soon as you walk into the workplace -- the climate. Not the physical climate, but instead the emotional one. Step into a workplace that is buzzing with frenetic energy, and you can immediately see that you are in a place innovation and productivity. Conversely, visit a workplace that is quiet, calm, almost sleep inducing, you can infer that you have happened upon a workplace that is likely not rich in new-ideas. If you want your workplace to look more like the former and less like the latter, direct the workplace climate in the direction you seek.
Understand the Climate
Instead of just standing in the workplace and looking around, trying to glean information from observations, delve deeper. Conduct employee attitude surveys to gain a clear and realistic picture of employee attitude trends. Ensure the validity of your results, by keeping the surveys confidential, as staff may be less likely to speak critically if you don’t ensure confidentiality. Look critically at the results, analyzing trends. Moving forward, dedicate attention to areas that employees indicated require improvement. (Human Resources Management)
Modifying the focus of your on-the-job trainings to shift your workplace climate, suggests Richard E. Wallace for the Birmingham Business Journal. Instead of making your trainings about -- well, training -- make them employee development sessions. Shift the emphasis from teaching employees new skills to developing the skills they already possess. Pepper in new skills training only as necessary and only for the employee who actually need to understand new technologies. Also, plan some workshops that focus on employee attitudes. As Wallace reminds, attitude problems are a common cause of employee termination and, as such, something that is deserving of your attention.
Changing the climate of your workplace could be as simple as modifying the physical set-up, suggests Keti Malkoski a workplace research psychologist (Climate). Change the prevailed attitudes from a focus on the “me” to a focus on the “we” by moving away from the employee-assigned workspaces and towards shared space, Malkoski suggests. Many businesses are already working towards adopting a set up like the one championed by Malkoski, suggests a 2012 study administered by furniture company Teknion. In this survey, 77 percent of surveyed businesses stated that they were striving to make workplace more open and collaborative and reduce the numbered of individual offices that filled the office. (Buildings.com)
The actions of upper-level management undeniably impact the workplace environment, contends Christopher Warren, a California State University, Long Beach professor who studies on the role of emotions in the workplace. If employees feel that they are continually at risk, like the employees of Enron who witnessed the firing of 15 percent of the workforce annually, Warren provides as an example, they will not be eager to take risks. Make employees feel safe and secure to increase their willingness to innovate, producing a workplace climate that celebrates creativity and invention.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.