StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article

How To Ensure Employee Comfortability In Your Business’ Working Environment

When it comes to success, your employees can have a huge impact on the level. You probably already have an extensive training programme in place to ensure your employees are well equipped and confident to give the best possible service. However, there are quite a few factors that can affect the efficiency of your employees, and therefore your overall business efficiency. Feeling tired, overwhelmed, and hungry can all be contributors to lack of concentration and an increase in human error.

Below are some ways you can ensure your employees are comfortable in the workplace and working at their highest capacity.

Provide An Outside Space

Being able to take a five-minute break for fresh air will help your employees to reduce stress levels, boost vitamin D levels and white blood cells that fight infection. Fresh oxygen also helps to energise you and help you to feel less overwhelmed, helping a big workload to feel much more manageable. If you do have employees who smoke, not being able to satisfy a craving will prevent their concentration being completely on their work, making mistakes highly likely. Providing aluminum canopies or something similar that provides shelter for your employees from the rain and too much sun will mean getting a fresh air fix will be possible in all weathers and seasons. You may think giving five-minute breaks when needed will be counter-productive to efficiency; however, small breaks at regular intervals can help to keep the brain working at maximum capacity, meaning that the time spent working is far more productive.

Make Sure There Is Sufficient Light

Low lighting, or having computer screens at too high of a brightness level, will put extreme stress on your employees’ eyes and could lead to permanent damage. On the other hand, being in direct sunlight will not only give your employees a headache due to eye strain, but also there is an increased risk of sunstroke and dehydration (see below). It is important to have vertical blinds or similar, so your employees are able to block out the sun when necessary, and have overhead lighting that is sufficient to ensure maximum eye comfort for your employees. Replacing any blown bulbs as soon as they are noticed should not be disregarded either.

Provide Water And Snacks

Dehydration can make your employees feel fatigued and develop a headache, which will severely affect their performance over the day as a whole. Providing fresh water that is readily available, either through a water fountain or specially allocated taps, will help to regulate your employees’ water levels, and help them to feel fresh and alert. H2O also helps to improve clearer thinking, helping your employees to problem solve quickly, take initiative, and stay focused. Hunger can also be extremely distracting, and although your employees will have a sufficient lunch break, you cannot predict when your stomach is going to start rumbling. Taking care of your employees by providing fresh fruit to snack on will mean they will reward you for your kindness by performing at an optimum level.

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas on how you can create a comfortable and focused atmosphere for your employees to work in, ensuring the procedures of your business are in well-equipped, capable hands.

Your Workforce Will Be Happier If You Do These Things

Every great business needs a happy workforce behind it. No business got off the ground or became successful with a team of grumbling employees who were resentful of the things they had to do. A happy workforce means a higher quality of work. How can you make your workforce happier? Do these things…

Be A Better Boss

A boss in this day and age shouldn’t be somebody who watches from the sidelines and gives people orders. It’s somebody who’s willing to get their hands dirty and go above and beyond for their team. It’s somebody who has an open door policy, listens, and wants to make things as enjoyable as possible for them. You need to genuinely care about your employees to be a great boss. They’ll be able to tell if you’re genuine or not too. You’re not going to get people doing their best work or building a great reputation if you’re only worried about yourself in business.

Make Their Lives Easier

How can you make your employees lives easier? Could you maybe ensure that they have the supplies they need to make lunch, with a microwave, refrigerator, and kettle? Could you ensure they have the highest quality equipment, as well as implement trustworthy programs to help them get things done faster? You can automate some processes, but with others, you’re going to need to find better ways of simplifying. There’s a reason programs like Excel are so popular. You can check out the infographic below if you think this is something you could use.

Credit to STL

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

What Your Team Needs Besides Money

The monetary compensation plays a big role in retaining employees and giving them good reason to give their job their all. But if you believe that’s all they need, you’re going to find more people leaving the team than you would like. There are deeper needs that you and even they might not recognize at first. Neglect them for too long, however, and those will serve as the reasons you can’t retain your staff.

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Photo courtesy of Pexels

Employees have responsibilities for day-to-day work in their role, and they should know that. When it seems like the day-to-day involves nothing other than just running through a workload to no aim, however, that’s when people can get frustrated. Goal setting for employees, whether it’s collaboration toward a certain goal or simply improving productivity and efficiency can give them something important. It can give them something to aim at, so they don’t just feel like they’re standing still in their job. It’s also a good way to align their goals at work with the goals of the organization.

Beyond their work goals, you should consider your employee’s personal goals a little more. If they’re looking to progress in the company, see if you can bring out that leadership material. If their job requires expertise, help them build on it with training. If they have personal projects they want to tackle, then offer them time in the office environment to work on it. Make your leadership instrumental in their personal progress.

Let’s not pretend this relationship is all about what you can do for your team. Your team does plenty for you and showing that you acknowledge and value that is important. From simple thanks and an employee-of-the-month scheme to an awards dinner complete with award plaques. Showing real, verbal appreciation and offering a physical token of that appreciation shows that you truly value the team. It also gives you the opportunity to incentivize the behaviors that you consider most important in the workplace.

The work environment is most likely one of multiple people. Getting them cohesive and collaborative is important. Even for those like remote workers who aren’t in the physical environment. Improving the ways they communicate and organize, such as using project management tools, removes the barriers from that cohesion. You should also consider those corporate get-togethers as the opportunity to have people build rapport and relationships without the pressures of work exerting on them.

Speaking of those pressures, every workplace has them. But allowing a little more flexibility to your team can help them deal with said pressures a lot better. Everyone has ways that they work better. Flexibility helps them discover those ways. Whether it’s flexibility in time, location, dress code, method or otherwise. You have to think of what you can reasonably allow. Whatever you can allow, you should.

A better understanding of the human needs in your team is going to make you a better employer in every way. You’re going to retain them, keep them motivated, engaged, and even happy to work for you.

The One Strategic Mistake Your Company is Likely Making

Do you know what your company’s core values are?

You know, those ten to fifteen statements that are supposed to be the guiding principles that dictate the behavior and actions of your company? The foundation from which you are supposed to be ‘Built to Last’ and help you make your most important decisions? Could you recite them out loud right now without looking them up?

I didn’t think so.

Chances are your CEO can’t either. And I think that’s pretty sad. It’s part of the reason why most companies are mediocre. Most people, like your CEO, would say that having core values in business is important. However, very few are actually living them… not because they don’t have any but because of the opposite – they have too many. People can’t remember them all and so they forget. And if you forget what your core values are then you aren’t making decisions using them.

Stop confusing people.

Steve Jobs said it best: “Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world… And so we have to be really clear on what we want [the world] to know about us.” And it’s not just about marketing. It’s everything. Your core value should be the lens through which you see the world and make all important choices. By having fifteen “core” values that nobody remembers, you’re needlessly complicating things for your constituents over who you are, what decisions are best for the business, and how to talk about your company. You’re confusing your team and everyone else around you.

What’s the solution?

Get it down to One Word. Whether it’s #Innovation (3M), #Love (Starbucks), or #Health (CVS), having a single guiding value helps communicate to your team, your customers, and the world what you stand for. It also helps make the big decisions easier like being one of the first big companies to stand up for gay marriage (Starbucks, #Love) or walking away from $2 billion in annual tobacco sales because it doesn’t align with your One Word core value (CVS, #Health).

This might be painful.

If you’re at an organization that hasn’t ever really dug into what’s most important then turning those fifteen core values from a plaque on a wall to an actionable, meaningful One Word, will be difficult. People will disagree. Some may quit. Others might be asked to move on. But until companies start looking beyond the resume, beyond the skills, and start looking at do our people’s values match up with what we stand for as an organization, then all the other strategies and tactics won’t save your business.

Get your One Word right. Apply it as the operating philosophy through which your entire company is run. Give your team, customers, and investors something to actually be proud of. And watch your culture, impact, and profits soar.

About the Author

Evan Carmichael is the author of Your One Word (December 6, 2016), and he also coaches entrepreneurs for peak performance. At 19, he built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was helping raise $500k to $15mil. He has been interviewed or featured as an entrepreneur expert in The New York Times,The Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Mashable, and elsewhere. He now runs, a popular website for entrepreneurs. He speaks globally and is based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter @EvanCarmichael.

Steve Blue

Seven Lessons American Manufacturing’s Decline Can Teach Any Company

The United States destroyed its enemies in World War II because it out-produced them. Its manufacturing capacity was enormous and efficient. Its workforce was inspired and committed. The government, suppliers, and competitors all collaborated to produce the biggest manufacturing juggernaut the world had ever known. It seemed there was no end to America’s manufacturing might.

But there was.

The end to America being a manufacturing powerhouse began during the recession of 2008. Millions of middle-class manufacturing jobs were lost. And they never came back. In fact, since 1979, manufacturing employment has plummeted by over 33%. That is worse than the job losses during the Great Depression.

So what happened? How did the world’s mightiest manufacturing machine end up as the equivalent of room service to China? How did the nation with the workforce that won the war end up with a workforce outsourced to India? How did the most motivated, inspired, and productive workforce on the planet end up caring more about their bowling scores than their production numbers?

There is no shortage of explanations. Some experts claim China is to blame. Others cite United States trade policies. And still others say it is because of the rise of the Millennials.

However, very few people point to the real reason. And that is a failure of American leadership on an epic scale; a failure of government to work with manufacturing instead of against it; a failure of business to adapt to the global marketplace instead of running from it. But most of all, it is a failure of leadership to harness and unleash the remarkable potential of the American worker.

You can’t unleash this massive potential without creating a “culture by design, not default”. A culture by design has a bedrock of carefully selected company-wide values that motivates employees, delights customers, serves their communities and sparks innovation and creativity. But most companies have cultures “by default, not design”. They have what I call “bumper sticker” values. Bumper sticker values are created in boardrooms because they sound cool. But they don’t reflect the real, underlying values of the organization.

One has to look no further than the Wells Fargo bogus accounts debacle to illustrate this. Two of Wells Fargo’s key values are “ethics” and “what’s right for their customers”. And yet what they did was clearly neither. How can a company with those supposed ethics commit such an act? It can only be because while those values look good on a bumper sticker, the real, underlying values at Wells Fargo are “profit above all else”. Now don’t misunderstand me, profit has to be the number one goal. The problem with that as a core value, above all else is people will act that way. And when they do, relationships between employees and customers suffer, quality suffers, the books get cooked, and all other manner of bad outcomes.

That is why it is so important to build a culture by design. Cultures by design contain foundational values that drive organizational behavior toward remarkable outcomes. Cultures by default contain foundational values that drive organizational behavior toward bad outcomes.

The key point here is that you should choose values and not let values choose you. Here are some simple steps to get started:

1. Understand the values your organization currently has. Some, perhaps all, the values may be perfectly appropriate. Some may not be. But remember, the underlying values are probably different than the bumper sticker values. Conduct an anonymous survey of every single employee and ask them. Don’t make this a human resource exercise. It has to come right from the top to be taken seriously.

2. Once you know the underlying values of the organization, decide which ones are worth keeping, nourishing, and promoting and which ones need to be discarded. And then you and your senior leadership team can decide which new values need to be implemented. This is not a slogan exercise. It is a gut-wrenching soul-searching mission. Which values should you choose? It will be different in every company but you should choose values that drive organizational behavior toward remarkable outcomes. Don’t choose values that sound cool in the C-suite but stupid to employees. Choose values that everyone in the organization can get behind and feel good about. Sound like a tough job? It is. The last time I did this it took a year.

3. Declare to the organization the new values that have been chosen and why. If you have chosen well, people will applaud you when you tell them. If you have chosen poorly, you’ll be a water cooler joke. Be very deliberate and comprehensive when you announce the new values. Explain completely what each value means, why it was chosen, and what you expect from employees in terms of behavior to support the values.

4. Now comes the most crucial part. You must be certain your senior executives live these values day by day. You can’t expect “people from below to do what the top does not”. Some of your executives won’t go along with the new values. Ask them to leave the company. Yes, you read that right. One loose cannon on the values ship can scuttle the whole effort.

5. Align all organization policies and practices to support the new values. Make them part of performance appraisals, standards for promotions, and compensation increases. Don’t let this become a “check the box to keep human resources happy” exercise.

6. Once the values are firmly entrenched, don’t let anybody in the front door that doesn’t believe in them. Do a “values check” as part of the interview process.

7. And finally, this has to be a CEO initiative or it will fail. Think of this as a strategic culture plan, requiring years to execute, not months. And give it the same time, importance, attention, and resources as you do the strategic operating plan.

About the Author

CEO Miller IngenuitySteven L. Blue is the President & CEO of Miller Ingenuity, a global supplier of mission-critical solutions in the transportation industry and author of the new book, American Manufacturing 2.0: What Went Wrong and How to Make It Right. For more information, please visit, and connect with Blue on Twitter, @SteveBlueCEO.