Written by Nasma - 5 Minutes reading time

Top 10 things employees want in their 2024 workplace

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Today we'll explore the top 10 things employees are looking for in their 2024 workplace and the strategies companies can employ to change their workplace culture for the better, including the importance of polite and kind leadership.

1. Define your values and mission

A strong workplace culture starts with a clear set of values and a transparent mission statement. These shouldn't just be buzzwords but guiding principles that inform every decision and action within your organisation. When your team understands and believes in these values, it creates a shared sense of purpose. When your team can see a transparent Mission Statement and how it will be executed, it creates a clear definition of how decisions should be made and why.

2. Lead by example

Company culture often trickles down from leadership. Ever heard the saying "The fish rots from the head." Leaders must embody the values they promote and set the tone for the entire organisation. Consistent and ethical leadership fosters trust, respect, and transparency, all of which are vital components of a positive culture. Being polite and kind to everyone is an essential aspect of this leadership.

Additionally, having leadership that recognises they too can make mistakes is of the utmost importance. Leaders who make assumptions and accuse their people of doing things without first asking "who, what, when, where, and why" are frequently looked at as biased. Whether it be conscious bias or unconscious bias, making any assumptions can and will cause you extreme turnover as well as an incredibly bad reputation.

Most importantly, if you make a wrong decision, employees expect a supervisor to apologise and correct themselves. Don't be embarrassed to be wrong. Being a supervisor doesn't mean you get to omit the words "I apologise" and "I'm sorry" from your vocabulary. Your employees aren't above the law and in any situation where they were incorrect, it would be expected they apologise. Why should being a supervisor make anything different?

3. Foster inclusivity

Inclusivity is not just a buzzword; it's a vital aspect of a healthy workplace culture. Encourage diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences within your team. This not only promotes innovation but also creates a sense of belonging among employees.

Be well aware that while creating inclusivity with your team, any and all feelings, experiences, and opinions your people share are 1000% valid. Never downplay what someone is sharing or what their experience has been. If you do, you are creating additional poor experiences for your staff which then creates an exclusionary environment.

Additionally, it is a great practice to rotate people who are at the helm of your workplace leadership teams. Should you always have the exact same people in place, your programs are at risk of becoming personal opinionated agendas rather than safe workplace agendas that truly represent your employee workforce as a whole.

4. Encourage open communication

Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Implement regular feedback channels, both formal and informal, and ensure that all voices are heard and valued.

Polite and kind communication is essential for fostering trust and openness.

Once again, any and all feelings, experiences, and opinions your people share are 1000% valid. Everything should be listened to but most importantly, everything should be answered.

Chain of command can play a big part here in open communication. If someone in your chain is a gatekeeper, your workplace will be at serious risk of communication breakdown.

5. Invest in employee development

Support your employees' professional growth and personal well-being.

Offer training that helps your employees both professionally and personally.

Positive, non-biased mentorship and opportunities for advancement are important as well. When employees see that the company cares about their development both professionally and personally, they are more likely to be engaged and loyal.

6. Recognise and reward

Acknowledge and reward employees' hard work and achievements.

This can be through formal recognition programs or simple gestures of appreciation.

It is always great to share a mass communication about the positive things going on however, individual one-on-one recognition is the most important kind.

If one-on-one communication with your staff is few and far in between, it will most likely be more "improvement-based" rather than complimentary. The more you communicate, the less you talk about improving and the more you congratulate.

Recognised employees are more likely to be motivated and satisfied with their jobs.

7. Embrace flexibility

The modern workplace is evolving, and flexibility is now a top priority for many employees. Embrace flexible work arrangements, where possible, to accommodate the diverse needs of your team.

8. Emphasise work-life balance

Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This not only reduces burnout but also improves overall well-being and job satisfaction.

The days of being "on-call" 24/7 are over. The only thing you own is the business. The employees choose to work for you based on how you treat them, support them, and how you make them feel about themselves. Unless your employees have part ownership in the business (potential bonus on profit does not qualify as ownership), give your people the time and separation they deserve when they are scheduled off.

9. Continuous improvement

Workplace culture is not static; it's an ongoing process. Regularly assess your culture, gather feedback, and make necessary adjustments. Be prepared to adapt to changing needs and expectations. Once again, don't be afraid to apologise and make positive corrections to your own decision-making process.

10. Measure progress

Finally, use metrics and data to track your progress in improving workplace culture. Employee surveys, turnover rates, and productivity measures can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your strategies.

Be well aware however that paralysis by analysis is quick to occur and should you over survey/report your people, it will be a turnoff.

Most importantly, leadership that is not only effective but also polite and kind to everyone is a cornerstone of a positive and inclusive workplace culture. It sets the example for respectful and considerate interactions throughout the organisation, creating the positive forward movement your business and your employees need.

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Also published on Linkedin.com

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