Stress is a problem many businesses trust their teams to handle on their own. But building a positive work environment can be a great recruitment tool in and of itself.
With National Stress Awareness Day taking place on the 2nd November, there’s never been a better time to consider how small changes to the way you work can help you attract the best talent and retain the superstars you already have.
In today’s challenging engineering and IT recruitment market, being known for your positive work environment is a boon for any business.
How to foster a positive work environment
1) Allow time for breaks and de-stressing
Phrases like “the crunch” may have become an intrinsic part of the IT world but they’re not exactly good for your team’s mental health.
Organisations that don’t allow their teams time to take a break and relax a little during the working day always see higher levels of burnout, absenteeism, and reduced performance.
You don’t need to install an indoor climbing wall in the middle of your office floor. Simply make clear that your team are welcome to take a break and regain focus before continuing with their work.
2) Recognise excellence
Recognising hard work is an easy way to build the foundations of a positive company culture. It’s worth considering:
- Financial recognition – is an obvious but clear way to show your appreciation.
- Soft recognition – simple acknowledgement of effort is a way many businesses could easily foster a better team environment for very little or no cost.
- Holistic recognition – some teams, such as sales, have targets that are easy to praise when they’re achieved. Don’t overlook departments with less quantitative targets.
3) Accept and analyse mistakes
This is the flip side of brilliant performance. In a positive working environment though, it should be accepted that mistakes can – occasionally – happen. After all, it’s a rare business where something doesn’t go wrong from time to time.
Mistakes shouldn’t be overlooked. Yet it’s usually counterproductive to make your team feel like they’re walking on eggshells – that the slightest error could result in disciplinary action.
Blame-heavy working environments lead to a company culture of cover-ups and concealment of errors. Organisations known for their positive culture make their teams feel safe and supported enough to report when things go wrong.
Proper assessment of how mistakes happen not only creates a more positive culture. It also lets you analyse and improve processes so there’s less chance of error next time.
4) Train, train, train
One of the most important things candidates want from their job these days is the opportunity for professional development and career progression.
We see it all the time in engineering and IT recruitment. Candidates of all stripes are still very interested in pay, bonuses, and their employer’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) credentials. Yet the training and development opportunities employers offer are sometimes the biggest draw.
“Retain and train” is the mantra of all the most successful businesses. The top names in technical fields know how important it is to make sure their teams are always up-to-date on skills and feel like they have opportunities for self-improvement.
5) Hold regular one-to-ones
The only way to know if your team feels positive about their working environment is to keep in touch with them. Fostering personal relationships with each team member is vital for effective management.
In industries like IT and engineering, this can sometimes be challenging. The stereotype of software engineers and web developers who aren’t natural communicators isn’t completely groundless!
However, regular one-to-ones play a key role in creating a positive working environment. Be wary of falling into the trap of making these feel more like assessments than chats. Good one-to-ones involve managers who:
- Listen more than they speak
- Try to avoid offering criticism or advice unless asked for
- Aim to act on feedback and use comments as inspiration for change
Become known for your positive work environment
What does your company’s profile on Glassdoor say about how positive your working environment is?
Because make no mistake, prospective employees are checking you out on anonymous employer review sites like this before they even consider signing on the dotted line.
If you want to attract the talent of tomorrow in today’s challenging engineering and IT recruitment market, figuring out how to foster a positive work environment is crucial.
Struggling to find the right talent to meet the specific needs of your organisation?
Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist IT and engineering recruitment company. We use market-leading AI recruitment technology to find the perfect match for you from our extensive talent pool.
Set up a cost and commitment-free chat about your needs with one of our expert advisors today.