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Four Tips to Build a Better Workplace Culture

What makes a good job into a great job?

Is it the compensation package? Mutual respect and admiration among colleagues? Working in a field you’re passionate about?

Each of these factors play a role in “culture,” a catch-all term for the combination of little things that make up how a workplace feels.

Workplace culture is like a stew; the flavor changes based on its ingredients. And if you don’t quite like the taste, the good news is you have the power to change it!

We asked Aerotek recruiters for their perspectives on how employees like you can have a positive impact on workplace culture.

Focus on what you can control

While you may not be in a position to change company policies, you can make a difference in your workplace’s culture.

Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Matt Wiehe says, “I’ve found it’s best to only worry about what you can control, and for me the two things I know I’m in charge of are my own attitude and effort.”

Open up

Trust also fosters a positive workplace culture. To build trust among your team members, admit when you don’t know something or need help with a problem.

Teams improve when they share openly, according to Aerotek Account Recruiting Manager Jane Champion. “I’ve found that when you’re vulnerable, others feel more comfortable sharing their past mistakes,” she says. “As a result everybody ends up having each other’s backs and learning a lot more, a lot faster.”

While it may feel risky to ask for help or be open about a mistake, it can pay dividends.

Says Wiehe, “Vulnerability and openness to new ideas and change are two soft skills that benefit most workplace cultures. Neither is the easiest to develop or display 100% of the time, so it takes a little work.”

Stay flexible

Supporting a positive workplace culture sometimes means putting personal differences aside and doing what’s best for the team.

Aerotek Senior Account Recruiting Manager Rachel Klick stresses the importance being flexible, helping out wherever the team needs you. “Even if that means picking up a broom to clean up the floors and maintain a clean work environment, when others see you’re all-in, they’re more likely to be that way, too,” she says.

Sometimes flexibility means responding well to criticism. Wiehe recalls one instance where a contract employee took feedback exceptionally well. “When I explained that her actions made others feel uncomfortable, she was happy that we came to her and discussed the situation as opposed to letting the feelings fester or blow-up.” He adds, “She quickly adjusted her behavior, not because someone told her to, but because she wanted to do what was in the best interest of the team.”

Lead by example

Another key to a good culture is active participation. You can’t sit back and wait for a positive culture to happen. You’ll be disappointed. And worse, you’ll contribute to a culture of passivity.

Klick agrees that a positive workplace culture has a domino effect. “When people show up every day ready to hit their goals, that commitment is inspiring and motivating to others. All of a sudden, two people are showing that commitment, then three people, and so on.”

As you contemplate your workplace’s culture, remember that you are a part of it. Help set the tone.

Your employer will definitely notice.

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