13 Tips to Create a Positive Work Culture

February 11, 2016 Kimberly Horn

A positive work culture can encourage greater creativity, retention, camaraderie and productivity among your employees. How are you fostering a positive work culture? We have thirteen tips that you can use in your organization to create a more positive work culture.

A great way to use these ideas to create a positive work culture is to kick off each week with a quick a 10-minute team meeting. Select one of the ideas and together brainstorm specific ways to bring the idea to life. Write your ideas on the board or flip chart. At nine minutes, everyone initials an activity to try in the coming week.


At next week’s meeting, review week’s idea aloud. Go around the room, reporting on the activity you tried. Give brief positive recognition after each report. Plan for next week by selecting a new tip and following the steps used in meeting one.

These positive work culture tips are from our 52 Ways to a Positive Work Culture eBook.


1. Start the day right.

Sample ways:
• Peek into a co-worker’s office and call out, “Good morning, Debra.”
• If you’re on the phone, wave and give a big smile to a passing co-worker.


2. Focus forward.

Sample ways:
• Say, “Next time, we’ll get it right.” Smile.
• Say, “For future reference,” rather than “Don’t you know you shouldn’t have …?”


3. Give them advance warning when time is short.

Sample ways:
• Say, “Glad you called. I only have a minute now, but let’s get started and finish later if that’s O.K. with you.”
• Say, “I must apologize that I have to go into a meeting in five minutes.”


4. Listen without judgment.

Sample ways:
• When people tell you their problems, don’t automatically offer advice.
• If they ask for advice, give it briefly.
• Let go of whether or not they act on your ideas.


5. Focus on the problem, not the person.

Sample ways:
• Say, “Let’s have coffee and figure out how to prevent this from happening again,” rather than, “We (or you) have a problem.”
• Say, “I know we can fix this if we work together. When’s a good time?”


6. Accept all gifts.

Sample ways:
• Say “thank you” for all ideas. You don’t have to put them to use.
• Say,” Thank you for the homemade cookie.” If you’re dieting, nibble an edge, save it for later, or hide it.


7. Just say “I.”

Sample ways:
• Say, “I’ll think on that,” rather than, “That won’t work.”
• Say, “I might try …” rather than, “You shouldn’t ….“


8. Be a conversation facilitator.

Sample ways:
• Ask questions instead of one-upping with your own story.
• Welcome newcomers by summarizing what your original conversation partner was saying. Both she and the newcomers will feel more comfortable and valued.


9. Let your co-worker know you heard him. Don’t jump to a new subject immediately.

Sample ways:
• Ask, “Then what happened?”
• Say, “You must’ve felt great.”


10. Show you care.

Sample ways:
• Show up at events where co-workers are showcased.
• Ask about people your colleagues care about: someone who’s entering a new school, learning to drive, starting a new job, etc.
• Go out to lunch and ask, “Tell me about yourself,” or “What do you do when you’re not working?” Listen.


11. Focus on one person 100%.

Sample ways:
• Turn so that your shoulders are square with his, and make eye contact.
• Don’t look over your co-worker’s shoulder when she’s talking. It gives the impression you’re trying to find someone else you’d rather be with.


12. Admit you aren’t perfect.

Sample ways:
• Say, “I made a mistake.”
• Say, “My fault. I should have let you know about this last week.”


13. Make others feel important.

Sample ways:
• When talking with someone, use his name often.
• Ask about her current project; listen without suggesting a better way to do it.

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