Healthy workplace culture is a coveted thing for job seekers these days (and for good reason!).
We’ve probably all had a job or two that could qualify as toxic. I still shudder when I walk past a certain store in the mall thinking about the customer who made me cry or the demanding boss I had when I worked there in college.
According to Forbes, 2 out of 3 Americans hate their jobs. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way when we’re actively doing our part to choose positive office environments and become healthy, self-aware people. Finding an energizing workplace is essential in changing this stat for all of us.
What makes a sustainable workplace culture? In our June 2020 thought leadership piece on Why Community Matters in the Workplace, we mentioned how a healthy community and culture are established by fostering altruism and positivity, offering team-building opportunities, and encouraging diversity and radical acceptance.
While on your job search, there are a few things that’ll clue you in to whether your potential employer offers a positive working environment. Here’s how you can find a workplace with a healthy culture and community.
Search for Work You Enjoy
You might be thinking, “Well, duh.” But sometimes, especially if you’re just starting out in your career, you may be tempted to take a job you’re not really jazzed about. I get it. Student loans and rent don’t pay themselves. But searching for work you’ll actually enjoy (or at least a job you don’t hate) is the first step to finding a positive culture and community to contribute to. When 2 out of 3 of us are hating our jobs, it’s no wonder why so many workplaces are toxic. If you’re miserable doing the work, how can you participate in an energizing work community? You can’t.
So the first step to finding a life-giving workplace culture is to target your search and really think about what tasks you’d like to do in your next position. Think about what tasks you’d really hate doing too. Sometimes, you have to take a job you don’t love for any number of financial reasons — and it’s 100% a privilege to be able to search for work you love. But if you’re in a place where you can hold out a bit longer for something you might enjoy, you absolutely should.
Focus on Flexibility
Flexibility is a gamechanger when it comes to creating a healthy workplace culture. Why? It demonstrates a trusting relationship between leadership and employees. When leadership is flexible on things like scheduling or working from home, workers can feel more confident and like they can take ownership of their workday — knowing they’re seen as adults in the office as opposed to children at daycare.
In addition to flexibility, you’ll want to find out what kinds of benefits are offered to employees. The leadership of a healthy workplace will make it known they care about their employees and their policies (receipts) will show it.
Talk to Current Employees
According to Skip Prichard, healthy workplaces are comprised of 6 key elements. They include:
Communicating purpose and values
Providing meaningful work
Focusing your leadership team on people
Building meaningful relationships
Creating peak performing teams
Practicing constructive conflict management
When you’re on the job hunt, see if you can speak to current employees about these 6 attributes. Ask if they find their work meaningful, what communication is like amongst the staff, and how they feel about the office vibes in general. There are pros and cons to every working environment so try to focus your questions on how your most important values, needs, and wants fit into the company’s culture. You’ll also want to ask questions about diversity and inclusion. Like I said, a healthy community makes this a priority.
Speaking with current employees can give you a good idea of what life is like at the company as well as further insight into how healthy the culture is and if you really want to work there.
Do you have any tips or tricks for vetting a potential employer’s workplace culture? Spill the tea with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @Kenzie Academy.