Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture

fostering a positive architecture firm workplace culture

For many of us, the first team we experience is our family. A positive start in life instils some founding principles: trust, respect for others and resilience. Frequently we hear GAJ referred to as family and it’s fair to say we are a close-knit company.

Taking into account the percentage of our lives we spend working we need to enjoy what we do and have jobs which satisfy and help us grow. Ideally in our work environment team leaders guide the employee to identify where skills need to be developed, these skills need to be tools to work better and be more efficient in our roles. Employees also need to be able to trust those they work with to help them to attain their goals and give the support to admit a weaknesses which needs to be improved without feeling vulnerable.

We frequently see in the appraisal column for self-assessment that an employee will award themselves top marks. Whilst some may warrant these marks and be ready for progression others that need further mentoring don’t leave much opening for the conversation to occur of what needs to be improved to develop and grow.

We live in a digital age where surveys are frequently issued to obtain performance feedback on services, products or events. Among the constructive online feedback, often can be found are those comments which appear gratuitously negative. Understanding the value of delivering feedback well, team leaders / HR need to choose their words carefully and give support or critique where necessary with examples of how to achieve the expected outcome. To new interns the learning curve can look a bit of a daunting mountain, perhaps here it’s best to set some smaller targets and celebrate these achievements along the way.

If we’re driven to deliver we need a road map, a target and a time frame to achieve from our team leader. Whilst many like the idea or working autonomously, I think we can appreciate an open ended timeframe or a lack of vision will not inspire the best from us; what’s the brief and when do we need to deliver? Equally too much control makes the employee feel that they don’t have a voice. This will not best utilise the wealth of the talent pool; if we work in an environment that feels threatening our energies are put towards averting situations or defending ourselves which in turn diverts away from creativity and seeing our employee’s true talents.

Our work motivation can be affected by many factors. Roles and employees don’t always match seamlessly and need some tailoring; as an employer we can’t just give the employee the policy and the rule book but instead shape policy to evolve to the needs of employees. We have a fair percentage of long serving employees that joined us young and single, who now have families and voice their challenges; we’ve had to listen and adapt polices to cater for this.

Some may say that they want to stay in the same role doing the same thing they always have done. Whilst it is hard at times to let go of what is comfortable, our work places are changing rapidly with technological advances and to future proof our skills we need to be flexible and open to continuous personal development.

There are many a film which portrays a hero who saves the day, looking at our working lives there is the realisation of the need for good leadership and a great team to support the company’s vision, there is no one hero, there is a team that achieves their given goals together. We collaborate to achieve, as we each, in our individual role, have something to add to the picture, the building, the overall hotel experience. It sounds so obvious but everyone’s role, carried out well within the company, has importance and feeds into its success. Without the receptionist, we would be inundated with calls and have no central point of coordination; without our office assistants having training and an interest in understanding our visitor’s requirements, our welcome would not quite be the same; we each play a part in the company and in making things happen.

Humility factors too. If we are curious and open to learning we admit we don’t know it all or that there is more than one way to address a problem. A motto for our adulthood should be that we return to the child in us all and be curious – Why is it like that? How does it work? How could it be better? In this region we are all working with a large number of different nationalities so you will appreciate that’s a lot of different schools of thought. Our very knowledgeable driver, for example, has an excellent technique of never assuming but lets you tell him all you know about the delivery address, time, and client. He pieces together his knowledge with this information and always seems to return with above and beyond expectation.

We are fortunate to have some very dedicated employees who take great pride in their professions and it is important to celebrate and nurture this.

By Elizabeth Pelichet, Senior Associate – HR