Company culture is the heart and soul of an organization. It’s a set of shared values that contribute to the togetherness of people caused by a shared purpose. For a company culture to be strong, it must be enriched with diverse perspectives and experiences with a common goal.

Strong company cultures lead to positivity, high-quality work, and increased productivity. In fact, 88 percent of employees believe that a strong company culture has single-handedly impacted their business’ bottom line.

Here are some ways that a business can cultivate a positive workplace culture.

Empowering Employees

The most important aspect of cultivating a strong company culture is to empower the employees. For employees to feel productive and engaged with an organization, they must be made to feel valued as both individual humans and important participants of the broader team. There are a lot of ways to go about empowering employees, from showing appreciation and gratefulness for work completed to allowing flexible scheduling that acknowledge their existence outside of work (check here for tools to make that possible).

Empowering Employees

Empowered employees feel a genuine connection with their workplace, rather than viewing their job as a monotonous task that’s required to earn a paycheck. Businesses should work with their Human Resources department to create an actionable employee engagement strategy as the foundation for creating a positive workplace culture.

Open Communication

Miscommunications or the sense that there are secrets in the workplace causes frustration, stress, and even employee turnover. Many organizations make the mistake of trying to hide bad news from employees in an attempt to maintain face and prevent panic over job security. Unfortunately, this plan often backfires, and the stories that employees share are often far worse than the truth.

Open communication at all levels is essential for building a positive workplace environment. Giving employees a voice not only gives them a platform to identify their concerns and start to correct issues that arise with their employment but will also make them more comfortable going to management with problems. Whether it’s discussing frustration about a conflict with another employee or a more serious issue– like workplace harassment– having open lines of communication will make the company culture safer and happier.

Work for the Future

For an organization to be successful, it’s important to help employees plan for the future. Unfortunately, this future planning may end up benefiting another business if an employee decides to move on. However, too many organizations fear that result and neglect developing their people, which actually encourages them to leave for greener pastures much sooner.

Businesses should work with their employees to better understand their long-term goals and aspirations. Then the organization should put programs in place to help employees work toward those goals, through support, mentoring, and learning opportunities. Businesses that invest in their employees’ futures find that their employees are more invested in the future of the company, and that going to work doesn’t bring forth feelings of dread.

Hire Leadership Over Management

Lots of people have the skills and drive to be put in a management position, overseeing tasks and ensuring things get done. However, not all managers have what it takes to be a leader, managing people in a positive way. Businesses need to prioritize hiring leaders over managers and know that sometimes leaders appear in non-management positions.

In addition to hiring leadership, companies need to look at developing their people within to assist with building leadership skills. Not everyone will go on to be a leader, but everyone can benefit from leadership development.

Create Social Opportunities

Finally, to build a positive workplace culture that produces high quality work, companies must create opportunities for employees to get out of their silos and interact with one another. Implementing a social committee and having events that allow employees to interact with other departments will help create strong ties throughout the organization.

The key to creating a positive workplace culture is for organizations to remember that employees are more than that: they’re individual humans with values, motivations, and goals of their own.