Andrew, our CTO, thinks it’s sweet that I openly tell people that I love my job, but I love my job! Why wouldn’t I tell the world?! #SorryNotSorry
Why do I love my job? Well as someone who has previously worked in a not-so-great environment, to work in a company like Hark feels like hitting the jackpot, even a year on I’m still so grateful to feel this happy! This past year I’ve realised how much your contentment with work bleeds into the rest of your life – I’m a happier person all round and I’ve achieved some pretty big personal goals this year too.
So what is this blog post about? Well, having seen not-so-great management techniques in the past and some much better ones more recently, I’ve learnt a lot about what managers can do to create an environment where people truly love their jobs.
Why is this so important? Maslow’s well-established “Hierarchy of Needs” theory, says that we all as humans have needs, which can be stacked into a pyramid format with each block layering on top of the previous. As our needs are fulfilled, we move up the pyramid.
Our basic needs at the bottom, safety and security, then love and belonging, then recognition and respect until we reach the top: self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is the process of reaching one’s full potential and becoming the best version of ourselves.
How to Cultivate a Thriving and Positive Work Culture
Positive company culture isn’t just about walks, fruit bowls and pizza Fridays; company culture flows from the top down and it affects everyone within an organisation. There are lots of different elements which create a positive company culture, but these are a few things Hark has shown me this past year:
- Empower the People: Trust in the ability of the people you hire, empower them, and give them the space and tools, they need to grow. You hired this person for a reason, it is in your best interest and in the best interest of the company that you empower them to be the best they can be. Hark has taught me that managers who empower their team members, rather than micromanage, create an internal drive that allows them to focus on larger responsibilities knowing that their team can handle everything while they are gone.
- Encourage Challenge – Dim Your Ego: Allow the people you manage to challenge you. In fact, encourage it! An environment where people can, without being rude I’ll add, challenge each other creates a more innovative environment where individuals across the team feel they are able to speak up, voice their opinion and as a collective the team can achieve better results.
- Clear Company Mission and Goals: Clear company goals which are communicated well, often and are easy to understand, ensure that teams across the company are working towards the same goal. This reduces inter-departmental friction as everyone understands, and is collectively working towards the same goal.
- Individual Goals: Truly listen to the people who work for you. What are their goals? what motivates/drives them? What do they want to achieve? Then help them get there.
- Support in tough times: The true test of a positive work environment isn’t when things are going right, it’s when things aren’t quite right; we are all human and have lives outside of work.
Managers who show empathy, understanding and genuine care for their team create a trusting and psychologically safe environment in which their team feel they can confide in them. When team members feel supported through challenging periods, they’re better able to navigate through them and maintain their sense of belonging.
- Embed continuous improvement: Embedding improvement within the company culture creates an environment where teams are genuinely open to change. It really is as simple as regular team reflection of what has gone well and what can be improved on and planning to action this. It improves people’s responsiveness to feedback, change and reduces resentment and tension between colleagues/teams.
- Authenticity: Have a laugh and be genuine! Yes, professionalism is important, but we are all human. Being genuine and creating space for laughter and authenticity is equally crucial. We spend so much time in our lives working, an authentic and enjoyable workplace culture enhances employee satisfaction and well-being.
What Have I Personally Been Working on?
Radical Candor is a direct but caring approach to communication which enables honesty without being overly cautious or mean-spirited. It allows open conversations which in turn can promote both personal and professional growth. Having a positive company culture where genuine positive feedback is encouraged across the teams creates an environment in which radical candor is possible and easier to adopt.
Hark has a great, positive company culture and it is clear everyone is working towards the same goals. This makes Radical Candor much easier to practice. Regular companywide feedback sessions have created an environment in which feedback is part of our day-to-day lives, therefore it’s not something people shy away from.
Personally, practicing Radical Candor has enabled me to not feel as uncomfortable or be as over-cautious around giving people feedback when perhaps something could be done differently. I’ve also seen clearly, its positive impact in action; our team getting to a solution faster, stronger working relationships, and growth in individuals.
The key thing I remind myself is, relationship/culture builds the environment for radical candor and radical candor is measured not at your mouth but at the ear of the person receiving it. If you haven’t read the book by Kim Scott I highly recommend it. It also has a really good piece about team dynamics with ‘Rocks’ and ‘Rockstars’ that has really stuck with me.
If you want people to truly love their jobs and to get the best out of the people you work with it’s not all about the trivial things: socials, lunches etc. It’s self-actualisation (Maslow’s was right all along) and creating an environment where you can help as many people reach the peak of that pyramid.
I’m proud to work for Hark and proud to say I love my job.