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Building 5 Characteristics of a Positive Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is powerful. Research from Deloitte shows that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a positive workplace culture is essential to business success. Aside from high pay and benefits, modern-day job seekers want companies with a great work environment that makes showing up each day enjoyable. Not only does a positive workplace culture help attract and retain employees, but it also has a direct impact on a company’s success.

While every workplace is different, companies with happy employees tend to have a few basic things in common. Here are five characteristics of a positive workplace culture that we’ve observed from companies of all sizes.

  • Belonging
  • Contribution
  • Flexibility
  • Equity
  • Growth Mindset


Research reveals that creating an environment where employees feel they belong increases business outcomes. A 2019 study conducted by BetterUp Inc. indicated that high belonging was linked to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.


The contribution provides a sense of purpose. The opportunity to contribute to an organization’s mission, vision and ultimate business success is a primary reason for showing up and staying in the workplace. People feel more connected and engaged when they contribute, so leaders must provide opportunities for every team member to contribute and understand how those contributions impact the business.

Creating a culture of contribution is the main reason for the company’s success


It’s incredible just how much of an impact a suitable physical space can have on our mood. Everything from the chairs you provide to the office lighting will directly impact your workers and their ability to perform at their best.

But it’s not all about work. Workplace flexibility is not just about where, but when the work is completed, which is also an important factor. If managers are trying to create “mini-mes” out of every team member, that’s a sign of inflexibility. For example, a manager edits their employee’s work, so the end product sounds like the manager wrote it herself. Or prescribing a process for time management when the reality is that not everyone has the same methods for how they work most effectively.

What’s most important is focusing on the end goal. How the work gets done (so long as it is ethical and doesn’t violate any company-wide policy) should be up to the individual.


It’s not enough for companies to be diverse and inclusive; they must also be equitable. That means treating everyone fairly and equally. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done because everyone has bias–often unconscious. For example, would someone of 24 years jump at partnering with someone of 74 to deliver on a long-term project–or vice versa? If not, why not?

Age bias, myths and stereotypes (across all ages) are just one example of bias that permeates the workplace. A diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace requires ongoing training and education to help employees recognize how they are being inequitable and exclusive. It requires measuring and reporting how employees feel about the workplace. And it involves addressing workplace policies, processes and practices that prevent workplace equity. 

Growth Mindset


A growth mindset focuses on collaborative exchange

One of the most exciting aspects of a culture of belonging is encouraging all workers to maintain ongoing learning that enriches their contribution. Plus, there is much to be learned when employees have a chance to share knowledge, experience and skills. A growth mindset focuses on collaborative exchange. It allows for differentiation of thought and style. A growth mindset encourages all employees at every level of the organization and every career stage to continual growth and development.

A Culture of Success

Shaping a positive working environment requires leaders who set clear expectations and hold themselves and their employees accountable for meeting and exceeding them. Although it’s up to leaders to set expectations, effectively shaping a positive, productive workplace requires everyone. As noted in the HBR article, “It lives in the collective hearts and habits of people and their shared perception of how things are done.”

Source: Forbes


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