Create a Rewarding Project Environment
When you turn up to work, whether that’s in the office or remotely, you want your workplace to be a nice place to be, don’t you?
There has been loads of research over the years about the benefits of creating a rewarding workplace culture where people want to work. It’s not difficult to draw the line between the office environment and people’s motivation: having worked in a variety of office and site settings over the years we can tell you from personal experience that pleasant surroundings – both physically and in terms of organizational culture – make a difference.
It’s well known that happier employees are more motivated, stay with the company longer and are more likely to put in that extra little bit of effort. So how do you create this unicorn-style environment across the organization or within your project or program team? We have 7 factors to share that will help elevate your work culture to somewhere irresistible for your staff and clients.
1. Making work fun
Fun tops the list, and yet most of us don’t go to work to have fun. We might enjoy it when we’re there, but if you asked your team what they do for fun, they probably wouldn’t say coming to the office.
However, a positive work culture is one that has an element of fun.
How to do it: Think about team building, taking part in national days of fundraising where you wear something specific or hold a charity event, or social activities that bring the team together in a fun way. You don’t need to create belly laughs, but if people enjoy their work and being at work, they’ll show up in a more engaged way.
2. Showing strategic impact
People want to contribute in meaningful ways. It’s more rewarding to work in an organization where you can directly see how your tasks are supporting a larger business goal. That, of course, relies on the organization having a clear strategy that is communicated to staff but even if you are not in a position to put together a longer term strategy for your business, you can still talk about the vision for this project and how someone is contributing to the end goal.
How to do it: Draw clear lines between strategic objectives and the work of the project, and then between the project and the contribution of the individual. Share the mission and goals of the project with the team so they can see why it’s an important piece of work and why the firm is investing in it.
3. Showing appreciation
Most people like to be recognized for their contribution – even if they don’t tell you they do! It costs nothing to say thank you and appreciate the effort that people make.
How to do it: Make sure you know the names and roles of everyone on the team, even those people who are contributing ‘at a distance’ from the main project work. Book time in your calendar to regularly contact individuals and thank them for their contribution to the project. People appreciate a quick phone call or email, and you can schedule those at points in the project where you know a particular piece of work will be finishing. Booking the time to show appreciation makes it more likely that you’ll be able to do it, even if the day-to-day work of the project is busy.
4. Being flexible
A rewarding project environment is one where individuals feel like they have the flexibility to be themselves and work in a way that best suits their personal style. That could mean a blend of office-based work and remote work, or dress-down Fridays, or flexible hours around a standard core set of time-keeping expectations… or anything else.
How to do it: Ask the team what could be done to improve flexibility in the workplace. You might not be able to implement all the suggestions, but listen with an open mind and then consider how the team could introduce new ways of working.
5. Providing the right tools
Not having the right tools for the job makes for a frustrating experience, not a rewarding one.
This extends to the homeworking set up too: if you have project team members who work from home some of the time, make sure they’ve got the equipment they need to do so in a comfortable way.
How to do it: Talk to the team about the supplies and equipment they need to do the job effectively, whether that’s kit to take to site, a new desk chair or project management software.
6. Paying a fair wage
When was the last time you benchmarked salaries against the national or industry average? Salary is an awkward one because while a pay rise is motivating for a short time, it soon becomes a hygiene factor. The longer term motivational impact of salary increases doesn’t seem to stick over time for many people, so if you are considering reviewing salaries, it should be done in conjunction with other things as part of a rounded approach to improving the environment for your team.
How to do it: Ask HR to carry out a benchmark study to ensure colleagues are being paid fairly and in line with salary expectations for where you are.
7. Showing good leadership
It’s often been said that people don’t leave a company, they leave a manager. On the flip side, employees stay with a good manager and a great team for years, even if the rest of the company doesn’t quite live up to the same expectations.
That’s why it’s important to invest in yourself as a team leader, because you have the ability to shape the culture of your team more than perhaps you realize. If your team has confidence in your abilities and trust you, that can go a long way for creating a rewarding project environment.
How to do it: Undertake a 360 degree feedback exercise to get feedback on your leadership style. Reflect on the results and consider where you can continue to learn and improve.
The most important thing to take into account when you are trying to create a rewarding project environment is to listen. If you pay attention, you’ll spot the little grumbles or signs of dissatisfaction that might not be anything major today but that could grow to contribute to lower morale. Act as soon as you can by keeping an open mind and taking on board any feedback you are offered.
Workplace culture changes over time, so even if you spend time with the team now, you will have to put some effort in to maintain any improvements and avoid slipping back into old ways of working. However, we’re sure you will agree that the payoff is worth the effort because motivated staff who are engaged with their work are an asset to any business.