On the other hand, implementing changes can take time and will often impact the overall customer experience. Feels pretty loose\lose.

So how do you, a kind and motivated founder, implement better work culture without major, disruptive changes that drive your customers running for the hills (where your competitors lie in wait)?

Below are six non-magical and easy-to-implement workday changes that you can make to increase happiness, renew engagement, and drive retention in your workforce. For real.

1) Acknowledge Their Real Value

Ever known someone who would tell you at regular intervals how meaningful you were to them? Remember how that made you feel? Powerful on the outside, warm and fulfilled on the inside?

Employees who understand and are reminded of the value of their work to their companies are more likely to work harder and stay longer.

It’s easy enough to get started. Set a regular time with each of your employees to discuss how their work contributes to the bigger picture of your organization.

On Fridays, we host a 60min check out meeting with our team. This one simple meeting has become an easy way to to help everybody celebrate their wins, hold space for negative emotions, and listen.

That last one, REAL big.

This regular conversation allows our team to feel valued and encouraged to continue giving their best.

Learn how to host your own weekly check out meeting.

2) Set Better Customer Expectations

Ahh, customers. You love them, make the best (thing you make) for them, and are in business to serve them.

But sometimes, they can be a drag…especially to your employees.

One of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy work culture is ensuring your employees don’t feel overwhelmed with customer demands or disappointed by unrealistic expectations fostered by management or sales.

When your team is encouraged to communicate clearly with customers, and allowed to set expectations in advance (with the backing of management), you ensure that everyone is aware of what’s possible and what isn’t.

Do this to keep customer disappointment low, employee burnout even lower, and helps everyone feel comfortable setting boundaries and taking ownership of their workload.

Many times you set those customer expectations with the first sentence on your website.

3) Improve Communication

Numbers 1 and 2 on this list are really part of 3: better communication.

Look we get it, maybe you’re not as great at communicating as you’d like. As leaders, we should always begin with the understand that if there’s room for improvement, it needs to start with us.

Effective communication is essential to keep your team productive, and it starts with controlling where conversations are happening.

It is not uncommon for businesses to have discussions taking place across multiple channels, such as email, Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, and text message. However, it is crucial to establish clear boundaries with your team regarding what type of communication each platform is suitable for.

At our company, we believe in using Asana only for assigning tasks and not for discussions.

We do not allow any comments in Asana, and team members cannot tag others to initiate a conversation. If there are any questions or concerns about an assignment in Asana, we encourage our staff to discuss it with the project manager.

This approach significantly reduces distractions and eliminates the risk of exposing team members to unnecessary communications.

Ultimately, great communication begins with great communication plans. Like a customer journey, communication inside a company should be documented and examined for productivity and efficiency.

4) Plan. Plan. Plan.

While it may seem totally duh, 100% of plans that are never made, fail.

You read that right.

Success that’s accidental isn’t success. It’s coincidence. And that’s a HIGH RISK way to build a healthy work culture.

“But I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of leader! The Queen of Wing! Mr. Improvisation!”

How does being the King of Unemployment sound? Less good, right?

Don’t get us wrong, you’ll get to keep your job if things go belly up – at least for awhile. But your employees won’t. They’ll quit, or be fired, all the while knowing that success was possible if only there had been a plan.

Great planning is the bedrock of professionalism and outstanding work cultures.

When you plan, and involve your employees in the planning, you create clarity. Clarity fosters contentment. If you need to pivot, you pivot together because every knows where you’re going. If it succeeds, everyone shares in the recognition.

5) Manage “Work” Instead of Tasks

Ever opened your task manager or notebook and seen a list of to-dos so long it would make Richard Branson set fire to it immediately?

The truth is that most employees have at one time (or even regularly) felt the same way.

Talk about deflating. Nothing feels worse than an overwhelming list of to-dos.

Instead of delegating and then managing an endless list of tasks, encourage your team to focus on managing their workload and prioritizing that workload.

Not all work is urgent, and not all tasks are equally important.

I like the Eisenhower Matrix that encourages you to group tasks into 4 primary categories.

  • Urgent and important.
  • Important
  • Urgent but less important
  • Not urgent and least important.

Prioritize “work” and watch clarity increase exponentially.

You can learn more about our method for improved productivity.

6) Eliminate (Unhelpful) Distractions

Distractions can be a significant source of anxiety and stress for employees, not to mention their employers. But not every distraction is a threat to a healthy work environment.

Sometimes employees need a water cooler conversation, a scroll through their social media feeds, or a quick YouTube video or blog article to decompress and recenter their outputs.

You’re not reading this at home in your downtime are you? Probably not.

To improve communication and productivity, it is essential to eliminate unhelpful distractions.

Whether it’s a brand new project, an unexpected task, or a task that requires more effort than initially predicted, these distractions can hinder work progress. They often surface as a result of rushed initial planning.

Some of the biggest culprits of these distractions include brand new projects, changing tasks, and tasks that turn out to require more effort than initially thought.

Additionally, incessant Slack notifications, and CCing people on every email can add to the chaos. Not to mention the ever-present temptation of pursuing new ideas from the leadership team and delegating tasks that may not be as ‘easy’ as originally thought.

Combine this with sitting through meetings that lack clarity in their purpose or agenda and we have a perfect recipe for unnecessary stress in the workplace.

It may be challenging, but eliminating these factors can ultimately lead to a happier environment for everybody.

Better Boss Today. Better Work Culture Tomorrow.

Small, simple changes – like the 6 above – can have a significant impact on the happiness of your workforce. And what’s good for the team, is doubly good for your customers.

Being a good leader isn’t just about ROI and vision-setting and making the next acquisition. The truth? There are no good organizations without their employees, and no good leaders without them either.

Start by being a better boss today, and tomorrow you’ll find yourself building a stronger, stabler, more productive work culture. 6 little changes at a time.

Keep Reading


Attention Pollution – Don’t Give Away Your Precious Commodity Lightly

“attention is very powerful in the human mind. […] everyone around the world is hunting the attention of others all the time.” — Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love Without someone’s attention, it becomes nearly impossible to share knowledge or new concepts effectively. Similarly, our own ability to absorb new information relies heavily on […]

6 Incredibly Helpful Mac Apps

Textexpander This application runs in the background and lets you setup keyboard shortcuts for commonly typed items. In essence, it expands your text. For example, if I want to send someone the link to my TEDx talk, I just “;ted” and it automatically replaces “;ted” with https://youtu.be/zRtFOwofqsw. ExpressVPN This application also runs in the background […]

Martin Creative — 2021 Awards

Including Community Effort of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Person of the Year — here is a list of some of the best things 2021 had to offer. Ad of the Year Geico |‘Scoop, There It Is’ I’m pretty sure the commercial department at Geico is a box that allows anyone to submit a video […]