In exit interviews, HR professionals often find that top talent sites a poor work environment as their reason for leaving. Maybe everyone is focused on deadlines and day-to-day tasks. Maybe the company or building is so big that people get lost in the crowd. Whatever the reason may be, negative work culture is a big problem. Luckily, implementing just a few small changes may solve it!

Praise Improvement

Businesses need to see results. If the target is improved sales numbers or number of units produced, all that matters is hitting the quota. As this is happening, however, it is very easy to see the employees who are working to go above and beyond and deliver results. Praising even the smallest improvement will validate that they are on the right path and encourage them to go even farther.

Motivate and Promote Positivity

Beyond praising improvement, a manager should always seek to inspire. Positivity is motivating and sharing success stories, dreaming of what could be, and showing your staff that you want bigger things for yourself and them will improve the mood of the work environment and challenge them to push their limits.

Follow the Golden Rule and Express Gratitude

This is such a simple notion, but far too many business leaders let it fall by the wayside. Treat others the way you want to be treated, from the part-time cleaning staff to the CEO. Always say thank you when someone does something for you. Take the time to do these things, and people will regard you warmly.

Resist the Impulse to be Defensive

To a certain extent, it is natural for people to be defensive in their work environment. No-one likes to have their ideas or efforts questioned. But if you can train yourself to resist your urge to have a negative knee-jerk reaction, you may be able to diffuse tense situations and give people a platform to articulate their concerns. Instead of saying “you’re wrong,” say “I may not have thought about it that way…tell me more about what you mean.”

Perform Random Acts of Kindness

This is another simple road to a more positive work environment. Do nice things randomly and anonymously. It can’t possibly hurt and can help immensely.

Find Excuses to Celebrate and Have Fun!

Finally, celebrate often. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Fridays, Mondays…it doesn’t matter. It’s worth sparing a few minutes of lost work on a regular basis to have a little fun. Pot lucks and donuts can go a long way towards employee retention.