Creating a healthy work environment starts with best practices generated by ownership and/or leadership. Healthy work culture is considered to be a business environment where employees feel valued, safe, comfortable and flush with opportunities for growth.

Set clear organizational goals: The first rule for any business is to have a plan. Whether it be a full-blown business plan, a launch plan or a long-range strategic plan. Having a plan to define the path the organization is going to take is critical. Creating goals/objectives that are clear, successful and easily communicated is fundamental.

Communicate the organizational goals: Creating goals is important, but even more critical is having a communication plan so that everyone in the organization from top to bottom is told the contents of the plan and individually which parts are important to the execution of their work.

Promote inclusion and diversity: Organizations that build their culture around inclusion are diverse and promote equality. Promoting inclusion means inviting team members to be engaged at every level of the organization. Inclusion is achieved when individuals have a sense of belonging, know their ideas and opinions are valued, can work together towards common goals and understand they are part of one organization. Employees are engaged.

Respect is a highly rated value: Respect for one another regardless of their position in the organization is one of the highest-rated values ​​of an organization that has a healthy work environment.

Establish a “zero tolerance” policy: These means behaviors that create disorganization, dissension or confusion are met with severe consequences. This sets a high bar for employees and creates an environment that thrives on high expectations.

Recognized employee contributions: Reward employees for their performance that contributes to the achievement of the company’s goals. Employees can recognize one another as well as have management do so. When employees are rewarded for performance beyond the norm they set an example for others to follow.

Flexibility: When an organization has established well-communicated policies and procedures, but a willingness to be flexible when faced with unique situations, they are healthy. They are recognized internally as being a great place to work. They achieve loyalty and commitment from team members.

Advice from successful Cape Cod business owners:

When successful, small-business owners were asked about what makes a healthy business culture for them, Tony Shepley of Shepley Wood products replied: “Two-way communication, coaching, reinforcement with feedback, praise, and taking the time to celebrate victories are all helpful elements for a healthy work environment. Training, career advancement coaching and regular performance reviews help good employees feel appreciated. Even small gestures (I send everyone a birthday card and an anniversary card and buy their lunch on those two days each year) are small reminders that we care. Finally, connecting face to face is important. We increase rely on texting and emailing and it just isn’t the same level of connection. Taking the time to engage shows we value our staff.”

Agnes and Ed Chatelain, owners of Chatelain Real Estate, said: “Provide basic tools, a pleasant work site and administrative support. Identify clear specific goals and allow some flexibility in how each staff member approaches problems and solves them within the context of the work environment. The owner/supervisor should set the office/work site tone: be happy, prompt (first in office or on job site), enjoy what you are doing or act like it, provide technical support and emotional support to co-workers and employees, but do not be easily manipulated or a pushover.”

David Troutman, co-owner, Scargo Café advises: “I think I’d refer to the “One Minute Manager” concept. Spending at least one minute with every team member every day. It helps us to express and acknowledge our mutual humanity. It makes difficult conversations easier as there is already a dialogue established. While the “one minute” needn’t be about work, it does offer an opportunity to communicate expectations, vision for the future and the creation of a positive, inclusive and productive culture. This habit of touching base regularly minimizes unpleasant surprises as we become conscious of what is happening in the lives of our staff.”

Jamie Bohlin, owner of Cape Cod Celebrations, focuses on flexibility: “Flexibility! Giving your employees the opportunity to make their own hours and work from home makes a huge difference!”

Beth and Todd Marcus, owners of Cape Cod Beer, gave some thoughtful advice: “One of the biggest challenges both Todd and I had when growing our business was embracing the delegation of duties to other people as the business grew. Many owners are hesitant to hand over critical tasks, but in the end this can slow the company’s growth, so learning to delegate is eventually imperative. If the exact process is required then you will have to teach that exact process, but if the end result is the same, and the specific process isn’t important then compromise on the delegators part will go a long way to building a strong manager/ owner relationships.”

“Early on Todd and I learned quickly that when we worked together on the same thing that one of us could clearly handle alone we would fight,” Beth said. “So to avoid fighting, we don’t often work together on things, believing in the old adage that in business if two people agree all the time one of them is irrelevant (lol).”

“I think culturally the most important thing,” she added, “aside from making sure your people know that you appreciate their hard work, is to make sure they know that you are there for them. We spend a lot of time trying to identify ways to make our employees’ jobs easier, safer and more efficient. When you are trying to help your employee make their work space or jobs easier, more efficient and safer, they tend to not only learn something as part of the process but appreciate the effort as well.”

A healthy culture acknowledges the shared beliefs, values, standards, and attitudes that characterize a company’s goals and vision.

Contributed by: Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor,, 508-755-4884. [email protected]. Source: “7 Great Ways to Create a Healthy Work Environment”, Catilin Nobes, 5/18/21, Achievers.

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Cape Cod leaders explain how to create a healthy, productive workplace