5 Online Tools to Help Promote a Healthy Workplace Culture
Workplace culture is more than good intentions and team-building events. And if you ask any senior leader or HR expert, they’ll tell you how complex improving workplace culture can be. That’s because, despite the best efforts to name values and write culture documents, culture just is. It lives in the implicit standards and principles that inform the daily workings of an organization and permeate into decision-making – for better or worse.
Culture can be changed and nurtured, but it requires consistency as well as a holistic approach. You can’t just slap on a new process or conduct training and consider your work done. However, sustained and intentional actions over time can help breed a healthy workplace culture where both people and businesses thrive.
On that note, there are tools that can help support your efforts. From supporting asynchronous decision-making to offering creative ways to fostering an authentic connection between teammates, the five platforms below can help promote a healthy workplace culture.
Alya Abbott, Head of Product at Zulip, says that embracing an asynchronous decision-making model can help provide the flexibility employees are looking for. Not familiar with the term?
“This means soliciting inputs and building team consensus using async communication platforms, without the need for a meeting. Shifting to this new mode of working can seem scary, but done right, it will make the organization more efficient, productive, inclusive, and attractive to workers,” says Abbott.
“Early adopters of the asynchronous model in the business world are also reaping the benefits. It takes more clock time to come to a decision — perhaps a day or two instead of an hour — but it takes less time from the team,” she adds.
“Employees don’t need to sit in hour-long meetings just to catch the ten minutes of discussion they care about and speak up for one minute to share their perspective. Leaders can make optimal use of their time by quickly reviewing important conversations and weighing in precisely where their feedback is needed.”
Zulip is a communication app designed to facilitate this kind of asynchronous collaboration. It combines the best of team messaging apps like Slack and of email threads in one tool.
2. Sprout at Work
A thriving workplace culture prioritizes employee wellbeing, so it makes sense to invest in a tool that can help your team be healthier.
“66% of employees are not engaged at work and turnover can cost up to 2x their annual salary. This means that investments in workplace wellness aren’t just a nice to have, but a must-have. They don’t just improve corporate culture but they impact your bottom line,” says Brea Giffin, Director of Partnerships at Sprout at Work.
Sprout at Work is a corporate wellness platform that aims to make physical and mental wellbeing more accessible to the workforce while tackling the issue of burnout. It centralizes wellbeing activities, identifies at-risk areas and rewards healthy behaviors.
“Sprout helps connect employees over shared interests and brings forth friendly competition. This is especially important, as the social aspect brings people together and encourages them to participate, and because engaged teams have a 41% reduction in absenteeism.”
Employee benefits and perks can strengthen the foundation of workplace culture. But not all perks are created equal. Enter Compt, an HR platform that helps you streamline and customize the process of managing perks your team will actually appreciate.
“For example, thousands of workers observed a 25 percent increase in their utility bills after offices switched to work-from-home when the pandemic began. Employers can help lighten this new financial load for employees through a fixed or flexible monthly stipend to cover costs like furniture, electricity bills, internet, and office supplies,” shares Amy Spurling, CEO and founder of Compt and seasoned finance and HR executive.
She recommends using the Team Recognition Stipends feature to take your workplace culture to the next level, as it offers a unique approach to bonuses and praise. Users can easily give peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee bonuses through it.
“Top-down is great, but having employees recognize each other, particularly in a remote-first environment is truly impactful,” says Spurling.
“Compt clients give each employee a small budget (typically $50-100 per year, often less) to use if they’d like to recognize a job well done (usually $5-10) or for living up to company values. We do this among the team at Compt, and it’s far more about the recognition than it is about the money. The point is that employees recognize fellow employees’ awesomeness. It builds a very virtuous cycle!” she adds.
The app also allows managers to offer remote work setup stipends to their team for expenses related to their workspace. “By providing a fixed or flexible stipend, employees feel the support they need from their employers to stay motivated — something that pays dividends in employee satisfaction and engagement.”
“In the age of a hybrid workforce, there’s almost no choice but to lean on technology to not only create a more positive workforce but also to fully implement core values,” says Janine Yancey, CEO and founder of Emtrain, a workplace culture platform that offers digestible courses and training and also measures culture-related insights.
And when it comes to things like Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, measurement is key. Without proper tracking, improving workplace culture is nearly impossible. And you won’t always get honest qualitative feedback in meetings.
“Providing an opportunity for employees to provide either anonymous thoughts or responses to specific workplace questions, not only creates a benchmark where management can see what areas are in need of attention but also allows it to see how different initiatives are either working or not via follow-ups,” says Yancey.
Using a tool like Emtrain can help you foster a more inclusive and stronger workplace culture by moving away from providing training for the sake of compliance and opening up a long-term, fruitful conversation instead.
“Feeling disconnected from their team as humans is a recurring issue in the hundreds of teams that we have talked to. Teams are busier than ever and being constantly pinged through workplace tools but there’s a lack of cohesion fueled by not knowing each other well,” says Sarah-Jane Kurtini co-founder of Ketchup, a platform that facilitates team connection and inclusion.
“The outcome is that teams full of talented, smart people struggle to get work done and even getting simple tasks completed feels like an uphill battle. Tech has the ability to connect teams as humans and build team spirit in a way that has many advantages over the traditional team- and culture- building events and activities, which are often torturous, not inclusive for introverts and demand that everyone meets in the same time and space.”
Ketchup removes barriers by creating a safe space, helping teams get to know each other over a short period of time through prompts. Answers shared on the platform spark moments of connection and organic conversation.
“It’s asynchronous, so it offers the flexibility that workers are demanding, and it doesn’t put people on the spot so everyone can feel comfortable taking part,” adds Kurtini. “We know that the strongest teams are built on the strongest relationships but that measuring productivity often gets prioritized over-investing in relationships and Ketchup solves this.”