Bridge Insights

Building a Strong Company Culture in a High-Stress Environment

Oct 26, 2021

Building a strong company culture requires quite a bit of heavy lifting. It takes time. Often the most meaningful things to build it are the small, understated actions that happen throughout the workday. Good company culture is hard to quantify, but we all know what it feels like. We also know that what can take months (or years) to build up can be torn down in an instant.

Business leaders are keenly aware of this, but for those that lead teams in inherently high-stress environments, the importance of company culture is always on their mind. After all, employee burnout is intimately tied to job satisfaction, turnover rates, institutional knowledge, and brand reputation.

If you lead a team in a high burnout environment, it’s important to take steps to improve and protect your company culture while mitigating employee burnout.

Here are 5 tips to help you provide a positive employee experience and build a workplace culture that allows employees to feel connected, valued, and heard:

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1. Get to Know Your Employees

Your employees want to feel like they bring a unique value to your team; they never want to feel easily replaceable. If your industry is prone to high burnout and turnover, your company culture must be able to counter the revolving door of talent.

Regularly check in on your employees to ensure they are getting the support they need. Try to get to know them both as an employee and as an individual. Have conversations about their professional goals and support them in their aspirations. Regular communication and supportive leadership help to identify burnout sooner and mitigate its adverse effects.

2. Show Appreciation

It is important for employees to feel valued and appreciated for their work. If they feel undervalued, it is easier for them to disengage and feel like their contributions don’t matter. Praise them for their accomplishments and show them how their efforts contribute to the overall success of the team and business. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they tend to be happier in their role, which leads to a more positive culture and higher productivity.

3. Be Flexible

A culture with unrealistic expectations where employees are stretched thin is a fast track to employee burnout. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the mental energy professionals can give to their jobs has shifted. Where work flexibility was once a luxury, today it is seen as a necessity to achieve a healthy work-life balance. In addition to today’s volatile job market putting stress on your top performers, they also have personal lives that have spiked in stress too.

Provide your employees with the flexibility to work where and how they perform best. If they feel like their employer can meet their needs, employees are more likely to better manage their time, stress, and challenges at work.

4. Prioritize Mental Health and Wellness

It is difficult to maintain a work-life balance in a world where we are always plugged in. This is especially true for remote employees whose home and office lives overlap. Encourage your employees to take time for themselves as needed. Incorporate wellness activities into the workday to ensure employees know you value their mental well-being and see the importance of taking time to break away and recharge.

Remember, every employee is unique and will require different forms of support to stay mentally healthy.

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5. Incorporate Time for Fun

Planning social activities and events during the workday with your employees helps them bond on a personal level. It also helps them recharge and relieve stress. Simply eating lunch together or planning team meet-ups like happy hours can promote comradery among your team members. It will bring positivity into your employees’ days and help them relax.

This is essential to avoiding workplace burnout.

Don’t Stress about the Stress

For all the benefits leading a team in a fast-paced environment has, it is not without its disadvantages. Learning to mitigate the stressors inherent to the role and keeping your team members feeling supported is tantamount to leading a team successfully.

As a team leader, it is important to connect with your employees on a professional and personal level, listen to their needs, and inspire a positive culture that prioritizes mental and physical wellness while encouraging fun. Investing in your workplace and making these small changes to your management style can yield large dividends on your organization’s company culture.