12 Tips (Almost) to Make a Small Business Work Environment Even Better

Guest Post by Catherine Matticecatherinemattice

I attended a conference not too long ago, and one of the speakers was talking about taking action.

To make a point, he held up a $5 bill and said he was selling it for $1. Four people got up to make the deal, and one made $4.

He then held up a $50 bill and said it was for sale for $10. Only six people got up to make the deal, and one lucky Joe made $40 in an instant.

This got me thinking about why people don’t take action, even when taking action can be easy, and even when taking action is totally necessary.

I am a workplace bullying consultant, for example, and have heard story after story of employers who opted not to take action against bullying even though they knew their employees were suffering and it was hurting their bottom line.BACK-OFF-COVER1

There are many reasons people don’t take action; fear of what might or might not happen, or fear of being in the spotlight. Or perhaps it’s apathy. With so many things on our plates we only have so much room to care about so many things.

With all that in mind, I’d like to offer you a list of things you can do to take action in the interest of creating a positive, healthy, high performing workforce. Of course, none of these things will transform your workplace, but they will touch the lives of your employees or team members. And they are small steps, so it’ll be easier for you to take action.

  • Collect information from each employee about what they are thankful for in their fellow employees, and hold a meeting to share what was collected.
  • Create a lunch-and-learn schedule for each department, who will present an hour training to other departments on one skill of their choice.
  • Hold an open discussion about our core values and what they mean for each of us.
  • Plaster a wall with paper, so employees can celebrate success by writing in thank you’s, kudos, messages, etc.
  • Ask each staff member to provide a list of three things they are currently doing or will do to champion a higher performing workplace or work team.
  • Charge employees to write down three things that made them smile over the course of the day. After one month, discuss how the lists are going and what people have learned. (Research has shown over and over again this little exercise makes a HUGE difference in self-esteem and job satisfaction.)
  • Do a community volunteer project to build teamwork (such as cleaning up the parks or beaches). Don’t forget to send pictures to the PR Department!
  • Charge each employee to do something small for another employee, or even a stranger, by next Friday.
  • Set one team performance goal that is a little outrageous, crazy, or seemingly impossible… and achieve it.
  • Take a field trip to visit a “best place to work” winner in our area and discuss their best practices.
  • Switch up your onboarding program by adding something wacky and fun. (One IT start-up company offers its new hires a choreographed dance from co-workers that they watch while sipping champagne. I’d say new hires feel pretty welcome, wouldn’t you?)

So what are you waiting for? Pick one, and take action!

And if you like this list of ideas, there’s plenty more where that came from. Visit my website, www.CivilityPartners.com, to download my free ebook, Seeking Civility: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying. I’ve also got an assessment, a job aid, some videos, and more free advice on my LinkedIn page.


Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is an organizational development consultant and subject matter expert on workplace bullying. She has appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, and her book, BACK OFF! Your Guide to Ending Bullying at Work was hailed by Ken Blanchard as, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic” of workplace bullying.


Thanks, Catherine, for filling in for me this week.

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

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