Company Culture

How to cultivate empathy at work—and why it matters

Empathy. We’ve all heard the word. But how many of us really know what it means? Or actively practice it? Especially when it comes to empathy at work?

It’s not about walking a mile in someone’s shoes. It’s not about offering them a shoulder to cry on.

The dictionary defines it as: “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes or offering them a shoulder to cry on doesn’t necessarily mean you understand what they’re going through or share their feelings. Everyone reacts differently to the same situations.

How I’d react to an incident at work is different from how a Workrowd colleague would react, or how a stranger would respond. Despite all of us being in the same situation.

So if that’s not showing empathy, what is?

The dictionary said it best: “understanding.”

That’s the key, and that’s where most people go wrong.

Offering someone a shoulder is a sign of compassion or sympathy, but not necessarily empathy.

To feel empathy, you have to truly understand the other person’s emotions even if you wouldn’t respond to a situation in the same way.

Why does empathy at work matter?

Consulting firm EY found in 2021 that 90% of employees believe empathetic leaders increase job satisfaction. What’s more, 79% believe they lower employee turnover. Those are some pretty significant numbers.

For companies struggling to retain employees, cultivating empathy at work could make a huge difference.

Greater empathy can also lead to more innovation. In fact, 61% of employees at empathetic organizations felt they could innovate.

Just 13% felt they could at apathetic organizations.

In our ever-changing, fast-moving times, the more innovation going on in your business, the more likely you are to differentiate yourself from competitors to both customers and employees. And the more money you’re likely to make as a result.

But first, that requires a psychologically safe workplace.

And how do you build that?


4 ways to build empathy at work

How can you create more empathy at work? Let’s take a look:

Define what empathy means in your business

As I mentioned in the introduction, a lot of people have heard of empathy, but very few people understand what it really is.

There’s a difference between witnessing racism and really feeling its impacts in the short- and long-term.

Same as there’s a difference between seeing someone in a wheelchair and understanding the challenges that come from living in a world that isn’t disability friendly.

So, what does empathy at work look like at your organization? How will you show empathy to your employees?

Will it be through active listening?

Sending feedback surveys and acting based on the results?

Training managers and employees on what empathy at work looks like and how to use it?

Or something else?

Make your CEO human

The larger a company is, the more a CEO can feel like a mythical creature who only comes out at night.

Employees further down the ladder may have only heard their name and seen their headshot on LinkedIn. They may never have had a conversation with them.

When CEOs open up to employees and show a human side, it creates a connection that can help motivate team members, foster understanding, and set an example. Managers and employees alike can then follow this display of empathy at work.

Get managers to set an example

If a manager sets an awkward work environment, employees won’t feel comfortable in their roles. They’re also likely to subconsciously mimic this to protect themselves.

If a manager creates a welcoming work environment, everyone will feel involved and want to be a part of that team. New team members will be more likely to stay because they’ll feel like they belong.

Managers can set an example by how they talk to their team members and even how they greet them in the mornings. Everything from their body language to their tone of voice can set the atmosphere for the day.

If a manager is having a bad day, they should either tell their employees that they’re feeling off, or find a way to not let their mood rub off. Otherwise, it can ruin the productivity of everyone on their team.

Open the lines of communication

Open communication is important in any relationship. But how can employees share their feedback in your workplace?

Who can they go to if they have issues with a colleague? Or their boss?

There should be formal processes in place, as well as informal ways to discuss less serious matters.

Sending regular surveys to see how your employees really feel is another way to find out what they think. It allows you to stay informed about what’s happening within your business and analyze the results.

Seeking to understand what employees are going through in this way can really help you build empathy at work.


Fostering empathy at work is a key trait of any successful organization. It improves creativity, productivity, and innovation—all components that have never been more important for businesses.

Listening to what employees have to say, and setting examples, helps employees understand your workplace culture. This is especially true if instigating the new, more empathetic attitude meets some resistance.

Over time, you’ll start to see the benefits of empathy at work and your employees will repay you with their hard work and loyalty.

Ready to up your game when it comes to empathy at work? Giving employees a one-stop shop for building real connections is a great place to start.

Workrowd enables you to do just that, alongside automated surveys and real-time analytics. Curious to learn more? Drop by our site, or reach out directly to today.

Company Culture

7 all-hands meeting ideas for a more connected culture

Many businesses, both big and small, use all-hands meetings to get everyone together. So it’s always good to have some all-hands meeting ideas on hand to ensure you’re making the most of yours.

All-hands enable organizations to share company updates, industry news, and future plans. For some businesses, these meetings are a regular occurrence, happening monthly or quarterly. For others, they’re yearly or intermittent depending on what’s happening.

Regardless of how often you hold your all-hands, they offer an opportunity to improve employee engagement and create a sense of belonging. 

When employees are truly happy and feel like they belong in the workplace, they work harder and stay for longer. All-hands are just one way that you can make people feel like an important part of the team, no matter what their role is.

So, let’s take a look at some all-hands meeting ideas to create a more connected culture:

Change up the speakers

Hearing the same C-Suite executives talk every time can get repetitive for employees. Especially if you hold monthly all-hands meetings.

So why not give employees a chance instead?

Rather than the head of each department giving updates each month, rotate which employee shares a team’s updates. This gives them the chance to build their public speaking and leadership skills. It also shows you’re invested in their professional development—something which is increasingly important to employees.

Not to mention public speaking skills increase people’s confidence and can help them more easily articulate their thoughts.

Hold it at different times and locations

While holding a company-wide meeting at the same time may sound like a good idea so people know when to expect it, if every meeting is at 9am on the first Monday of the month, it excludes the same people. Meaning those team members feel less connected to the business and may not get the opportunity to ask their questions. 

So if you held the meeting in the morning last time, consider doing it in the afternoon the next. 

If you meet in person but have a distributed team, change which location you hold it at. Consider making it available online as well. That way it’s easier for people to attend whether they work in that office or not. It’s one of the easier all-hands meeting ideas that can offer a big payoff.

Make it accessible

If it’s a short update, or you have a global team, can you do the update online? Or take a hybrid approach?

This ensures people with disabilities don’t have to worry about travel arrangements, parents don’t have to pay for expensive care, and it’s not eating into employees’ time with their loved ones.

You could record the all-hands (whether it’s in-person or not), then create a replay for people who can’t watch live. This makes it accessible to everyone regardless of their time zone or working schedule.

If you decide to host it in-person or hybrid, make sure you choose an accessible venue. 

It should have a working elevator, a plan in place for wheelchair users if there’s a fire, working toilets, parking and/or public transit links, and somewhere employees can get food and drink.

This ensures your employees can be at their best for the meeting.

To make things even more accessible, you can use Workrowd to centralize materials you want to share before or after the meeting. Any meeting information also becomes archived and easy to find, so everyone can quickly refer to it when needed.

Make it interactive

The more you involve employees, the less likely they are to tune out. 

Sorry, but all-hands can be boring and repetitive. They may be interesting to managers , but you want employees to get value from them, too. This only happens if they feel valued and bought into the company mission.

So make sure to give employees the chance to ask questions about what’s happening in your business/industry. You could allow them to put executives on the spot, or give them the option to submit questions in advance.

Using Workrowd, you can make sessions more interactive, giving employees the chance to discuss the meeting before, during, and after on the meeting’s page.

Be open and honest with your employees and they’re more likely to reward you with their loyalty. Introducing more interactivity is one of the all-hands meeting ideas every organization should consider.

Send a reminder

With everything going on at work, it can be easy for employees to forget that an all-hands is even happening.

Sending a reminder can help keep it top of mind. This then means people are less likely to leave organizing travel, accommodation, or childcare to the last minute.

You can also use Workrowd to schedule and collect meeting RSVPs so you know who’s coming. Your team will then get automatic reminders as well. It puts some of the all-hands meeting ideas on autopilot, so you can focus on creating an even better experience.

Offer optional socializing and networking

While I disagree with mandatory workplace socializing, there is a place for optional socializing. 

Whether this is going out for a meal, an activity, or a book club, giving employees the chance to hang out with their colleagues face-to-face and do something that isn’t work-related can help with collaboration and allow them to let off some steam.

Get feedback

If you want everyone in your company to pay attention to, and get the most from, an all-hands, you need to know how they feel about it. 

Regularly soliciting feedback on the meetings’ format and usefulness ensures you can see what’s working and can act to continuously improve it.

To make your life even easier, Workrowd can automatically follow up with employees after your all-hands. You can collect employees’ feedback, then see the results in your automated analytics dashboard. 

That way, you’ll know exactly what employees love—and aren’t so keen on—within your current format. It then makes it easy to improve on your all-hands meeting ideas for next time.


To get the most from company-wide meetings, you have to meet employees halfway. 

All-hands aren’t just about you sharing company updates. They’re about finding out what your employees want and need from you going forward. 

You can do that via a Q&A, or send a survey after the all-hands to find out what they think. 

Changing up how and when you host all-hands meetings ensures they’re accessible to more people regardless of their location or circumstances.

Ready to take things to the next level with some of these all-hands meeting ideas? Workrowd’s all-in-one suite of tools can help.

Using our one-stop platform, you can easily keep everyone in the loop, encourage better discussions, and collect feedback on how your all-hands meeting ideas are working out.

Does this sound useful for your organization? If so, visit us online to learn more and see how Workrowd can help you build a more connected culture. Or, just send us a quick note at to set up some time to chat.

Company Culture

Work-life balance tips to elevate your company culture

True work-life balance is a make-or-break element of attracting and retaining top talent. So it can help to have some solid work-life balance tips in your toolkit.

A good work-life balance is very important to 72% of employees. And 57% of employees feel that a poor work-life balance is a deal breaker when they consider a new job.

Yet 77% of employees have experienced burnout at their current job. And just 60% of employees feel able to balance work and personal commitments. 

That feels like somewhat of a contradiction to me. Surely, with the right work-life balance, fewer employees would experience burnout

Which means many of us aren’t balancing work and personal commitments as well as we think we are.

It’s all too easy for employees—particularly remote employees—to work just five more minutes to get something done. 

And for those five minutes to turn into five hours…

…then when they look up at the clock, they realize it’s almost bedtime and they’ve spent all day staring at a computer screen.

So what are some work-life balance tips to ensure employees really do have a positive experience? And that they can comfortably fulfill personal commitments in addition to their jobs?

Encourage disconnection outside of office hours

One of the biggest work-life balance tips centers around being able to disconnect. And to do that, it means only responding to notifications during working hours.

A simple way to get employees to disconnect is to have set work hours on apps like Slack or Teams. 

And make it clear that employees shouldn’t feel the need to “check in” when they’re just browsing through their phone off hours. 

Or worse—on vacation! 

(Yes, I do know people who’ve done this while lounging by the pool. Insert horrified emoji here.)

Some phones and operating systems allow you to set different home screen layouts depending on the time of day or what you’re doing. You could suggest employees set this up if they use their phone for work. 

Or if they have a separate work phone, get them to set an alarm so that they know it’s time to turn it off for the day.

If it’s harder for them to get to Slack, Teams, or emails, and they’re not getting notifications every time a message comes in, they’re less likely to check those messages outside of working hours.

Give employees time back if they work overtime

One way you can show employees you value their work is by giving them time back if you know they’ve worked overtime to finish a task or project.

This ensures they don’t lose out on time with their loved ones, or relaxing, just because they wanted to finish something before wrapping up for the day.

Make sure employees use their paid time off (and consider offering them more)

It’s all very well and good offering paid time off (PTO), but if employees don’t use that time, is it anything more than a token gesture to lure in new hires?

Employees should be able to use their paid time off without feeling guilty about it. Or like they’ll be reprimanded for doing so. 

PTO is key to employee wellbeing, providing them with vital time to recharge their mental and physical batteries. And helping them come back to work happier and healthier. 

If employees don’t use their PTO at your company, ask yourself why? And how can you change that? When thinking about work-life balance tips, paid time off should be a core consideration.

Talk to employees about their schedules

If you have an employee who’s regularly online well outside of working hours, talk to them. Is it that their workload is too much and they don’t feel they can get everything done during their allocated hours? Or are they a workaholic?

Either way, no matter how great the results that person gets you now are, they’re at high risk of burnout.

So be sure to keep in touch with them. Suggest they disconnect on weekends, use their PTO, and don’t check in off hours. Or just send them this list of work-life balance tips with a friendly note!

Allow employees to work where they work best

79% of workers feel a flexible schedule allows for a better work-life balance. 

And 91% decided to work remotely because they wanted a better work-life balance. 

That says something about the office environment and how much time we can lose to things like the daily commute.

Everyone’s ideal work environment is unique. For some, it’s at home in their own space. It’s in the office, surrounded by other people for others. However, for most, it seems to be a hybrid work model.

To find out what makes the biggest difference to your employees, ask them! Send an employee survey with questions on how they feel they work best, and ask for their feedback on how things work now.

Most importantly, implement changes based on the feedback so that employees know you listen. Otherwise, they’re less likely to take part in similar activities in the future. Plus, you won’t get much in the way of work-life balance tips from their suggestions if they don’t feel heard.

Provide discounts on well-being activities

Days out with loved ones, a trip to the gym, or even a vacation are all excellent ways for employees to reduce their stress levels and get a change of scenery. Particularly for employees who work from home.

Staff discounts are a great way to show employees you value them and to help them disconnect.

Could you partner with an employee benefits platform to offer discounts? Or work with local businesses/your customers to provide employees with exclusive offers?

Whether it’s subsidized gym memberships or discounts on meal boxes, little things like this can contribute to improving employees’ overall well-being inside, and outside, of work.

Make sure employees take their lunch breaks away from their desks

When I worked in an office, I almost always ate at my desk because I brought in my own lunch and reheated it in the staff microwave.

But, before I ate, I always went for a walk so that I got a break from the office. 

Whether your employees go for a lunchtime walk like I did, go to the gym, or just sit outside on a bench, remind them to get away from their desk during the day. It breaks up the day, gives them a change of scenery, gets their blood flowing, and can calm their stress levels if the office is noisy. It’s one of the more straightforward work-life balance tips that can have a big impact.


A positive work-life balance is key to our long-term health. It reduces stress levels, gives us more time with loved ones, and prevents burnout.

The right work-life balance is different for everyone, but the key is to ensure employees can disconnect from their jobs without feeling guilty or like everything will go wrong because they’re unreachable for a few hours.

Looking to implement some of these work-life balance tips? Workrowd can help. By centralizing all your employee information, programs, groups, and events, you can save team members time and highlight all the great ways they can find better balance.

Plus, with real-time analytics, you always know who may be struggling and in need of more support. Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at

Company Culture

Culture add beats culture fit any day: 5 reasons why

We’ve all heard of culture fit, where businesses hire employees based on how well they fit into the company culture. This can help businesses run more coherently and lead to less tension in the workplace. But it can also lead to groupthink. That’s where culture add comes in.

If everyone’s experiences are the same, and they all feel the same way about something, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes never get challenged. Which makes it harder for employees to think creatively and solve problems. This can mean it takes longer to get things done. It can even put you behind your competitors.

Culture add, on the other hand, enhances your company culture while avoiding groupthink.

What is culture add?

Imagine a five-foot wall, with three people trying to look over it. The first person is six feet tall and can see over it fine. The second person is five foot, so they can’t really see, but they can on tiptoes. The third person is four foot and can’t see at all.

Culture fit is hiring only six-foot-tall people, so you don’t realize the wall is an obstacle to some.

Culture add is hiring those people who can point out that there’s a problem, and therefore help you find a solution because they see the world differently.

You’ve probably come across the equity meme where three people look over the wall, and the two shorter people stand on boxes to see over the wall. Culture add in a business is a real-world equivalent of that.

Benefits of culture add

So, how can focusing on culture add benefit your business? Let’s take a look:

More creativity and better problem solving

When you hire someone based on culture add, rather than culture fit, it brings in fresh perspectives.

Someone with a more creative background might not be a typical choice for a software developer, but if they have the right soft skills, they’ll pick up on the hard skills they need to succeed.

Hard skills can be taught. It’s not impossible to teach soft skills, but it isn’t as easy. And it usually takes longer.

But if you hire someone who shares your organizational values, such as a growth mindset, alongside your existing, talented employees, you get to experience the benefits of their innovative ideas.

The more diverse a group of people is, the more creative that group will be. Everyone will bring new perspectives to the table based on their life experiences. This leads to better—and faster—problem solving, and increased innovation.

Think about it: if a company is full of men, they have no idea what problems women face.

So they can’t tap into that market as efficiently or as well as a team that includes equal amounts of women in decision-making roles.

The same is true of race, religion, disabilities, and other communities.

The more you embrace diverse backgrounds, and look for culture add, the more creative problem solving you’ll get from your employees.

Happier (and more productive) employees

Culture add increases workplace diversity, which helps employees experience different cultures and ways of living.

With a more inclusive culture, employees will be happier and more productive in their roles.

They’ll want to come to work because they’ll feel like valued members of the team.

Less bias

Hiring for culture fit risks bias creeping in. If hiring managers only hire people who think like them, over time it may lead to them overlooking talented candidates who think differently but are equally capable of doing the job.

When a team is already diverse, there’s less chance of bias taking over because more perspectives will be involved in the hiring process. Moreover, hiring managers will already be used to working with a range of different people.

Increased diversity

Many businesses these days have diversity targets. While these can sometimes feel like lip service, they actually work.

A study found that companies with gender diversity targets didn’t end up hiring incompetent women. Instead, it weeded out the incompetent men!

When you look for culture add, you’ll open your talent pool up to a much wider range of candidates.

You’ll get to embrace people’s differences and utilize the strengths that come with those new perspectives.

Improve your employer brand

High-quality candidates know their worth. They won’t apply for a role at a business where the culture feels unwelcoming or off to them. If something makes them uncomfortable when they’re going through the hiring process, they may drop out. Meaning the hiring process could take even longer.

A welcoming company culture, where you focus on culture add, creates a more welcoming work environment.

This comes across in how employees talk about you on review sites like Glassdoor, social media sites like LinkedIn, and among their peers.

Since one of the best ways to hire new talent is from employees’ networks, if they’re singing your praises, their peers will want to work with you. And if you’ve put the work in to create a diverse team, you’ll attract more diverse candidates, too. Your positive employer brand will give you an ongoing advantage in the talent market.

More revenue

Every business wants to make more money, right?

Well, companies that focus on culture add make more money. 33% more money, in fact.

This extra revenue could be used on business growth, employee development, talent acquisition, or even rewarding employees for their hard work with pay raises.


Culture add creates a better workplace culture and generates more revenue for businesses. It’s the next step beyond culture fit—finding people who complement your working environment, not just people who fit in because they think like everyone else.

Once you start hiring for culture add, it’s important to ensure your new team members feel welcome and included. That’s where Workrowd comes in.

Give your people one-stop shopping for everything culture and engagement, so they can find community and tap into what’s important to them from day one. Plus, with real-time analytics, you can stay agile and quickly make any changes needed to keep everyone thriving.

If this sounds useful for your organization, visit us online to learn more, or send us a quick note at

Company Culture

7 ways to improve employee communication for a better culture

Communication forms the backbone of pretty much everything we do in life. So it shouldn’t be any wonder that taking steps to improve employee communication can do wonders for your company culture.

The Dunning-Kruger effect occurs when people overestimate their skills or knowledge in a particular area. Frequently, this happens when they don’t have many skills or much knowledge on a subject.

This can also be true for the opposite end of the spectrum, where high performers underestimate their skills (imposter syndrome, anyone?).

Knowing how to communicate the good and the bad—and everything in between—is imperative for a better company culture.

It prevents written or verbal communication being misinterpreted, and ensures every employee knows what’s expected of them. This keeps everyone focused and boosts employee engagement.

So, how can you improve employee communication, and with it, your company culture?

Set an example

Employees follow the examples set by their superiors. If you want to improve employee communication, it starts by looking at how you communicate with employees from the top down.

How do you speak to them? Is it with respect and an open mind?

Do you subconsciously project your bad moods onto those around you?

If you’re not sure, ask your employees—at every level—for their feedback. How do they feel in your presence? When you send them an email? In a meeting?

If you want to get some really honest feedback, you could ask them to submit their comments anonymously. That way, you know you’re getting answers that will really help you improve.

When asking employees for feedback, be sure to act on it, even if you dislike what’s been said. Most business don’t act on feedback they get from their employee surveys, which leads to people feeling like they’re a waste of time.

To create a positive company culture, you have to show that you’re willing to listen to good and bad feedback, then make changes accordingly.

Create guidelines

Clearly explaining how employees should communicate helps everyone understand the best way to talk to their colleagues and grow the company culture.

Your people will be much more able to understand how to communicate if you show them examples in different contexts rather than telling them to do this or that.

The more examples you can show, the more employees will come to understand the types of communication that are the most effective in the workplace.

Remember: it’s a skill

Many people forget (or don’t realize) that communication is a skill. We have to actively work to get better at it.

Sometimes, we can learn bad communication habits from our family, friends, or job.

Every business has different expectations of their employees and how they work together. This results in every business having subtly different communication skills, and employees taking those with them when they leave and go somewhere new.

Teaching employee communication should therefore be treated like any other skill an employee might have to learn. 

Including it in your onboarding is a great way to show how you expect everyone to communicate in your business. It’s also one of the easiest ways to improve employee communication from day one.

Hold workshops

Another way to improve employee communication is by holding workshops. 

If you’re short on time, this could be a lunch and learn, or even a series of lunch and learns with each one focused on a different area, such as:

  • Spoken feedback
  • Written feedback
  • Writing emails
  • Effective meeting conduct
  • Storytelling
  • One-on-ones
  • Body language 

If you’re unsure, you could send an employee survey to get people’s thoughts on what areas of communication they’d most like help with.

Suggest some reading

Recommending a book is a subtle way to show your employees the kind of communication you want to encourage in your business.

When it’s a nonfiction book, it can also reflect your values and give employees key takeaways for the workplace.

An example is “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott. This book talks about how to effectively communicate in an open and honest way without causing offense.

You don’t have to share recommendations via a structured book club. That said, if you do, it’s worth setting up an employee group to connect everyone.

You could offer recommended reads as part of your onboarding process, or share a recommendation during a meeting.

To make these recommendations inclusive, try to only suggest books that are easy to read and have an audiobook available. Extra points if it’s available from libraries (or employees can request it to their library).

Encourage the use of plain English

Many people assume plain English means boring, but it doesn’t. What it actually means is cutting the fluff from your writing. 

Not the personality, but the long sentences; the in-depth descriptions; the sentences without punctuation.

All these things make your writing less accessible and harder for someone to understand. 

The most popular newspaper in the UK has an average reading age of eight, despite its audience being adults, for a reason. 

If you can make people do less mental work, even if your employees are highly educated, they’re more likely to understand what you say and take action. In turn, this will help them tailor their own writing, so you can improve employee communication on two fronts.

Don’t forget body language

It’s not just our words that speak—our body language does, too. However, we’re not always that good at interpreting it.

When I first started doing poetry readings, my university lecturer said that the audience will look disinterested not because they’re ignoring me, but because they’re concentrating. 

He was right. Eyes were closed; arms were crossed. I felt like I’d lost them. 

But at the end, they all smiled and clapped and complimented me. So they had been listening, even though they hadn’t been sitting on the edges of their uncomfortable plastic seats.

Body language can also be cultural, or even related to someone’s health issues. 

So, consider the bigger picture when judging someone based on theirs, and don’t make assumptions.

And don’t forget that your employees may misread your body language, too. 

For instance, if you sit with your arms crossed, they may see you as defensive or inaccessible. It could be that you’re really just cold though because you sit under the AC!


Effective employee communication is at the heart of every business. The more you seek to improve your communication skills, the more your employees will follow your example and get better at communicating with each other, too.

If you want to improve employee communication in an organic way, giving your team additional space to interact and grow is important. If people only interact with their direct team, they’ll only learn that one communication style. Connecting everyone through an all-in-one hub ensures employees interact with a wider circle of colleagues.

Plus, Workrowd makes it easy for team members to start initiatives that improve employee communication like Toastmasters groups, lightning talks, and more. If this sounds useful for your workplace, visit us online to learn more, or send us a note at

Company Culture

6 ways to build psychological safety in the workplace

During the pandemic, only a quarter of employees felt they had psychological safety in the workplace. Burnout, stress, and feelings of loneliness all increased.

When six in ten employees feel psychologically safe, and able to voice their opinions, businesses can experience a 27% reduction in staff turnover and a 12% increase in productivity. 

It also means employees experience 74% less stress, 29% greater life satisfaction, and 76% higher engagement at work.

And psychological safety in the workplace also makes it 67% more likely that workers will apply any newly learned skills to their jobs.

What is psychological safety?

Psychological safety in the workplace looks like people feeling comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, asking questions, admitting mistakes, and taking risks at work, without fear of negative consequences.

When employees feel able to speak up and make mistakes, they’re happier in their roles and less likely to leave. They’re not spending their working days on edge, waiting for someone to snap at them over a minor error.

How to build a psychologically safe work environment

No-blame culture

A no-blame culture means that if a mistake happens, nobody gets blamed or scapegoated. 

The team analyzes the mistake, takes away any learnings from it, and makes changes going forward.

Employees continue to feel able to share constructive feedback with their colleagues. Their mental health doesn’t take a hit out of fear for their futures, either.

As a result, high-performing teams stay high-performing and the psychological safety in the workplace remains.

The Mercedes F1 team is famous for its no-blame company culture. Watching their seven-year winning streak come to an end over the past couple of years has tested this approach. Plus, their new car design has significantly impacted their performance in the championships.

Despite this, nobody blamed or fired anyone on the team.

Instead, they simply moved people around the company to find roles that better fit them. 

When asked about the team’s no-blame culture, Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, explained: “The human mind is structured in a way that when something happens, when a problem comes up in the race, or a part fails, human nature will always be ‘it’s your fault,’ because that allows me to release pressure. Understanding that is an important first step that is just the pressure release valve for yourself.”

He continued: “It’s important to recalibrate yourself, recondition yourself, and then say okay, what has actually gone wrong? And only if you’re calm and reflected, but also an emotional leader, will people be able to come out of their hiding spaces and say, ‘I think we should have done that better or this better.’ I think this is a very important ingredient to make the team progress. To uncover every problem that’s come up and not blame the person.” 

Listen to everyone’s opinion—and encourage employees to voice theirs

Not everyone is comfortable voicing their opinions at work. Especially if someone has reprimanded them in the past for doing so, either at their current or a previous job. The only way that will change is if they experience psychological safety in the workplace.

Taking employees’ suggestions, and making a habit of doing so without allowing someone else to take credit for them, will further help employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

If they feel like someone else will get the credit, or like people won’t listen to them, they’re less likely to make suggestions and more likely to retreat into themselves.

Support risk taking

Employees need to feel like they can take risks, or suggest taking a risk, without being penalized for it.

Taking an attitude of “no suggestion is a bad suggestion” opens you up to a wider range of ideas. Even just one of them could revolutionize your business.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question

Employees need to feel like they can ask questions without judgement. Otherwise, they’re less likely to seek out help when they need it. 

If they know there’s no bar for what is or isn’t a stupid question, they’re more likely to reach out. They’ll know they can safely ask colleagues or their manager to help them find the answers they need. 

If they get judged, talked about behind their back, or ignored for asking questions, they’ll be stuck for longer, feel worse in their role, and struggle even more when a bigger problem arises.

Encourage asking for help

Asking for help is one of the quickest ways to learn and grow. It’s often easier to get advice from someone we work with than to spend time researching something and trying to find the relevant information ourselves.

Not to mention asking for help is a good way for employees to meet team members from other departments. 

I’ve had bosses in the past say to me: “don’t come to meet with problems, come to me with solutions.” While I understand wanting employees to solve their own problems, it can create fear around asking for help. Which is exactly the opposite of building psychological safety in the workplace.

It should be acceptable for an employee to ask for help when they’re feeling stuck. They shouldn’t feel like they have to solve everything on their own. They should feel like their colleagues are there to support them.

Embrace everyone’s skills and talents

Every employee has a unique set of skills and talents that they bring to a role. If they don’t experience psychological safety in the workplace, they’re less likely to lean into those skills and talents. As a result, your business doesn’t get to benefit from them.

Instead, employees may find it harder to generate ideas or even think clearly. The pressure of having to adapt to fit into the workplace, rather than be who they are, will take its toll on their physical and mental health.

Psychological safety matters

Psychological safety in the workplace is a key building block for employee satisfaction and engagement. The safer employees feel in the workplace, the more you’re going to get out of them. Plus, it will be better for their long-term health and wellbeing.

If you want to increase psychological safety in the workplace, it’s important to have the right tools. Giving employees a one-stop shop for connecting with colleagues and finding important information lets them know they’re supported.

Plus, with real-time analytics, you can unlock new insights about how to further increase psychological safety in the workplace. If you’d like to learn more, drop by our site, or send us a note at

Company Culture

Boosting your employer brand with a better candidate experience

Your candidate experience has a huge impact on your employer brand. It affects how candidates feel about you and the types of reviews they leave online after going through the vetting process.

Negative reviews impact who’s likely to apply for future roles, so finding ways to mitigate them is important.

Here are five ways to improve your employer brand with a better candidate experience: 

Use a clear job title

Job titles like “ninja” or “rockstar” sound great, but part of being accessible means using clear language.

Sometimes, if the job title is for a ninja or a rockstar, it’s not clear what the role entails.

Saying that someone is an HR manager is a lot clearer than saying they’re a people guru, for example.

Being clear also helps with your visibility on job search sites and LinkedIn. Candidates search for keywords. This means if you’re not using those keywords, or they don’t see them in the job description or title, a great fit could end up not applying.

Don’t sugarcoat expectations

Sometimes, businesses can sugarcoat what’s expected of employees. Or, they might not go into detail about how stressful a role can be.

While you don’t want to tell them the role will be stressful (if it is, you’ve got bigger problems that need fixing), you do want to be upfront if it’s a fast-paced environment. Roles where things move quickly attract different types of people than those that move at a more leisurely pace.

For someone to be successful in a role, you need to clearly explain what success in the role looks like. Surprisingly few businesses do this, which means doing so is another great way to boost your employer brand.

Be honest about salary

Ever seen a job posting that just states “competitive salary” instead of what the actual budget for the role is?

Don’t do that.

From a business point of view, I get it. 

From a moral point of view, it’s frustrating for candidates to get to the end of a process and discover that you don’t have the budget to pay what they’re looking for.

Or to learn later that you had a higher budget but chose not to pay them that because their imposter syndrome or lack of confidence prevented them from asking for a higher salary.

Calling your pay “competitive” makes your business look opaque and old-fashioned.

It subconsciously suggests that you’ll pay candidates what they think they’re worth, not what you think they’re worth. You have a budget for the role, so why not just say that from the start?

Most of the time, I’ve found that when a business says the pay is competitive, what they actually mean is that they’re paying pittance.

I work as a freelance writer, and when I first started out and applied for roles where agencies or businesses said their pay was competitive, they usually charged a cent per word while expecting writers to churn out tens of thousands of words per month. That’s a whole lot of writer’s cramp for not a lot of pay.

Their focus was on volume over content quality. But as the industry changes, quality content will become increasingly more important than quantity.

To get the best hires and elevate your employer brand, you need to be upfront about your expectations and salary. It’s as simple as that.

Give feedback

If someone’s unsuccessful in applying, they’re 4 times more likely to try again for a future role if you offer feedback.

The best way for us to grow is through feedback. We can only get better when we know what to work on.

Despite how many candidates want feedback after an unsuccessful job application, 30% of candidates have been through at least one interview where they never heard back.

This leaves them with a more negative view of the company they wanted to work for. In other words, it can seriously damage your employer brand. It also means they’ll repeat the same mistakes whether they reapply to your business later or they apply elsewhere.

Be clear and helpful in your feedback, and don’t worry about adhering to certain sandwich-style comment structures.

You don’t have to go really in-depth, just provide a few bullet points explaining the strengths and weaknesses.

If it really did come down to someone else having more experience, candidates will still appreciate your honesty and transparency. Being communicative is a simple, but extremely significant thing you can do to bolster your employer brand.

Ask for feedback from candidates

As mentioned above, feedback is one of the best ways for us to learn and grow.

You don’t know what’s broken in your hiring process until you get feedback from people experiencing it. This is especially true from the folks who are unsuccessful.

There may be other ways of doing something that you hadn’t considered in the past. Or, your inclusivity could do with some extra work.

Likewise, if something is working really well, you want to make sure that you’re aware of it. That way, you don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

This can sometimes happen when attempting to improve things whether it’s a hiring process, a marketing plan, or a novel.

We need to know what’s good and bad about something so that we focus on growing our strengths and enhancing our weaknesses. This is certainly true when it comes to both your candidate experience and your employer brand.


The experience you provide candidates has a huge impact on your employer brand. It affects how the outside world feels about your business, and this can have a ripple effect. Especially if anyone who did experience your hiring process is particularly vocal.

We’re more likely to share negative experiences over positive ones. If you want to avoid negative publicity that can harm who you attract to future roles, you want to make the process as positive as possible.

The more positive it is, the more positively candidates will feel about you, even if their application is unsuccessful. They may then come back in the future to work with you and be the perfect fit.

If you’re ready to take your employer brand to the next level, it’s important to make sure your employee experience is something to be proud of. Making the most of your employee programs, groups, and events ensures candidates can easily see you have a great company culture.

With an all-in-one employee experience hub like Workrowd, you can connect all your tools to streamline processes and get more bang for your employer brand buck. Visit us online, or send us a note at to learn more.

Company Culture

The importance of work friendships, plus 10 ways to foster them

Just as in other areas of life, work friendships can drive a wealth of positive outcomes. Unfortunately, only 20% of US employees strongly agree that they have a best friend at work. 

This is a missed opportunity, because 21% of people believe that work friendships make them more creative. 22% feel more productive with friends, and 57% feel it makes work more enjoyable. So why do so few of us have work friendships nowadays?

It’s not always easy to foster work friendships in the modern world. This is especially true if you have a remote team or distributed workforce. So here are some strategies to support work friendships and reap the benefits for both employees and your bottom line:

Employee groups

Employee groups are one of the best ways to connect your team members with like-minded people. 

You can set up a group for anything. Whether that’s a location, a skill, a favorite TV show, pets, or something else. 

It’s then up to the group’s organizer(s) to set up activities and discussions for members to take part in. They’re totally flexible, which means there are infinite possibilities for you and your employees.

These communities can also go a long way towards furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion. For instance, employee resource groups are a great way to create spaces for team members with shared backgrounds, ethnicities, and/or life experiences to connect.

Pairing people for one-on-one chats

One-on-one chats are another easy way for people to get to know their colleagues. 

There are lots of approaches you could take to organizing this. From having an employee experience manager who connects people with similar interests, to a chat channel or krowd where people can request meetups, or even having managers play matchmaker.

Team activities

No, I don’t mean those terrible ice breakers that cause everyone to panic because they don’t know what to say, so they pay no attention to what anyone else is saying and it defeats the point of them. Instead, I mean fun activities that encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box thinking.

To find something that will resonate with your team, ask them what they’d like to do. 

Maybe it’s axe throwing, or darts, or archery. Or something that doesn’t involve sharp objects. (I keep getting ads for axe throwing at a new venue nearby, which is why it’s on my mind, in case you were worried about me for a minute.)

Providing opportunities to bond around shared experiences is a standard approach to fostering work friendships.

Book or film club

When we love something, we want to share it with others. Book clubs or film clubs are a great way to share those things with other people. I’ve made many friends from sharing a love of a particular book series, TV show, or film.

You could offer clubs for specific platforms or genres. That way employees know the people in that group are exposed to similar things and can offer other recommendations they may enjoy.

Watercooler chat

Talking about nothing in particular is often underestimated, but it can be an effective way to get to know someone. 

It doesn’t have to happen around a literal watercooler anymore, either. It can be a virtual one, in a digital space that’s designed for thoughts, observations, or anything else that’s unrelated to work.

Beyond collaborating on projects, simply chatting is the way work friendships have always formed.

Pet chat

Our dog is almost always present when I’m on a call because she gets FOMO if I close the door on her. As a result, she usually makes a cameo and says hi to everyone, particularly if she hasn’t met them before. 

Including her is a great ice breaker that puts everyone at ease. 

It’s a nice reminder that, no matter what the topic, we’re all human. And it doesn’t matter what your job is, your pet will never care so long as you can give them attention and food.

Providing a place for people to share about their pets is a great way to give colleagues insight into each others’ personal lives. This type of sharing that extends outside the bounds of the workplace is a great way to support work friendships.

Parenting chat

Parenting is hard. Having people who get it, who are going through it, or who’ve been there, can be key to staying sane. 

Why not put together a parenting affinity group? Or have regular conversations set up for people who want to discuss parenting life with other parents? 

You could take it one step further and have spaces for adoption, fostering, pregnancy, etc. These all come with unique challenges. Knowing you’re not alone when battling them can ease some of the strain and stress involved. This can make not only people’s work-lives easier, but also their home lives.

Health chats/talks

Being ill all the time—or even temporarily—really sucks. And most of the time, we don’t want to bog our colleagues or loved ones down by whining about how we’re feeling. 

Or, we get stuck in a negative cycle about our situation and end up feeling like we’ll never get better.

Having a safe space where employees can talk about their health challenges can really help them connect with people in similar situations, easing some of the emotional burden. 

With the right people in charge, it can encourage a positive atmosphere where employees can seek support and solutions, rather than spiral in their helplessness. 

The atmosphere is key, because long-term health challenges can eat you up inside if you’re not careful. 

But, if you can encourage people to treat each other with kindness and respect, it can be rewarding and insightful. And of course, work friendships can bring both mental and physical health benefits!


These can be really good for meeting new people. A team organizes it, explains the rules, then splits everyone up into small groups of no more than five people. 

Then, everyone gets to share a little about themselves and any challenges they may be facing, before deciding what problem or solution to work on. 

This encourages cooperation between teams, gives employees insight into other departments, and generates ideas that may not have otherwise appeared. Plus, the creation and collaboration process can build work friendships that extend beyond the surface.

Internal networking event

If in doubt, why not set up a good old-fashioned networking event at your HQ? Or somewhere near where many of your employees work?

They don’t have to be huge and expensive to put together (although they can be if you prefer). You don’t even need a speaker if you don’t want one. 

The key is to find somewhere with a comfortable atmosphere, some munchies, and a diverse group of people.


Work friendships are hugely powerful. The more you encourage employees to develop them, the happier they’ll be in their roles. And, the more your business will benefit as a result.

The world of work has changed, leaving many people feeling isolated. Accordingly, we need new ways of building up these connections.

An all-in-one platform like Workrowd gives employees a central place to connect across an array of interests and activities. Plus, real-time analytics make it easy to see what’s driving belonging and work friendships.

If you’re ready to tap into all the benefits that come from a more connected workforce, visit us online or drop us a note at today.

Company Culture

Employee groups to take your company culture to the next level

Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or office-based, employee groups can do a lot for your company culture.

Employee groups enable employees to get to know their colleagues beyond day-to-day work activities. This improves their social connections and benefits their mental health, making them happier in their roles.

Employee groups aren’t just good for employees, though. Businesses with solid employee groups save money on hiring. Their employees are more likely to stay, because they feel appreciated, valued, and accepted.

Since employees are happier, they’re also more productive, meaning that businesses can make more money and grow faster.

Phew, that’s a lot of benefits!

But which groups should you start with and why? Let’s take a look:

Location-based groups

No one knows somewhere like the locals. Bonding over a shared location can make close friends out of colleagues who are otherwise quite different.

Location-based employee groups can help employees expand their local network, discover new coworking places, find pet sitters, and even get restaurant recommendations.

They’re also great for team members traveling between offices who are looking for things to do or places to visit.

Book club

What someone reads can tell you a lot about them, but not always in ways you think.

For instance, horror fans tend to be some of the most laid-back people I know! Why? Because horror is great for facing fears. Facing fears in a safe environment, and channeling anxiety and adrenaline in this way, is a healthy outlet that can be good for our mental health.

Chatting about books is also a great way to connect with someone.

Sometimes, people want to read but don’t know where to get recommendations.

There are so many books published every year – around eight million! It can be scary knowing where to even start, especially if you’re not from a community where reading is a regular pastime. 

This was definitely me. I grew up in a town where most people didn’t read, so I had nobody to suggest books I might enjoy. Most of the books I read as a child and teenager were recommendations from my mom’s work colleagues who had children of a similar age.

Since things like remote working, busy lives, and just general life can make it harder for us to find people with similar interests or get recommendations, a book club can help employees find a new book, series, or author to teach them something new or help them escape for a little while.

TV and film 

TV shows and movies are another effective way for people to connect with a low barrier to entry. Think of this as a virtual form of water cooler chat.

Group leaders could even schedule virtual (or in-person) watch parties. That way, everyone can chat about what they’re watching in real time.

Mental health 

Our mental health can have a dramatic impact on our working lives, and vice versa. Enabling employees to discuss mental health in a safe space can really help them feel supported and understood. 

You could have a general mental health group, where you or other members share hacks to improve mental health and talk about some of the challenges. You could also have employee groups for different conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.

Physical health

Suffering from chronic physical health problems can be incredibly isolating.

Having a group dedicated to improving physical health, or maybe even groups for different conditions like chronic pain, menopause, or diabetes, gives team members who are dealing with these issues somewhere to discuss them with people who understand and may be able to offer advice. 

Even if someone can’t get advice, they’ll be able to share how they’re feeling. This will help to reduce those feelings of isolation and maybe even reduce their pain because they’re not suppressing it.

Mindfulness & meditation

To me, mindfulness is underappreciated and overhyped. No one ever really explains or explores the true benefits. They just say that meditation and mindfulness are good for you. But why?

Let’s take meditation as an example. It can lower stress levels, reduce chronic pain levels by up to 40%, make it easier to deal with difficult situations or emotions, improve our heart health, and help us concentrate. It may also help with things like ADHD, anger management, anxiety, and depression.

That’s not even all of the benefits. It’s no wonder people talk about it sometimes like it’s a wonder drug.

All that being said, it can be hard to know where to start if you’re new to mindfulness. A mindfulness/meditation group allows people to dip their toe in with a side of moral support and discussions on different types and techniques.

Public speaking 

Public speaking can be a necessary part of life, but not everyone is comfortable doing it. 

Having a public speaking group that’s led by a confident speaker, or someone working toward becoming one, can be a powerful way to show employees that it’s okay if they struggle. You’ve got a community-led way to support them.

Let’s not forget how much better it can make meetings when employees have the confidence to speak up, too. The more people who speak up during meetings, the more ideas you’ll get and the more problems you can solve.


One way to show your diversity and inclusion policy is more than just lip service is by having an LGBTQ+ group (or even individual ones if your company is that large). 

This helps LGBTQ+ employees connect with other people who understand them, can relate to them, and who can offer advice if needed.

People of color

A group—or groups—for people of color is another way to show you really care about diversity and inclusion. 

It allows BIPOC from different departments to get to know each other and support each other when they’re at work. This gives them more of a voice and helps attract more diverse candidates.


These are just some of the foundational employee groups that will show your team members you really do care about their wellbeing. Engaging in supportive employee groups will also encourage them to stick around long-term.

In large companies, you could split some of these into subgroups or chapters. Or, you could create even more groups on everything from hobbies to charitable causes.

The options of what you can create employee groups around are only limited by the types of employees you want working for you.

Are you interested in getting some employee groups up and running quickly and easily? Or do you want to take your current employee groups to the next level?

Workrowd’s tools for launching, managing, and measuring employee groups have you covered. Our user-friendly platform has everything you need to connect your team with a thriving community of employee groups.

Want to learn more? Drop us a line at We’d love to connect!

Company Culture

8 tips for building the best company culture for your team

Building the best company culture for your organization often requires big changes. This can be a real challenge, especially in older, more established, and larger companies. That doesn’t make it impossible, though.

Instead, what it requires is a lot of hard work, perseverance, and resilience. If you don’t have those things to start off with, changing company culture probably isn’t for you. 

If you really do want to build the best company culture for your organization though, read on…

Be honest with yourself

The first step to building the best company culture is the most uncomfortable one for any leader.

It’s time for some hard truths. What’s really not working for your company culture? Has it turned toxic? What are the signs?


  • How is underrepresented talent treated in their own words?
  • Do you have a diverse workforce?
  • How productive are your employees?
  • How much time do they spend off sick?

These are some questions that can work as jumping-off points to learning more about your culture. The most positive working environments are diverse, welcoming, productive, and lose fewer days to illness.

Get feedback (from current and exiting employees)

Getting feedback on your company culture can be incredibly enlightening. It’s especially helpful to hear from departing employees who’ve been burned or who are just brutally honest.

Many employees may feel uncomfortable being as upfront as you need them to be. Therefore, it’s important to be clear that there won’t be repercussions if they are honest—and make sure there aren’t!

Also, make sure that, if you get feedback through a survey, it doesn’t go to someone’s line manager. It should go straight to you or HR.

If someone has issues with their line manager’s behavior, it’s a sign of a toxic culture. However, they won’t feel they can be honest about that behavior if they’re sending the feedback directly to their manager.

This weird system also creates more work for already busy line managers.

Explore what others are doing

Talking to other business owners and seeing what they’re doing to build the best company culture for themselves can give you insight into how to create the type of culture you really want. 

Many businesses with a positive culture are open about it and share information on how to replicate it. 

HubSpot is a great example. They talk about their company culture on their blog, social media, and even on podcast interviews.

Make a statement

To show people you’re really serious about building the best company culture, it’s important to make a statement. What do you feel is wrong? What needs to change?

Most importantly, how do you plan to change it?

This last question is the step that many miss. Or, they bring in some expensive consultant who doesn’t really do much other than eat into their budget.

Politicians often make promises during elections to win votes, but they really don’t intend to implement the things they’re promising. Then, those promises end up not happening and voters turn against them.

Don’t let that happen in your business—have a clear plan for what changes you want to make, how, and when. You’ll get far more respect from people inside, and outside, of the business if you have these steps in place before you make a statement.

Or, if you need to say something ASAP, you could make a statement about changing things and apologizing for toxicity in the workplace. Then, invite feedback to help you form your plan, which you can announce in a future statement. 

Create new guidelines

Having clear guidelines that map out your new approach shows everyone what’s expected of them going forward and gives them a reference point.

Making it as accessible as possible with lots of headings and short paragraphs is key. You could even create a quick summary video for those who process things in a more visual or auditory way.

Set an example

Saying you’ll do things is all very well and good, but it’s important that you set an example. You need to be the one to follow your new guidelines first and foremost. If you don’t follow them, why should anybody else?

Hire new employees based on the culture you want, not what you have

This is why having new guidelines and setting an example is so important. It will help hiring managers to see what your business goals are and how they can help drive them.

If you want the best company culture, you have to engage the people who can help you implement change. This may mean bringing in new managers, as they’ll have a bigger influence over employees’ daily activities.

Once they’re in place, you need employees who want to work in a positive environment and can help foster it. They’re going to be the ones dealing with your customers every day. This means they need to be the ones with the right mindset and approach for things to really improve. 

Learn from your mistakes

Far too many people are afraid to own up to their mistakes, let alone learn from them. And that can lead to the demise of any business.

When you own up to your mistakes, you come across as relatable. Only if you know what you did wrong, admit to it, and plan to change things going forward, though.

Shifting the blame, or hiding from accountability, is not learning from your mistakes. It’s unhealthy, unfair, and can negatively impact brand trust, internally and externally.


Building the best company culture is a real challenge, but it’s an important part of modernizing a business. This is especially true for ones that may be more uncomfortable operating digitally, or that have developed a toxic work environment from hiring the wrong people for too long.

To change your business’s culture, it starts with finding out what the problem is. Speaking to your employees, particularly those who are paid the least or are part of an underrepresented group, will help you to see where the problems are and get suggestions on how to improve things.

Then, you can begin setting an example, detailing what you’d like to change and how you plan to change it.

Another important part of building the best company culture is creating a thriving ecosystem of employee groups, programs, and events, and putting them front and center for team members. Employees today want more than just a job, so make it easy for your people to access learning and development opportunities, social impact activities, affinity groups and clubs, and much more with Workrowd.

Our one-stop shop offers tools to get your culture on track, plus customizable, real-time analytics to keep it there. Drop by our site to learn more, or send us a note at We’d love to connect.