Questions That Promote A Positive Workplace Culture

10 Powerful Questions to Focus Your Bold New Vision

“Every choice you make leads you away from your vision or moves you toward it.” ~ Patti Digh

Are you interested in cultivating a more positive workplace culture?

Chances are that most leaders will answer “yes” to this, but achieving it is easier said than done.

A new vision is always exciting, but you need a clear path to achieving it. The culture within and between teams at work is inextricably linked with successfully achieving your vision and goals.

If creating a better place to work is a priority, here are a few questions to consider.

What do we want our culture to be?

This simple question was the starting point for a bold new vision for Baptist Healthcare (BHC), an organization that led the way in creating a workplace where wellness was possible, and who reaped benefits:

  • higher employee satisfaction
  • lower turnover
  • greater patient satisfaction
  • lower patient mortality.

All of this landed BHC in the top 25 on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Places to Work For in America. Not just for one year, but the past 19 years running!

Here’s what one employee said about BHC in 2020: “Baptist Health treats their employees as a family, constantly striving to improve the workforce. I am honored to work for such an incredible company.” (Fortune magazine)

What makes wellness possible?

“To achieve a new vision of true wellness in your organization, you must first imagine it, then record it, and then communicate it broadly.” ~ Al Stubblefield, Past CEO of Baptist Health

When I refer to workplace wellness, I’m not talking about “pre-packaged” wellness programs, which is one way that organizations try to tackle the issue.

A free lunchtime yoga or fitness class is a great idea, but there is a lot more value in determining how you can create a culture where people can be their best in all aspects of well-being:

  • Psychological health
  • Social balance
  • Emotional wellness
  • Physical health
  • Spiritual health

Improving wellness could start with something as simple as addressing sleep deficits in employee assessments and offering a more flexible schedule if possible.

Questions That Promote A Positive Workplace Culture

Who are we when we are at our best?

To facilitate a more positive workplace culture, it is helpful to look back on earlier successes.

Your team has probably been through tough times before, yet demonstrated resilience and perseverance.

How did you work together in those times? What qualities helped to keep the team together and working well?

What do we believe in and value?

Organizational values are important to consider if you are building a better vision for a positive workplace culture. And although you may see values like integrity, equality and accountability listed on every company website, they are meaningless if they have not come from the employees themselves and been discussed in a meaningful way.

One team I led decided on these four values when we spent time in a retreat together to really dig deep into what we valued. We described why each one resonated with us.

  • Connection – our work is about connecting people with ideas.
  • Passion – we are fueled by our passion for creating a better workplace.
  • Generation – we celebrate innovation and the generation of new ideas.
  • Family – as a team, we work together like a family, trusting each other, speaking our truth and most importantly, having fun.

Having an assessment of how well these are incorporated into day-to-day activities and tasks could help you understand what needs improvement. Consider hiring a professional facilitator to get help with this.

What is our purpose?

Transforming your organization towards a more positive workplace culture starts with a clear understanding of an organization’s mission and purpose. It considers how each person’s “life” purpose fits with that of the organization.

What practices will help each person be clear about their priorities?

Your bold new vision for a better workplace culture depends on your ability (and that of others that work with you) to self-reflect and prioritize.

Consider having a regular self-reflection practice and encouraging employees and colleagues to do so as well. Ask questions such as:

  • What can you practice daily, that will help you stay clear about your priorities?
  • Are your blinders on about certain things?
  • Are you able to give and constructively receive feedback?
  • Are you getting enough sleep/exercise/rest to focus well each day?
  • What specific things are you doing that are contributing to the greater purpose of this organization?

How can we build on our strengths?

Building a positive workplace culture truly starts with a clear assessment of each person’s strengths, then the strengths of your teams, and finally, on how everything contributes to the greater good.

What takes our team (or organization) into downward spirals of negativity or vicious cycles?

It can be so easy to get caught up in venting, negativity, and frustration at work. Of course, there needs to be space for all kinds of feedback.

But is it possible to frame conversations and feedback more constructively?

Try to encourage your team to catch themselves if going down a rabbit hole of complaining and instead consider constructive feedback.

What practices can move us into positive upward spirals or resilient cycles?

Practices that promote positivity at work include gratitude, mindfulness, and meditation.

More resilient, effective teams are developed through practices of creating clear purpose and objectives, holding positive meetings, and learning to do effective team debriefs.

Let Me Help You Build a Positive Workplace Culture

What is your bold new vision for better workplace culture?

Asking powerful questions is the starting point for creating that vision, and positive practices are the key to achieving it.

I love working with leaders to help radically shift workplace culture so that everyone can flourish.

Get started by ordering your copy of A Better Place To Work: Daily Practices That Transform Culture or booking a consultation.

Did you like this article? Here are three more that could be helpful:

How Asking Better Questions Can Change Your Perspective and Shift Workplace Culture
Improve Workplace Culture Through Better Conversations
Rowing A Weary Boat: Leading Your Team Through Rough Seas

This article was originally published in 2017, but updated in 2021 just for you!

Deborah Connors

Deborah Connors teaches leaders to radically shift culture so that people can flourish. She is an engaging speaker, storyteller, author and coach.

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