'Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive' By HBR

Written By Liz Hunt & Ta Corrales

Published Dececember 1, 2020

a woman and a man hold a tray while surrounded by racks and racks full of fresh-baked croissants (photo credit: harvard business review)

'Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive' is an article by HBR about managing people and workplace well-being.

Excerpt: In sum, a positive workplace is more successful over time because it increases positive emotions and well-being. This, in turn, improves people’s relationships with each other and amplifies their abilities and their creativity. … When organizations develop positive, virtuous cultures they achieve significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness — including financial performance, customer satisfaction, productivity, and employee engagement.

Liz’s perspective... “Well-being comes from one place, and one place only — a positive culture.” The bulk of my career was spent in companies with incredibly high-pressure cultures, and sadly I’ve personally experienced more than once all the harmful costs listed in this article (stress-related health issues, disengagement, and turnover). The culture we’ve been creating at Smith Assembly is in many ways the antithesis of those I experienced earlier in my career. I was pleased to see that coincidentally Ta and I formalized five of HBR’s six essential characteristics for a positive workplace culture in our founder’s agreement, and have consistently fostered all of those characteristics as well as their four recommendations for leaders in our day-to-day work. It’s validating to find an HBR article that so thoroughly supports our company’s approach to business.

Ta’s perspective... “Foster social connections. Show empathy. Go out of your way to help. Encourage people to talk to you.” These are the 4 actions this HBR article recommends for fostering a positive work culture. It is no surprise to me that these actions are in many ways the basis of community building too. As social beings, our communities, including our work communities, provide many of us with a sense of purpose. And like in any other communities, we need positive environments to thrive. Through our work with Smith Assembly, Liz and I aim to facilitate tools and resources that can help workers create healthier, more positive cultures, leveraging our experiences as community and ecosystem builders throughout the globe.