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Fostering Positive Workplace Culture

We were recently invited to present at PrintHustler 2018, a conference in Chicago for business owners in the apparel industry. They wanted us to talk about fostering positive workplace culture, and while we were thrilled to do so, it meant we needed to do some soul searching and think about all the things that make us who we are. We hope you might find our insight useful as you think you about growing the positive culture in your workplace. You can view the presentation in its entirety below.

Core Values

Have you thought about your business values lately? Here’s a list. Which terms resonate with you?

  • Integrity, idealism, courage, honesty, unselfish, self-discipline, self-respect, fairness, learning, teamwork, authenticity, respect, hard work, helpfulness, fun, caring
  • Celebrate differences that make each one of us unique and special
  • Social responsibility

If positive workplace culture is something your business lacks, chances are, a core value is missing. You need to dig deep and decide who you are and what you represent and then make sure each value is evident in your day-to-day.

New Hires

Want positive workplace culture? Then it is imperative to find people who aren’t just looking for work, but who are looking for work with your company. If you have employees that don’t fit your culture and aren’t representing your business, why are you keeping them? It’s important to remember that not every hire is going to be a fit.


Setting expectations early and often helps create positive workplace culture. You can set expectations with these tools:

  • A clearly defined job description.
  • Give each employee a handbook. Have them read it and review it with them.
  • Provide appropriate training. Even seasoned industry professionals will need to learn YOUR way of doing things.
  • Give your employees confidence with positive feedback and timely critique
  • Trust them.


If you’re hiring millennials or Gen Zers, remember that they’re looking for more than money. They want to feel they are a part of something larger. Ask for their input when it’s appropriate and allow them to participate in the growth and evolution of your vision. This tiny step towards a positive culture will go a long way!

Empowering Your Employees

Communication is key to a positive culture. Keep the lines open and allow your employees to be involved in client feedback and stories. Give them praise as much as possible and make your relationship personal (while maintaining boundaries) by caring about their lives outside of the shop.

Positive Environment = Positive Workplace Culture

And, Happy employees equal productive employees. What small things can you do to improve the environment in your shop? Here are a few ideas:

  • Celebrate birthdays
  • Reward outstanding work with a lunch
  • Allow employees to bring their kids to work from time to time – after all, they could be future employees!
  • Listen to music
  • Allow your employees frequent opportunities to provide feedback
  • Organize a contest, a field trip, or a happy hour.
  • Make them awesome t-shirts!

Social Media: A Window to your Positive Workplace Culture

If you aren’t using social media to grow your business – you need to be. Social media can benefit your employee recruitment and retention, engage current and potential clients, and allow you to connect to your community.

Awesome cultures aren’t built overnight but taking a few small steps towards defining your companies’ values and mission will greatly improve the atmosphere and quality of both employee and work at your company.

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