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Creating a Positive Workplace for Your Associates

Derek Farnsworth, Jennifer L. Clark, Amanda Ruth, Chip Crawford, Allen Wysocki, Karl Kepner
Figure 1. 
Figure 1. 
Credit: Fuse/



A positive work environment can mean the difference between success and failure for an organization. There are many ways in which managers and supervisors can create positive workplaces for their associates. To begin, they must define what a positive workplace is by establishing good relationships, improving teamwork, and fostering innovations.

Definition of a Positive Workplace

A positive workplace may be considered as a place where associates (employees) are happy, feel that they contribute meaningful work, and are motivated toward a common goal (HRZone 2019; White 2002). There are many ways to create a positive workplace, including establishing and cultivating good relationships between managers and associates.

Creating a Positive Workplace

The manager-associate relationship is the variable that often has the greatest impact on associate performance (White 2002). It is important for managers to listen and communicate sincerely with their associates and provide positive reinforcement. Three ways to develop a sincere manager-associate relationship are balance, timing, and clarity (White 2002). Balance means having set standards for reinforcing actions. Timing means recognizing actions or achievements when they occur. Clarity means keeping praise simple and specific.

In addition, managers must also promote interpersonal relationships between associates. Teamwork increases productivity, quality, and customer service (SHRM, n.d.). It encourages associates to get involved and share information, which improves communication and the overall quality of the organization (Black, 2016). By working together, associates disseminate new information to each other, which can produce fresh insights and facilitate innovation (Kline, 2017).

Positive workplace relationships also can have external effects. Customer satisfaction can be increased by associates' ambiance—happy associates lead to happy customers (Black, 2016). It is common for management to overlook the associates and focus only on customers. It is easy for customers to spot dissatisfied associates. Therefore, it is important to create and maintain associates' morale to improve customer satisfaction and increase productivity (White 2002).

Mission Statements

The best way to create a positive interactive workplace is by creating a value-centered group mission statement that is endorsed by management. Workshops should be conducted on a regular basis to empower the mission statement and rewards and punishments should be used to enforce the mission statement.

Creating a Mission Statement

The goal of a mission statement should be to establish a set of values that all of the associates will respect and follow (Creighton, 2018). Management should identify the values and goals that the associates have for the company and reinforce those values and goals. It is important that all of the associates participate in the process and agree to the mission statement.

Endorsing a Mission Statement

It is important for management to endorse the mission statement and be held accountable for its success (Creighton, 2018). For example, everyone employed in the company should be encouraged or required to attend regular meetings and workshops to show their support of the mission statement.

Reinforcing a Mission Statement

Company documents and policies are not effective unless practices are enforced. Therefore, after creating the mission statement, meetings and workshops should be held on a regular basis to discuss the company's progress in applying the shared values. For example, interactive workshops could quickly gather associate feedback to promote participation and a sense of teamwork within the company.

Only after the mission statement has been established and thoroughly communicated should rewards and punishments be considered. Evaluating participation can easily be incorporated into job plans and performance appraisals. Associates should be able to list ways they are reaching the goals of the mission statement. According to SHRM (n.d.), associates become team players when the team's values are clearly established and appealing to them. Those who support the mission statement should be recognized and rewarded, while those who refuse to participate should be warned and then penalized if their participation does not increase. If the associate's refusal to participate affects company morale, termination may be necessary.


Creating a positive workplace is critical to a company's success. It is important for managers to define a purpose, set clear goals, and use appropriate positive reinforcement to motivate associates (White 2002). One way to do this is by creating and enforcing a mission statement that is beneficial to both associates and customers (Lavoie, 2017). By defining acceptable behavior and vigorously facilitating a harmonious environment, management creates a positive workplace environment that can benefit everyone (Creighton, 2018).


Black, A. 2016. 5 tips for a positive work environment. Leighton Interactive.

Creighton, K. 2018. Make your organization's mission about employees. HR Daily Advisor.

HRZone. 2019. Reward and recognition: the changing expectations of employees.

Kline, Kenny. 2017. How to communicate with your team more effectively.

Lavoie, A. 2017. How to engage employees through your company vision statement.

SHRM (n.d.) Developing and sustaining high-performance work teams. Society of Human Resource Managers. Toolkit.

White, T. 2002. The human element. One more time: Tell me about motivation.

Publication #HR012

Release Date:October 8, 2020

Reviewed At:January 18, 2024

Related Experts

Wysocki, Allen


University of Florida

Kepner, Karl

University of Florida

Farnsworth, Derek


University of Florida

Clark, Jennifer L


University of Florida

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is HR012, one of a series of the Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2002. Revised July 2019. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Derek Farnsworth, assistant professor; Jennifer L. Clark, senior lecturer, Food and Resource Economics Department; Amanda Ruth, former graduate student; Chip Crawford, former graduate student; Allen Wysocki, associate dean and professor; and Karl Kepner, emeritus professor, deceased; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Derek Farnsworth
  • Jennifer Clark
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