A healthy team culture is paramount to a strong organization. When team culture goes toxic, the performance of the business suffers.

Toxic team culture has different shapes. From WeWork canceling its IPO due to Adam Neuman’s drug abuse, or Travis Kalanick’s sexual scandals getting him kicked out of Uber, all the way to Goldman Sachs forcing its junior bankers to work 90 hours a week. Changes in senior management have put these companies back on track. But that’s an expensive solution.

In fact, employee turnover can cost up to 2 times their yearly salary. But, an employee that stays for years at your organization becomes a valuable asset. The economic value of employees comes over time. After the employee has been onboarded, trained, and connected emotionally with the company and her peers.

That is something that Google, Apple, Satya Nadella’s Microsoft, and more forward-thinking organizations such as GitLab have understood.

At Watermelon, we’ve spoken with dozens of CEOs and HR leaders to dig deep into this. Here we have our key findings:

Embrace a growth mindset

People have dreams. They might be at point A right now but they want to be at point B. Trace the line for them. Give them a clear path towards growth. Provide them with a high-octane dose of optimism.

The happiness derived from a salary increase lasts the inappreciable amount of time of 15 days. Whereas a clear path towards growth is much more retentive.

Provide clear guidelines for a career path. For example; explain to a junior engineer how she can later become a senior engineer, later engineering manager and VP of Engineering. Also allow people to make horizontal moves. For instance, allow product designers to become frontend developers, or ops people to go into HR.

Also, allow people to extend their role. An engineer who understands sales becomes unstoppable. A marketer who knows how to build SQL queries will take much more impactful decisions.

Provide psychological safety

Basecamp banning political talk at work is a perfect example of a group of founders wanting to do the correct thing, but not turning out well. A third of their employees resigned due to the decision. It all reduces to the fact that employees lost psychological safety. Basecamp had a culture known for being the “woke person’s company”, and they lost that reputation.

People want to be themselves at work. In fact, you’ll be traversing the extra mile if you allow them to be an exaggerated version of themselves.

Do not ban conversation topics at work. Do more one-on-ones. Be more receptive to feedback. This is all easier said than done for sure, there’s no silver bullet. Don’t need to be friends with your employees, it’s a job. But being familiar with how they communicate and where they wanna go is a must.

Be diverse and inclusive

There’s a galore of benefits for being a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Companies generate larger revenues, they innovate more, they increase their sense of belonging, and the whole shebang.

Be adamant about going beyond your mandated quota.

Invest on Employee Engagement

This is the biggest component of the emotional salary. You don’t join a company for the sole purpose of earning a big paycheck. You also do it to meet awesome peers and increase the quality of your network.

Publicly praise employees. Give them birthday presents. Organize company off-sites. Do highly-engaging team culture exercises.

Finally, give employees the opportunity to discover serendipitous connections with co-workers they don’t know yet. In fact, we can help you do that with Watermelon. Install our Slack add-on and let your employees enjoy each other more. Let them discover common interests they have with their peers.