Written by: Candice Latham

When I was sitting at my graduation ceremony dressed in my cap and gown and absorbing the commencement speech, it never occurred to me just how important workplace culture is and how it will play a role in your success. Much of the motivation you hear is around things that are in your control- things like ‘work hard, dream big, solve problems and change the world.’ However, if you are placed in a workplace environment that is negative, it will be very difficult for you to show up as your best self.

People are like plants, there are certain elements that we need in order for us to grow. According to Forbes “A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce. Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced.” I am the newest person to join the team here at Next Stage and so far it has been the most positive workplace culture that I’ve been part of. (No, I am not just saying that because my manager will read this post, I truly feel this way.)

I haven’t always had the best work environments so I recognize the difference in a positive one. Like many millennials,  I value work teams that integrate purpose, lead with values and offer work-life integration – and I’m not the only one who feels this way. According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.” Here are 3 things that I believe make a positive workplace culture:

  1. The company lives by its values. Core values shape a company’s identity and priorities. One of my favorite values here at Next Stage is purpose. “We are called to this work.” There is something powerful about working at a company whose values align with your own values.  I have always enjoyed working with people who are purpose-driven – people who aren’t driven by just material success for themselves but want to use their gifts to help and serve others. Knowing that my daily contribution to the world is also helping make someone else’s life better in some way makes my heart smile.


  1. Ideas are heard and valued. Having our ideas heard provides a sense of belonging and makes employees feel like part of a team. Research shows that when people feel valued they show up to their jobs proud of the work they are doing. You show up each day and give your all because your daily actions are making a difference in the company. You aren’t just being told what to do because they say to do it, you understand why your role is important to the success of the company and are able to share new ways and ideas of making things happen. Your ideas and thoughts are celebrated rather than being undervalued or unappreciated. People are more likely to stay in a role where they feel as if their contributions are being recognized.


  1. Trust and collaboration are more important than ever. With so many companies switching to virtual work due to the pandemic, collaboration has become even more critical. No one likes to feel as if they are all alone, left to figure out everything on their own. Even a self-starter needs a little help every now and then so having a trusted colleague that we can reach out to creates a supportive culture where most employees thrive and strengthen company loyalty.

At Next Stage we believe that the integration of social good has untapped potential to help build strong, healthy cultures. Research shows that as Millennial and Gen Z workers age into the workplace and leadership roles, they strongly desire a stronger workplace culture – particularly in companies that live by their values. Next Stage is conducting a survey to see if social good contributes to a positive workplace culture experience in Charlotte. This survey is designed to help us better understand how emerging professionals in the area perceive nonprofits, business, and community giving. The responses we receive will help inform a study we’re releasing this April called ‘Profit & Purpose.’ Anyone who completes the survey will be entered to win a $250 gift card to Enderly Coffee Co. and Shelves Bookstore. Take our survey here.