The Manager's Role in Providing a Supportive Work Environment

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Creating a supportive work environment means giving employees feedback, flexibility, and freedom over some of their work. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the manager's role in building a supportive workplace.

Being Supportive

Adrienne has had a difficult morning at work. Her manager allows her to work from home the remainder of the day.

Adam's partner, who was scheduled to help him deliver a critical presentation tomorrow, has the flu. Another member of his team steps up and volunteers to help.

Alice has just finished her master's degree and isn't sure which direction she wants to go next at work. A chat with a mentor over lunch gives her some clarity.

For Adrienne, Adam, and Alice, the importance of a supportive work environment cannot be overstated. In each scenario, each employee was given the assistance and encouragement necessary to get them through the day, through the presentation, or through a challenging career decision.

A supportive work environment offers numerous benefits for the employee and the employer. For the employee, it means going to work everyday where not only your performance, but your well-being is accounted for. It means having managers who make time to help employees grow both personally and professionally. It fosters loyalty and working relationships in a healthy, pleasant environment.

For employers, it means current employees are more likely to be loyal to your organization, which means turnover rates go down. A supportive work environment cultivates an atmosphere that attracts the best talent because people want to work in a supportive environment. Employee performance and, therefore, organizational performance will operate at a high level.

We spend one-third of our lives at work. Why wouldn't you want it to be in a supportive place where employees feel appreciated, stress is kept to a minimum, and growth on all levels is important? In this lesson, we're going to take a look at some of the characteristics of a supportive work environment.

What Does a Supportive Work Environment Look Like?

A supportive work environment is one where job performance and emotional, physical, and mental well-being are valued. Here are some components of a supportive work environment.


Support workplaces are attuned to sensitivity matters that might make employees feel uncomfortable or less than their best selves. When an employee feels comfortable to be who they are, whether that pertains to race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation, they will also feel more comfortable performing their duties. A focus on diversity and inclusiveness in an organization establishes a stress-free work environment where morale is high and tensions and absenteeism are low.

Team Approach

Being a part of a team helps employees see that everyone is working toward a shared goal. It means having the support system around you that's necessary to brainstorm ideas, ask questions, get feedback, and perform well. A team approach to the work environment cherishes the ideas, education, and experience of all employees. Trust is built when each member of the team owns their responsibilities and contributes equally to successful outcomes.

Positive Feedback

Everyone likes to get a pat on the pack occasionally, and giving positive feedback is a great way to do that. Giving positive feedback builds an employee's confidence and self-worth. It also provides a foundation for improving future performance and is a tool for growth and learning. Positive feedback motivates employees to work harder and invest in their careers.


A mentor, someone who has achieved career success, can be a one-person support system to a worker who needs someone to talk to about their career aspirations, personal life, and even daily tasks. Managers should encourage employees to seek out mentoring relationships and provide opportunities for it to happen. Employees who have this opportunity are able to make decisions more confidently and become more well-rounded in their role.

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