Workplace culture plays a vital role in the overall performance and satisfaction of employees in an organisation. It’s the personality and character of your organisation, so it’s one of the significant factors that employees consider when applying for jobs. Understanding what workplace culture is can help you impact happiness and improve your employee’s performance. In this article, we discuss what workplace culture is, its importance and tips on creating a positive workplace culture.

What is a Workplace Culture?

Your workplace culture is the shared set of values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that guide your organization. It’s reflected in the way you treat your customers and employees. It impacts the types of candidates you attract for open positions. 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. And, most importantly, a positive workplace environment reduces stress in employees.

Workplace culture will naturally form within every organization and sometimes to the detriment of the business. Allowing negative behaviors and toxic attitudes to fester will cultivate an unfavorable work experience — and an expensive one too.

Every organisation has its personality and atmosphere – and that’s not something easy to engineer.

Culture is the very air you breathe. If it’s toxic, your organisation dies.

Why Workplace Culture is Important

How, exactly, will a positive workplace culture affect your bottom line? Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect to see if you invest in building a strong culture.

1. Employee Well-being

Does your organisation value mental health to the same degree as physical health? Workplace culture has a significant impact on employees’ well-being, and the global pandemic has compelled employers to put more thought into keeping workers safe and healthy.

Many organisations have moved to remote working and installed measures to give their people a better work-life balance, including flexible hours based around childcare. This can help staff feel supported and valued.

2. Employee Performance and Productivity

Workplace culture influences the way people perform, which, ultimately, can directly impact your bottom line. A happy, supportive workplace energizes people to come to work each day and boosts mood and concentration. Organisations with stronger cultures are generally more successful and have high productivity levels.

In fact, happy workers are 13% more productive than unhappy ones, according to research by Oxford University.

3. Recruitment

Organisations with a positive workplace culture and brand identity are more likely to attract the right talent. Having a website that clearly defines your core values and objectives makes it easier for job candidates to weigh up whether they’d be a good fit for your business. It’s also your opportunity to convince top talent that your values and your culture are the right ones for them.

4. Engagement and Retention

A positive workplace culture is one that values its people and their contribution to the success of the business. Employees who feel they’re part of a community rather than a cog in a wheel are more likely to stay with an organisation. Companies with healthy cultures are 16 times more likely to retain their Generation Z employees. This not only leads to long-term loyalty but also cuts the costs involved in continually having to recruit new talent.

5. Teamwork

The most successful organizational cultures bring together people from all backgrounds and nurture a sense of team spirit. Even people with very different outlooks and personalities can gel if they have a common purpose to get behind. The highest performing teams are increasingly insisting that diversity of all kinds is critical for success.

A thriving collaborative culture can break down boundaries between teams. On the flip side, a toxic environment can make employees selfish and cultivate a blame culture.

6. Quality of Services

A healthy culture motivates people to strive for the best quality in their work. It’s easier to get the most out of people who feel comfortable at work and are empowered to make decisions. This builds a high-performance culture that strengthens the whole organisation and helps to ensure products and services meet the highest standards.

7. Reputation

We’ve all seen posts on job boards and social media sites giving companies a hard time. Many of these come from ex-employees. People judge organisations based on their interactions with them, and a negative image can do a lot of damage. Businesses with a strong social conscience who follow ethical working practices and support staff well-being tend to attract more business and the best talent.

How to Create a Positive Workplace Culture

Creating a positive workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that evolves and changes with every interaction with working life. But, to get you started, try focusing on these key things.

1. Establish Clear Ethics and Values for the Organization

To have a set of clear organizational core values that are communicated effectively and discussed with the employees so that they feel part of it is important. It is the commitment that an organization or a company makes to certain policies and actions, such as “going green” or “social change”. Stating this in the mission statement, brand story or in marketing and promotional material is not enough. It is crucial that demonstrable actions are taken regularly so that the employees feel an individual and personal responsibility towards these values. This will ensure that they can evaluate their own attitudes towards these positive core values, and take pride in them. Positive attitudes and positive actions make for a positive workplace culture.

2. Set Clear Departmental and Organization’s Goals 

Outline the objectives of each team so employees have tangible results to work toward. Not only will this help guide individual performance, but it will encourage collaboration between team members. Make sure there is room for feedback to adjust quotas and KPIs when needed. For example, if a team is continually reaching their objectives without breaking a sweat, you might want to modify their target goals to push production further.

In addition to setting departmental goals, make sure every employee is clear on the organization’s long-term objectives. This will help individuals cultivate a sense of professional purpose. Having a source of motivation beyond quarterly quotas will demonstrate the value each role has toward achieving the company’s mission.

3. Foster Collaboration and Communication

Leadership and management style that encourages teamwork, open and honest communication is vital to creating a positive feeling in the workplace. Open and honest communication also means that regular audits are taken to evaluate how people are interacting with each other, feedback is welcomed and taken on board, and opportunities for social interaction are enabled. These can include coffee mornings, team getaways and family weekends. This gives an opportunity for team members to nurture and foster connections outside of work. Continued learning opportunities enabling team members to assess their inherent unconscious and implicit biases that can impact their interactions with other employees are crucial. Also, strict no tolerance open door policies and complaint procedure for workplace bullying is crucial for creating a positive collaborative environment.

4. Create an Inclusive Work Environment

A positive workplace is one where all the employees are valued, supported and nurtured irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or color. All employees should have equal opportunities to progress and equal access to all the perks and rewards on offer. An inclusive workplace is one that values individual differences in the workforce and makes them feel welcome and accepted. Include signage that supports inclusivity, is clear and positive. Language can create confusion and miscommunication. Careful use of language that reinforces the gender-conscious and inclusive ethos, such as that emphasizing the function of space rather than the gender identity of users is important.

5. Create an Employee Recognition Program

Whenever employees achieve their set goals, it’s best that you reward them as a sign of appreciation and recognition. When employees get rewarded, they feel valued and also get motivated to perform better. Be sure to learn various reward methods and understand each employee to help you give effective rewards.

6. Create a Comfortable Workplace

Most employees spend a lot of hours at work. It’s crucial that they feel comfortable to motivate them to work and feel valued. For example, provide a comfortable working chair and desk to protect them from getting back and neck pains. In addition, you can decorate the office with items such as office plants to make it more habitable or welcoming.

7. Allow for Humor 

Work has its stressful moments and being able to make a difficult situation more lighthearted is an invaluable skill. Of course, the ultimate goal should be to resolve the problem, but a fresh perspective and positive outlook is more productive than the alternative. As Dale Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer, said, “People rarely succeed unless they are having fun in what they are doing.” If you can afford to find the bright side and let your team know that you have their back, they’ll return the favor by working even harder.

8. Accept and Utilize Your Employee’s Feedback 

In fact, try to change your perspective on feedback. Rather than considering it to be indicative of something you’re doing wrong, think of it as the opposite — your employees care so much about the organization and its success that they are trying to help make it better. They’re choosing to bring their pain points to your attention and it gives you the opportunity to fix them instead of the employee stewing over them and eventually leaving the company out of frustration.

9. Be Flexible 

Life happens and things will get in the way. Employees shouldn’t fear repercussions for taking time to manage other emergencies or responsibilities outside of work. For example, if an employee is struggling to balance work with their family life, try to figure out a compromise that allows them to be productive at work without sacrificing their personal life. You’ll earn the respect of your employees rather than the reputation of being unaccommodating and unapproachable. Not only that, but flexible schedules can help you attract elite candidates; 88 percent of people would consider a lower-paying job over a higher-paying job if it offered flexible hours.

10. Be Transparent 

Engaged employees invest their full selves into the success of the company, and they deserve your leadership team’s trust. Promote transparency and open communication between department heads, management and team members. Doing so will create a positive work culture where employees feel heard and valued. Consider implementing a recurring internal newsletter to share critical information with the team, and hold a monthly town hall meeting to make company-wide announcements that require more context.

11. Focus on Learning and Development

Great workplace cultures are formed by employees who are continually learning and companies that invest in staff development. Training initiatives, coaching, and providing employees with new responsibilities are all great ways to show your team that you’re invested in their success.

Wrapping It Up

Do you have a strong company culture? Or do you want to improve your culture according to your company’s ideologies?

If yes! Then this is how you can build a great company culture. All you need is perseverance and belief in your vision, and determination to adapt to any unwelcoming change.

Furthermore, a positive culture in the workplace is essential for fostering a sense of pride and ownership among the employees. When people take pride, they invest their future in the organization and work hard to create opportunities that will benefit the organization. By identifying and rewarding those who are actively striving towards creating a positive work culture, and supporting others around them, companies can encourage others to do the same. Positive attitudes and behavior in the workplace are the direct results of effective leadership and a positive management style.

Do you need help with coaching your leadership and management team? Feel free to contact us here to find out how we can help you.

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