Culture is found in everything we do. The culture we find in the workplace is created uniquely by the business and is formed predominantly on similar beliefs, values and traditions.
Defining company culture is hard, it’s largely concept-based and requires fluidity and agility when the business needs to do so. The culture we wish to surround ourselves in at work doesn’t predominantly stem from senior management or a hierarchy of executives.
Rather it’s determined and moulded by the people we employ, the physical environment we create and a combination of leadership and management. A solid workplace culture helps us to develop a work ethic, build solid relationships and promotes happiness, morale and overall well being.
Why is workplace culture important?
Workplace culture is important because it promotes a happy environment. A happy culture is just as important as your business needs because employees who feel comfortable and respected are more likely to perform better.
Workplace culture is a two-way street. It strengthens or undermines a business’s beliefs and ethos far more than a lot of company’s realise. Surveys present 88% of employees believe a solid workplace culture is imperative to the success of an organisation.
Company culture is important for a number of reasons:
It is known that job satisfaction isn’t entirely proportionate our salary, how much we enjoy what we do day to day or the benefits. A lot of it comes down to the environment we faced with every day.
Offices and workplaces can become unbearable communities if not managed or maintained correctly. This can diminish our work-life balance and eventually drive good employees away. Company culture defines who we are within an organisation, and it gives us meaning and purpose to our job.
It has been proven that happy employees work harder and are more inclined to go the extra mile when their hard efforts are recognised and rewarded. A stressed or uninviting workplace can quickly become toxic and difficult, the workforce feel undervalued and overlooked. Whereas a healthy community results in relaxed members of your team and is less likely to impact or stunt our performance whilst at work.
Attracts new talent.
When we set out in search of a new job, whilst we want a role that fits our experience, interests, and needs, we are equally drawn to perks and benefits. We aren’t completely sold on the salary, we want a package, we want to know we are entering a strong culture. Not only does this attract new talent but it helps retain existing employees. A mix of the people we are surrounded by and the aesthetic of the office talks to us immediately about the culture. Employees want to work in a relaxed environment.
What Makes a Good Workplace Culture?
Studies present that 94% of senior management believe workplace culture is vital to their working environment. Whilst most agree that a clearly defined business strategy helps guide a positive company culture, fostering it is the hardest part.
Working for a business doesn’t just depend on how equipped each team member is for their job. Creating a culture can be likened to that of a puzzle. Company fit, beliefs that resonate, and solid leadership all play vital parts. Marrying of the following aspects enable us and the entire workforce to work together, comfortably.
First and foremost, leadership. Leadership plays a vital part in creating a company culture that can lead by example.
Leadership skills are a mixture of making decisions, how they navigate, celebrate and deal with stress. And lastly how they steer their teams in the right direction, together. Leadership is about seeing the end goal and working with your team to get there together, bringing out the best of each individual member.
Management adds structure. A kingdom without a king can be dangerous and quick to fall. Management can set systems, procedures, hierarchy and business goals.
The consistency of management gives staff the ability to fit to a culture they enjoy to be a part of. Good management isn’t about being good at your job, it’s about leading by example, setting a standard they expect and would like from their staff whilst allowing space for support and interaction. Strong management doesn’t need to be strict to be good but it does need to be balanced to create a healthy work culture.
Policies and Philosophy
Policies exist in all workplaces. They include dress code, code of conduct, hours, attendance as well as compensation. If there is a structure amongst your business’s policies and philosophy, a positive culture can be enforced and practiced.
Individuals shouldn’t be discouraged to show their personality yet understand to what degree business margins lie. Employees should share the businesses’ philosophy without it engulfing their personal identity.
Selections, hiring, rewards, recognition, benefits and onboarding are all part of a business’s process. Processes are in place in business to guide us on our employment journey. When we begin a new job right until we leave, as a collective, we know what happens and when. Clear processes give employees a better understanding of where they stand in situations and how best to manage situations they may or may not be familiar with.
The people within your organisation define your culture naturally. Our personalities, beliefs, culture and values all trickle into our work and the way we perceive the world. During the recruitment process it is important we don’t just look to their skills.
As a Talent Manager or HR Manager, ask yourself, how well do they fit to the model? Do they resonate with the culture you currently have? Do you think they’ll manage the existing team well? Diversity in the workplace is great, whilst cognitive behaviours play a large part when it comes to working well together.
Every business needs a mission, whether it’s how you drive forward or how you would like to be perceived outside the organisation. Believing in a businesses’ mission is important to the culture, it is important employees want the same and can relate to this within their role. A company’s mission speaks volumes for how your culture is defined.
If you build an environment that resonates with your workforce it’ll shape how they work. If employees like the environment they work in, they’ll work better with a healthier mind. This can be by working in a coworking space where you can integrate with other businesses, or create an open plan office that takes away hierarchy. Plants, soft furnishings and relaxation areas all play a part in a business’ environment.
Communicate regularly about any internal and external news. Staff like to feel included. When employees feel as though they are left in the dark their engagement drops are more inclined to leave the business altogether.
How to Create a Positive Company Culture
Creating a company culture isn’t a strategy that can be integrated overnight, it takes initiative, leg work, and consistency. It is important to maintain the culture throughout every aspect of the business whether it be work-related or as a social aspect.
Each business is unique, but so are our needs. That being said, it is important to ensure all measures are inline with your company as well as those who work in it. Think about what your company needs to get the best out of it from all angles. Keep in mind that diversity brings variety, fresh perspectives and helps to keep the business moving forward. The danger of not defining company culture creates a space that lacks direction internally. A company culture reduces stress and maintains a healthy happy workforce.
Collaborate and Communicate
Teams that feel they can collaborate and communicate with each other feel more involved, heard and appreciated. The dynamics of a team play a huge role in working culture. The concepts range from being able to work collaboratively, being able to ask for help, or knowing when to boost each other’s morale and self-esteem.
Integrate team meetings that give teams and employees a voice. Allow individuals to talk about their personal ideas, and remember there is no such thing as a stupid idea. Ideas can be challenged but they should never be ridiculed or talked down to, this only engrains fear to be able to speak up again in the future.
Goals and Rewards
Goals and rewards not only entice people to work harder but it also helps bring new and fresh talent. A small reward can go a long way, as can praise and appraisal. Although we get paid for what we do, wins that are rewarded can perform miracles to a company’s culture and our self-esteem at work.
Set monthly or quarterly goals across teams and departments. These can be individual goals as well as a team goals. Rewards don’t need to be expensive or glamorous, offer vouchers or half a day off. Small incentives go a long way when it comes to wanting your team to knuckle down.
Promote Ethos and Values
The core values of any business are not just internal, but external too. While it is important to promote brand voice when new employees join, it is even more important to maintain this. Integrate it into the navigation of the business, in every aspect.
Do you want to promote a business that cares about mental health, social change, racial injustice, or being green?
Causes like the aforementioned do need to be adopted in a panoramic approach in the way your business operates. This goes beyond the use of marketing or promotional materials, rather it’s about adopting ideas amongst employees and the environment. As an example, if you care about a green workspace, ban the use of plastic or foster initiatives that reduce the use of printing paper.
Ready To Improve Your Workplace Culture?
Working in an environment that promotes a happy work culture is essential in encouraging a workplace in search for meaning and ownership. Although defining such can be difficult, the benefits can be long-lasting.
Leadership and management can encourage employees to support one another which in turn create positive minds and behaviour.
Equally, improving workplace culture takes time and is a collaborative effort. Try to engage and get employees involved when possible, and equally look at partners to help you improve your culture over time. As always, we’re here to help you with that.