Workplace culture is an umbrella term that refers to the personality of your organisation. As with any type of personality, various factors make up the whole. Leaders need to ensure consistent quantity and quality of these factors to maintain positive workplace culture.
Employees and customers are more likely to associate themselves with an organisation bearing a positive reputation – as they would with a person. Additionally, there is the topic of sustaining employee engagement – a significant driver of productivity at the workplace.
Positive workplace culture keeps employees focused, engaged, and proud of contributing to an organisation, extending their time with the company. Thus, the journey towards optimal workplace culture should begin with the needs of the people – keeping employees satisfied throughout the work year.
Employee engagement should be a priority for any healthy workplace culture. Engaged employees improve overall efficiency and morale while preventing the cost and burden of staff turnover.
There’s a constant need for leaders to provide new career opportunities, access to technology, and effective ways of managing resources safely and conveniently (fortunately for modern employers, the digital age offers myriad methods). Keeping employees interested matters as much as providing them with the right resources to do the job.
With people management, leaders need to go beyond the minimum prerequisites to offer a competitive edge that keeps workers committed to the organisation.
An organisation’s purpose should transcend monetary value – but rather lies in creating something meaningful and lasting for everyone involved in its operations. Gallup’s research shows that a sense of belonging is vital in shaping the success of employees and organisations.
The report highlights the importance of identifying four vulnerabilities that either affirm or dispute the alignment between employees and their respective organisations.
These vulnerabilities include:
–When employees propose a novel idea – How do employers respond? Is it with doubt, care, or disinterest? Is workplace safety in order?
–When employees seek help – Do employers prioritise swift responses or put them on the backburner and underplay their importance?
–When employees push back/delay a delivery – How do employers respond? Do they play the blame game or analyse the situation objectively? Follow-up action and mediation also go on to shape employee perspectives.
–When employees seek personal favors – Do employers hear them out or reject them outrightly? Is there a way to reach a common ground – retaining professionalism while acceding to requests?
A positive work culture sees leaders reacting to vulnerabilities through a solutions-based approach. Rather than focusing on the “why,” leaders assess the “what” and “what next?”
According to James Collins, the co-author of Built to Last, “In 17 of the 18 pairs of companies in our research, we found the visionary company was guided more by a core ideology—core values and a sense of purpose beyond just making money—than the comparison company was.”
Any individual genuinely interested in their professional roles will pursue growth in their careers – whether as a new hire, senior staff, or advisor. The ideal workplace culture should allow individuals to “take the ball and run with it” (i.e., preserve the company’s legacy) while nurturing their personal interests.
There’s an ongoing trend that the modern workforce (especially millennials, predicted to make up more than 75% of the workforce by 2030) seeks more than a regular paycheck. According to an Akumina report, a majority of millennials believe that job-hopping can help advance their careers.
Findings from the report offer a glimpse of what modern employees seek – constant stimulation and opportunities for fulfillment. A workplace culture that ticks off those needs will have a better chance of retaining their best workers in the long run.
Some strategies to consider include implementing frequent training opportunities, role rotations, and building a friendly and collaborative environment where the workplace feels like a second home.
Every person desires some level of appreciation or recognition – even if it means simply “doing a job.” Employers should show gratitude when possible (sometimes the smallest gesture can profoundly impact worker morale and satisfaction) – to the people who made organisational success possible.
According to professor Robert A Simmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, “I like to think of gratitude as fertilizer for the mind, spreading connections and improving its function in nearly every realm of experience.”
A workplace culture that runs on gratitude empowers employees to improve performance by reducing/eliminating stress levels and keep teams on the same page. The process might involve some science. (practising gratitude strengthens the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for cognitive function).
Positive workplace culture should promote good worker health on the physical and psychological/emotional level. Besides eliminating stress at work, organisational leaders should encourage physical care for holistic wellness.
Leaders can help achieve this by holding organisational outdoor events such as fun runs and team-building sessions that build trust among members.
Additionally, organisations may implement healthier food choices at the office cafeterias, providing workers with free healthy snacks (i.e., fresh fruits and nuts) or organizing a full-fledged employee wellness program.
Leadership expert and author John Maxwell once shared, “leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” Positive workplace culture thrives under Maxwell’s creed, creating the ideal environment where workers and leaders can co-exist to achieve grand goals and aspirations.
For a thriving workplace culture, ethical and empathetic leadership goes a long way. Leaders embody the cultural traits and values of the organisation – almost like the personification/humanisation of the company.
By representing a continuous desire to learn, teach, and show recognition where it’s due, leaders will create a snowball effect that drives a shared vision among workers. Additionally, a great leader should remain accountable for better or worse, communicating ideas and figures transparently without omitting the facts.
Ultimately, a robust workplace culture relies on a well-managed and coordinated relationship between employees and their leaders – working out every conundrum from an unpredictable landscape.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individuals and corporate clients empower leaders throughout the region by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you wish to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, please reach out to us here.