Workplace culture is a term that has received a lot of attention in the modern corporate world. Yet, according to one report by Deloitte, only 12% of leaders believe their company is driving the right culture.
Organisational leaders must first understand the meaning of workplace culture before taking proactive measures in enhancing existing structures.
Demystifying Workplace Culture
An organisation’s workplace culture is its personality, characteristics, and “voice” — it affects the perception of employees, customers, and partners. Companies with a positive work culture can better attract the right employees, leaders, and customers for optimal success.
Almost every aspect of an organisation contributes to workplace culture, including its staff, procedures, management method, and business philosophies. Essentially, workplace culture sums up the shared values, assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes of the company that forms an overall vibe.
Positive workplace culture encourages employees to go beyond the basics, promotes company loyalty, and fosters lasting relationships among leaders, managers, and staff.
Identifying the Factors Behind Positive Workplace Culture
An effective organisational leader regularly evaluates and improves the factors tied to positive workplace cultures. The ongoing process includes the cultivation of employee relationships, career development opportunities, and establishing a comfortable work environment that promotes teamwork and happiness.
Most importantly, a successful leader understands that the journey towards positive workplace culture is endless — continuously working to adapt to the shifting needs of employees and the organisation.
Well-established Mission Statements
Corporate missions, ethos, and goals represent the “spirit” of the organisation. Employees can only connect with a company if they understand what it stands for. Leaders need to ensure that the mission statement of the organisation stays relevant and in practice. As such, it is essential to implement missions in the everyday operations of the organisation.
Additionally, mission statements should be clear and actionable. Employees need concepts and goals that enable them to make practical and fulfilling contributions. Some examples include green sustainability or donations to a social enterprise. By witnessing and being a part of an active process, employees will feel a greater connection to the organisation, contributing to positive workplace culture.
Some questions leaders may consider include, “what are the core beliefs of the company?”, ‘’what are the steps we can take towards realising those objectives?” and “how can employees align organisational missions with their personal values to keep them engaged?”
According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that distinct workplace culture is integral to a business’s success.
A Culture of Inclusivity
An inclusive workplace makes for happier and more engaged workers. Nobody appreciates being shortchanged or stuck in their career progression. Leaders should foster a structure that provides every employee with equal opportunities for success, promotions, and perks. Managers and organisational leaders can achieve this by adopting highly transparent and accountable performance grading methods.
A transparent performance management system also reflects well on leaders, forging a trustworthy reputation that motivates employees during their stay in the organisation. Studies show that management transparency is a crucial factor in determining worker happiness. Organisations with high degrees of inclusivity accept each worker’s unique contributions and encourage them to perform to their fullest potential.
Visually Positive Environment
The subtlest visual cues at the workplace can affect worker mood and performance. These may range from the interior design theme to the walls’ colors, and motivational posters plastered around the office. An open-office versus a cubicle concept, shutters versus unobstructed glass panels, or relaxing hygge style versus a modern minimalist layout – the workplace’s physical appearance and vibe can influence the employee psyche.
Warm and cool colours can help raise the mood of employees and have become popular in many workplaces. Warm colours like yellow and orange can stimulate energy and productivity, while cool hues like blue instill peace and serenity within the mind to fuel creativity and imagination.
The inclusion of a shared work area can help improve communication and relationships among co-workers. Hot-desking has become increasingly popular, enabling workers to strengthen interaction among various colleagues and improve workflow while deterring solitary behaviour.
Ultimately, the best choice of colour and workplace design depends on the nature of business and the desired effect on employees. Organisational leaders can improve relationships with employees by involving them in the brainstorming and decision-making process of office renovations, giving them an improved sense of ownership and belonging.
Leadership and Management
Leaders and managers play significant roles in determining workplace culture. By implementing the right management style and transparent policies, employees feel valued, appreciated, and engaged.
A successful leader understands the impact of feedback and cares about employees’ complaints, concerns, and challenges. They will work together with their groups and teams to formulate the best strategies to tackle existing problems while anticipating future issues.
Leaders should work closely with employees at all times and represent the success and vision of the organisation. Employees will look to the actions (and inactions) of leaders during crises, and they need to set a good example to maintain morale and performance.
Organisational leaders should avoid emulating another company’s management style – as what works for one company may be ineffective for another. While it is understandable to draw points from successful case studies, leaders should always customise their management strategy according to their organisation’s needs.
Employees who work together with mutual trust, respect, and support can achieve more together. Open and regular communication can help bridge the gap between co-workers and reduce the effects of loneliness. Leaders can improve workplace relationships by organising team-building programs that strengthen bonds between co-workers – going beyond the dash for deadlines.
Benefits of Positive Workplace Culture
Organisations can gain a competitive edge over competitors with positive workplace culture. Companies can strengthen their strategies and advance closer to their objectives with the right culture in place.
Improves engagement and Retention
Positive work culture keeps employees satisfied, engaged, and productive at work. Workers will look forward to contributing to a company that recognises them as an integral part of organisational success. Additionally, leaders will help workers with proper work-life balance, learning opportunities, and incentives that prevent burnout, which lowers absenteeism and employee turnover rates.
Attracts the Right Talents
News travels fast within the industry. A company with the reputation of having a good workplace culture will attract workers who identify with your goals and vision. Additionally, former employees will help leave positive comments on review sites such as Glassdoor, which improves your company’s rating.
Improves Overall Performance
Happier, engaged, and united workers will ultimately improve the productivity of the organisation. In contrast, based on research by the Gallup Organisation and the Queens School of Business, disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects.
A positive work culture empowers employees to think and plan autonomously with minimal guidance (while support remains accessible). The process enables each member of the organisation to share responsibilities in the decision-making process. Every employee can grow and develop on a professional and personal level through regular training, which helps to improve performance throughout the company.
Getting Started on the Right Track
Organisational leaders should first focus on their current workplace culture before taking decisive steps on improving the situation. Leaders should involve employees in the initial stages of discussion as perspectives will vary among individuals on various hierarchy levels. It is essential to come up with a strategy that benefits every member of the organisation.
Leaders may request honest feedback from employees regarding existing structures while being open to suggestions for improvement. By establishing a sense of collaboration from the beginning, workers will become comfortable and in-tune with the organisational plan.
Leaders can also learn a great deal from employees by monitoring and examining interactions at the workplace. Some of these include meetings, group discussions, and interviews. Through communication, leaders can gauge the commitment and unity of employees and how to optimise interactions for improved outcomes.
Positive workplace culture does not form overnight and is an ongoing process. Leaders need to prepare workers from day zero of their employment and remain vigilant on their opinions and behaviour throughout the various stages of their careers. To avoid disappointment or disagreements down the road, leaders should always seek the right job fit for each position.
Assessment tools like the CliftonStrengths (Clifton StrengthsFinder) can help leaders identify each potential hire’s hidden talents and unique personality traits to ensure that the right person is brought on board.
Leaders need to guide employees through various stages of purpose dependence toward realising a positive workplace culture. It begins with clear communication, cooperation, coordination, teamwork, and finally, quality collaboration. While many factors contribute to the formation of positive workplace culture – leadership and communication are the pillars that retain its overall structure – and its rewards are worth every bit of investment.
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