What is workplace culture?
There is more to running a successful business than just turning a profit and making the numbers work. A positive work environment is a key indicator of a great business that encourages its employees to thrive and succeed.
Workplace culture is all around us and truly defines the environment that employees work in. It can be described as the personality and character of a company or organisation, so every business has its own culture. The values and ethos of an organisation shape this culture so it’s important that these aspects reflect the overall goals and mission of the business. A research study found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct corporate culture is needed for a business to be successful.
Why positive workplace culture is important
Fostering positive workplace culture isn’t just about building a great reputation and image for your business. There are several reasons why building a positive work culture can set up your business for success across different areas.
- Hire and retain top talent
Companies with a healthy work culture are more likely to attract top talent in their respective fields. After all, who wouldn’t want to work in an environment that makes one feel heard, accepted and supported? Human resources teams should be prepared to share insights into the company’s culture and values with prospective team members to ensure that they are a good fit.
- Perform better as a business
When it comes down to business, a positive work culture inspires positive results. Aside from attracting new recruits and keeping them satisfied, a healthy work environment boosts motivation and productivity across the board. Research has found that positive work cultures result in higher productivity due to increased employee engagement and a lower turnover of staff.
- Satisfied associates that are here to stay
Happy employees are more engaged with their work and their peers. A positive work environment encourages individuals to build healthy relationships with their coworkers and leadership teams, which leads to better communication and results for customers.
5 signs of healthy work culture
- Employee satisfaction
Employee satisfaction is a clear indicator of a healthy culture in the workplace. When employees feel happy and supported in their working environment, they tend to feel more passionate about their work, leading to increased productivity.
Human resources teams typically measure employee satisfaction by running surveys. Direct and discreet surveys give employees the opportunity to voice their concerns, praises and suggestions for the company. These findings can be extremely valuable for pinpointing the areas in which changes need to be made to improve the culture of the workplace.
- Low turnover of staff
Great businesses attract great talent, but what makes these highly-skilled employees want to commit to the company for the long term? Businesses that foster a positive working culture are highly sought after by prospective employees. High turnover of staff is disruptive to the structure and processes of an organisation, which ultimately takes a negative toll on the company culture and hinders productivity.
When searching for a long-term opportunity in their career, prospective candidates look to employers that offer more than just a salary. Companies that encourage a positive culture with a healthy work-life balance, healthcare and holiday benefits, and opportunities for growth will stand out from the crowd and be more likely to retain their recruits.
- Avoid gossip and tense office politics
Corporate environments can be the perfect breeding ground for toxic work culture, with office politics and gossip running rife. On the other hand, corporate culture can create an inspiring and motivating setting for ambitious and hardworking professionals.
To avoid or address tension or discomfort caused by gossiping or office politics, human resources teams should react appropriately when it happens.
- Open communication
Regardless of their industry or profession, people want to feel heard. Good communication is crucial to maintain a positive culture and to encourage healthy relationships between individuals.
While openness and honesty are always favoured, it’s important to keep things professional. An effective way of encouraging open communication is by welcoming feedback from employees, which can be reviewed and followed up by management. However, offering feedback can be daunting for some individuals, so this type of communication should be met with empathy and discretion.
- Approachable and trusted leadership
The best working relationships are built when team members feel comfortable with their managers and the leadership culture of the business. Associates should feel trusting of the people that they report to, and able to open up about their weakness and mistakes without judgment. When a team member can openly confess to these things without fear of judgement or repercussions, they feel safe and secure in their work environment.
Hierarchy within a company structure is a given, but all employees should feel respected and accepted by their peers. Managers can begin to break down barriers by encouraging open communication, feedback and regular check-ins with their direct reports. This not only promotes great teamwork and collaboration, but helps every individual to feel equally seen and heard at work.
How to create a positive culture in the workplace
- Offer support from day one
Help new recruits to feel welcomed and supported from the get-go by offering them a thorough introduction and onboarding training.
- Conduct regular check-ins
Regular check-ins to discuss progress and performance are crucial in any workplace. These regular meetings help employees to feel secure and supported in their work, and give them the opportunity to voice any concerns or queries to their manager.
- Encourage two-way communication
It’s important that employees feel comfortable in the presence of their superiors in any workplace. However, managers and directors should also feel comfortable with their direct reports, as they foster a culture of transparency. Open and regular communication should be initiated from both sides, creating a sense of unity between employees from all ranks within the business.
- Set realistic and achievable goals
People who feel valued, are more likely to enjoy their work and help drive the success of the business. Employees often feel overwhelmed, which can lead to burnout. The best way to treat that is to guide employees to set goals that are realistic, and offer them the support they need to achieve them.