Workplace culture can be a nebulous concept. What is it exactly and why is it so important?
In a brilliant place to work, you have to have an excellent culture in the workplace. Culture is the personality of the organization. It’s the character that is seen from outside and inside the business.
Workplace culture is what makes your business unique and is made up of the attitudes, beliefs, and traditions inherent in the people that work there, and the overall culture of the endeavor.
The personality of your business, or the culture of your workplace, is influenced and affected by multiple levels of the business. Leadership as well as management comes into play. All of the practices in the workplace, as well as the policies put in place, are important, but most of all it is the people that make up the culture you desperately need.
If you want to have a great workplace culture, and an amazing workplace, you must define what your workplace culture will be. Finding the purpose of the business is the first step.
What impacts culture in the workplace?
Almost every aspect of your business is affected by workplace culture. Every part of your business also affects the culture of that business. It goes both ways.
Starting with workplace culture at the top is a good way to get an overview of everything that is happening. Your leaders communicate with other departments and other employees and they should have an idea and understanding of what is going on at a grassroots level.
Leaders set the tone for management and they lead by example. If your leaders aren’t trusted and respected, they’ll be unable to build an amazing workplace with a positive workplace culture. Good leaders are required if you are going to have an amazing workplace.
Leadership and management or two different things. How your organization gets managed will dictate how positive or negative your workplace culture is. Systems, hierarchy, structure, goals, and procedures are all part and parcel of management. these different aspects of management affect workplace culture:
Systems are the way we do things. Without good management of the systems that have been put into practice, you will not be able to achieve what you are aiming for. Workplace culture is greatly affected by systems and how they are run, as well as who is in charge of them. Persistence is needed to overcome outdated systems. Ensuring that your systems are up-to-date and relevant will translate to profits and improved workplace culture.
The hierarchical ranking of an organization feeds directly into the workplace culture that is created. How are you rank your management and leaders set up a hierarchy? This is more than a pecking order it is a ranking system. Team leaders are the personalities that push the whole workplace forward. Hierarchy within a team not only gives people a sense of purpose but outlines how they all fit in together. This is why hierarchy is such an important part of workplace culture. Hierarchy also speaks directly to structure.
Structure and procedures
The structure of your organization is not only the building it resides in but the way in which it is set up. Remote working and hybrid working models have given rise to a new way of working. Workplace culture is created by the people that work there and how they work together. Without a structure and procedures that can handle the new business model, a positive workplace culture cannot be created. However, with an excellent structure and procedures comes a far better chance of creating a positive culture in the workplace.
Setting goals both individually and as a group gives you something to work towards. Each team needs to set its goals together, and the company or organization needs to have overall goals or purposes. These are the things that give daily meaning to the tasks that are assigned. Without a goal to seek out, teams can go in circles or find themselves listless and disengaged. A goal is something that you strive to achieve. A collective goal for a whole company means everyone works together to achieve that goal. A workplace culture that is positive and effective comes from setting goals.
Policies and philosophies
How you set out and enforce the policies of your organization speaks volumes about the type of workplace culture you are going to create. This includes and isn’t limited to attendance, whether that is in person, remotely, or the balance of the hybrid work model. The dress code can also affect the way the company is perceived both internally and externally. Codes of conduct set the rules in place for how your employees are expected to behave when they are facing the public. For certain types of organizations, these are imperative to get right especially in the service industry or hospitality. Imagine for a moment an incredibly rude air steward or maître d’. Trying to check into a hotel where the concierge is rude and incompetent is a nightmare and can result in complaints both in person and online. A hospitality business with poor TripAdvisor ratings and reviews loses business. Codes of conduct and behavior being put in place ensure that your workforce upholds the standards as well as the ethos of your business.
The hiring process
This is an incredibly important part of creating your workplace culture. Building your team with the right types of personalities who gel together is the key. Employees who have the same purposes and goals will, in turn, give you a team that meshes together brilliantly, and positive workplace culture. Engaged employees usually work well together with other people in the company that has similar interests, goals, or purposes. Being certain that a new team member will fit in with the ethos of the corporation and slip seamlessly into the existing team will speed up your attainment of positive workplace culture in your organization. Conversely hiring people that are different and having more diversity is also an incredibly powerful way to build a positive workplace culture. Different ways of seeing things and working together can lead to innovation and collaboration. Sticking with the same sort of hiring can lead to a steelwork environment rather than an exciting and inspiring positive workplace culture.
A work-life balance has been spoken a lot about in the media since the COVID-19 pandemic. People around the world begin to take stock of what they need versus what they want. Technology gave us the opportunity to work from anywhere. As remote work became more normal and we spent less time commuting to work and having meetings in the office, folks began to enjoy a more positive work-life balance. This has become more and more important to people and therefore has become part and parcel of the modern workplace. Cutting out a long commute and having more personal time to spend on other projects or time to spend with one’s family is considered a healthier option than traveling to work and wasting time on the freeway. Mental and physical health is a priority for people in 2022 and it seems like this is set to continue. Research has shown that if a work-life balance is out of kilter the workplace culture is considered inferior and we see high instances of disengagement. Quiet quitting and even clandestine contracting have been witnessed and spoken about in the news. Disengaged employees are not an optimum situation so make sure that their work-life balance is taken care of.
Personal growth and Improvement
Any workplace practices that revolve around self-improvement or training will have a ripple effect on the workplace culture. Managing teams and boosting workplace morale is part of being the leader but so is making sure that your team members are able to grow. Rewards and recognition like bonuses or extra training and development that would assist advancement or promotion give people a sense of freedom and a higher sense of purpose. The idea that you’re able to improve beyond your current station gives a human being hope and that in turn makes them more engaged and a more present and productive employee. This builds a positive workplace culture that constantly improves and grows over time.
The workplace environment
The environment that you’re working in puts forward energy and a vibe. Any art on the walls, as well as the color of the walls in the office or retail environment, become part of the brand identity and therefore part of the workplace culture. Any physical signs in the workplace can be taken as significant. What people place on the desks can even put forward a certain look or feel within the office itself. When it comes to remote working or working from home, the home office will also have a part to play. Ensuring that any team members are comfortable in their homework environment and not distracted will help you iron out any difficulties in creating a brilliant workplace culture. The way that the break rooms are set up, and how common areas are used all become part of the workplace environment and the workplace culture.
The way in which people communicate has a marked effect on culture in the workplace. It is a defining characteristic of an amazing workplace culture that there is clear communication between all parties concerned. Communication is not only the building block of any business but is possibly the most important part of workplace culture. If there is a breakdown in communication either between leadership and management or between management and staff it can be devastating to profit, procedure, and purpose. Bad communication leads to disengaged employees. It can also cause client churn through miscommunication or bad client liaison. Missed emails or crossed wires can easily ramp up to contracts being canceled or worse. Without excellent communication in the workplace, you are dead in the water.
What not to do:
Most companies simply allow their workplace culture to form naturally and this is a bad mistake. If you don’t have a clearer idea of what culture you want to create it will start to form around you and you become the effect of the culture that is being formed rather than the other way around.
- Don’t hire employees that don’t fit the culture
- Don’t create a work environment that is lackluster or dull and boring
- Don’t create workplace policies or programs and systems without thinking through the effect on the culture. If you just set up systems on what employees do rather than what is best for the culture and everyone concerned you’re missing a trick.
- Don’t ignore the effects your everyday actions as a leader have on your fellow employees and the work environment
- Don’t tolerate poor communication
Workplace culture is affected by a myriad of influences. It takes a lot of consideration to build a perfect workplace culture and an amazing workplace.
Building something worthwhile is never easy. It is always good to step back and reflect on the things that you were trying to create and get a birds' eye view if possible. Consider how you want the culture to form over time and where you would like it to be in the future.
Set goals and look for effective assessment tools, such as smart surveys that help you gauge your culture. This should show you the gaps in the culture you have and the one you are aiming to achieve.
Your workplace culture needs to be constantly assessed. If you look after the people within your organization and treat them fairly, justly, and with respect, you will be well on the way to having an amazing workplace culture.