published Sep 13, 2023
Workplace culture plays a crucial role in determining an organization's success or failure. It is little wonder that toxic workplace culture has been linked to the potential resignation of over 40% of employees, amounting to over 24 million United States workers.
The result of a poor company culture is revenue decline and loss of market share. Regardless of how desperate job seekers are, 35% will turn down an offer if the company culture isn't healthy. This proves that a positive culture should be a top priority for every organization. However, many employers have no idea where to begin. Let this article enlighten you on everything you need to know about workplace culture and how to improve yours. Let’s get started!
A company's culture is a summation of clearly defined strategies, rules, or systems to guide the behaviors and actions of its employees and leaders. This culture is seen in their beliefs, values, practices, approaches, and standards. While some of these company cultures may be written down (core values), others are verbally communicated while still reflecting the business' operations and personality.
Unfortunately, some companies have reduced the entire idea behind workplace culture to hosting intermittent events and game nights. In contrast, culture should focus more on employees' welfare and how they are treated by management. Game nights and happy hours can be a part of this, but they make up a small fraction of a company’s overall culture.
Elements of a Strong Workplace Culture
To build a strong culture in the workplace, you need to consider the following:
1. Clear Core Values
Clearly defining your company's core values gives the skeletal framework for your operations. As a matter of fact, 76% of employees in a recent survey by Deloitte admitted that defining core values fosters a positive work culture and contributes to the company's overall success.
Additionally, these values serve as guiding principles to gauge employee actions, determine productivity, rate work satisfaction, and portray the company's image. Thus, it's highly recommended that your establishment’s mission and vision align with your values to further promote a strong workplace culture.
2. Effective Leadership
Think of a workplace with no leadership structure and how chaotic the outcome would be. Leaders set the pace for others to follow; they provide a clear organizational structure, goals, and a vision that motivates and encourages a positive culture in the workplace.
Beyond the organization's goals, leaders also invest in the development of employees through mentorship, career growth, and skill-building that, in turn, help the company's revenue. So, if you want to increase productivity, efficiency, and revenue, adopt a great company culture.
3. Open Communication
Transparency and open communication have become major motivators for creativity and innovation. While some employers do not see it necessary to discuss intricate company details with non-executives, many employees want to know more about the company beyond its goals and vision. They also want transparency regarding the company’s challenges, successes, profit margins, and other essentials. This will encourage feedback and create a healthy environment where workers are valued and shown that their opinion counts.
4. Teamwork and Collaboration
According to McKinsey, 70% of employees get their sense of purpose and satisfaction from their jobs, which includes how they work, collaborate, and interact with colleagues. They need a workplace culture that gives them a sense of belonging, where they don't just show up for the 9-to-5 but also build meaningful relationships that positively impact their lives and their dedication to work.
Impact of Culture on Business Success
Having the right culture in the workplace comes with so many benefits to you, your business, and your employees. Here are some of them:
1. Employee Retention
After the COVID-19 pandemic, companies struggled to retain talent due to massive competition from other employers, especially those offering remote opportunities with mouth-watering salaries. But the big winners were eventually those with great compensation packages mixed with strong workplace cultures.
Apart from a healthy work culture, workers are more likely to stay longer in a company if there is a clear definition of roles. So, if you want to keep employees and reduce recruitment costs, define your values, onboard employees into their specific roles, and provide growth opportunities for every team member.
2. Healthy Customer Relationships
In business, you're not only dealing with your employees; in fact, the majority of your focus is on your customers' satisfaction. Over the years, it’s been proven that a healthy work culture is one of the gateways to satisfying clients because employees are willing to go above and beyond to serve them.
When workers fare better, they will put in the requisite effort to offer excellent service, encourage repeat patronage, attract new customers, and foster advocacy, which will increase your profits.
3. Branding and Reputation
Branding is, first and foremost, an ideology, then a team effort. You need all hands on deck to sell a particular picture of your business to the world and maintain your reputation. When your employees see your organization as one that prioritizes and values innovation, open communication, ethical behavior, mutual respect, and shared goals, they are more likely to be motivated to put in the effort to impact the company's overall brand image and success.
How to Build and Nurture a Positive Workplace Culture
1. Define Your Values
One thing that promotes a negative culture in the workplace is a lack of defined values. When there are no defined values, corporate anarchy will gradually set in. You need to identify and state what your organization or business stands for early so you can tailor your mission and company vision to align with these values.
By doing so, all stakeholders can make informed decisions concerning your company's growth, like determining the best fit for a job opening and assigning responsibilities to employees.
2. Create Clear Goals and Rewards for Your Employees
Traits of great workplace culture examples are seen in how well the company recognizes employees who perform their duties well. In fact, 53% of employees said they feel a strong sense of culture through recognition and celebrations, proving that businesses with these programs will most likely get better results.
One way to use celebrations to improve culture in the workplace is by setting clear expectations for your employees and reward systems for every achievement. This can be as simple as public appreciation, monetary rewards, or gifts. But remember that the most important thing is genuinely making them feel how special they are to the company and recognizing their contribution to the growth of the business.
3. Encourage Inclusivity and Diversity
Building a work culture that encourages employee involvement and active participation can make people stay longer. Also, considering that the business sector is full of individuals with unique backgrounds, experiences, ideologies, and perspectives, it is important to encourage diversity—it will lead to more creativity, greater innovation, and an environment where everyone can thrive.
4. Create Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance refers to the time spent at work versus time spent with family or loved ones. As the years go by, many job seekers and employees are focused on finding a balance between work and their personal lives. The majority of them will choose jobs that have flexible hours because they believe it’ll help them live healthier lives.
This creates a new trajectory when it comes to cultivating a positive company culture. Employers must prioritize work-life balance to prevent burnout, fatigue, and poor productivity. Simply encouraging employees to take breaks or work remotely will go a long way as long as it doesn't hamper their productivity or that of the company.
Common Culture Challenges and Solutions
Despite knowing the benefits of a strong culture in the workplace, some companies still find it hard to effectively implement one. Here are the two common cultural challenges most companies face and how to overcome them.
Communication Challenges: Lack of proper communication in a workplace can foster several negative consequences. When common goals and expectations are not properly conveyed, it creates an unhealthy workplace. To tackle this, create proper communication channels, leveraging social media platforms. You can also count on your team leads to disseminate information and receive employee feedback.
Leadership and Management Styles: Poor leadership and management structure will cripple a healthy workplace culture, leading to low retention and less motivation to work. Havard Business Review evaluated employers' negligence surrounding low-wage workers and found that most employees will stay at a job that offers low pay as long as they are working for a great boss and given appropriate career guidance, including training and mentorships. So, to enhance your leadership style and develop a positive workplace culture, you must do better. Management can organize programs and mentorship classes that properly educate leaders on how to work with employees. Executives should also be held accountable for their actions.
Purpose: Your purpose clearly states what your organization represents and stands for. It defines your "why" and "how" to achieve these goals.
Opportunity: Another important aspect of your workplace culture is how your employees can contribute and fit into the big picture. This provides them with opportunities for growth, learning, self-development, and impact.
Success: This gives opportunities for your employees to execute tasks effectively, share innovative ideas, and put in the effort to succeed.
Appreciation: An important aspect of workplace culture is recognizing and appreciating your employees' contributions, whether through work incentives, public appreciation, or monetary rewards.
Well-Being: Sometimes, work culture can transcend beyond the work life of your employees. You genuinely show concern about their personal lives, mental health, and general well-being.
Leadership: Employees love to be motivated, not just in words but in actions. This example of workplace culture can help to get the best out of them.
Ready for Your Next Quantum Leap?
Knowing which workplace culture examples you can integrate into your system is great, but implementing them successfully is easier said than done. This is why it is advisable to get support from experts trained to help enterprises and professionals move their businesses to the next level.
With Foreword Companies, you can achieve that and more. We offer personalized business consultation, coaching, investment opportunities, and partnerships. Everything you need for your next quantum leap is a call away; learn more about how we make businesses better.