How to Create the Best Workplace Culture
May 31, 2021
Workplace culture is something intangible – you can’t see it or touch it, but if it’s not quite right, you’ll know. From the people in the business right down to the desk you work at and even the uniform you wear, are all examples of different aspects of workplace culture.
In this blog, we will unpack what exactly workplace culture is, what affects it, and how to make your workplace culture more inclusive and positive.
What is workplace culture?
RMIT defines workplace culture as ‘the overall character of a business that’s often unique to the organisation. It can include elements such as the business’s values, beliefs, behaviours, goals, attitudes and work practices.’ The culture of an organisation often plays a big part in whether an employee is happy to go to work in the morning, or if they begin to drag their heels a bit.
What affects workplace culture?
Different things can affect workplace culture but one of the main ones is the individual personalities that make up a company. When different personalities clash, it can be a sign of how quickly an organisation can turn from positive to toxic, so it’s important to make sure you are hiring people that fit your company values.
Other elements that impact workplace culture include:
Management – One of the leading things that influence workplace culture is the leadership or management throughout all levels of the company. ERC says this includes the way your leaders communicate and interact with employees, what they communicate and emphasise, their vision for the future, what they celebrate and recognise, what they expect, how they make decisions and more. They also speak to how management controls its systems, procedures, structures, hierarchy, controls and goals.
Company policies – These policies include aspects that make up a company including uniform policies, hiring strategies, job flexibility options such as working from home and professional development options.
Environment – The physical environment of the workplace can also play a big part in having a healthy workplace culture. What is each person’s workstation like? Is the room well-lit with adequate airflow? These are all things that play a part in a healthy workplace environment.
Communication – How communication is handled at every level of the organisation is crucial to the overall positivity in the company. Things like the transparency of communication as well as frequency and type are all important.
How to create the best workplace culture
Creating a healthy workplace culture is all about creating an environment that your employees look forward to coming to and feel safe and respected at. Having a good workplace culture can attract and retain talented staff members, drive retention, increase employee productivity and drive financial performance.
There are a few different ways to create a strong workplace culture within your company, including:
Developing a strong set of company values and ethics – Having a well-defined set of values and ethics not only helps your business with defining goals and objectives but also helps to make your employees feel as though they are part of something, as well as giving them a clear direction of what the company is trying to achieve. Forbes says if your values are ‘going green’ or ‘social change’, it is not enough to state this in the mission statement, etc. but crucial that ‘demonstratable actions are taken regularly so that employees feel an individual and personal responsibility towards these values.’ These values will help to foster a strong sense of belonging which aligns with a positive workplace culture.
Make workspaces more inviting – As touched on briefly above, if your company workspaces are dark, cramped and not well-ventilated, chances are you’re not setting your employees up for a positive environment. There are other smaller changes you can make to ensure that everyone is content with their surroundings, including things like adding a comfy couch to the break room, some greenery with plants around the office, or even a fully stocked snacks pantry!
Invest in professional development – If your company invests in professional development, essentially, it’s sending the message to your employees that you are investing in them and their careers – that you believe in them. This unspoken message tells your employees that you trust their ability and want them to be part of the company for some time to come. Allowing your employees to attend extra training or participate in workshops and courses is extremely beneficial to your company too. The knowledge that they can gain from some of the courses on offer may provide huge benefits to growing your business.
Foster open communication and encourage feedback – Just like you would in any relationship, encouraging open and honest communication within your organisation is vital for a positive workplace culture. It helps to understand how your employees are feeling and gives them a space where they can feel comfortable to talk about any worries or stressors that they do have. Fostering these relationships will help to nurture team relationships in and out of work.
Encouraging a two-way feedback channel can also be beneficial for businesses. Having policies like ‘open door’ policies in place can help employees feel comfortable in approaching managers and leaders to give and receive feedback which can be valuable on both ends.
Create clear goals and rewards for employees – Having a set of clear goals and rewards in place for employees will help to drive motivation, which, in turn, will see a strong improvement in company goals. As well as having a defined end result, incentivising your staff members can help potentially reach the goal quicker. It doesn’t have to be a monetary prize either but can be something such as having an afternoon off, or a team dinner in another way to encourage your staff members.
Diversity is important – It’s spoken about quite frequently in this day and age, but diversity is important when building a positive workplace culture. Giving all employees equal opportunities, regardless of gender, background, sexual orientation, or race, shows that you care about the employee as a whole person and value who they are. It makes people feel accepted, welcomed and safe – which is what we all want to feel when we go to work!
Invest in a team uniform – Uniforms not only reflect positively on your business to consumers, but they also provide a sense of unity within your team. Working with people who wear the same clothing establishes an instant bond. Biz Collection Canada believe that uniting team members through uniform is one of the best things you can do to boost workplace culture – especially when working from home. So many teams managed to strengthen their bond when working from home through their uniforms – just like the teams who took part in our ‘Bake it til you make it’ challenge!
Workplace culture is something that every business has – whether they are aware of it or not. Ensuring that your company has a positive work and team environment, good people, open communication and equal opportunities to advance their careers are all steps in the right direction to creating the best workplace culture possible.