18 Jun 2020
Three essential tips for building a successful workplace culture
A strong and positive workplace culture isn’t just a nice add-on for employees, it’s also essential to driving business success. Investing time, resources and energy in creating a workplace culture that attracts and retains great talent and increases productivity is good business. Because workplace culture is more than just fancy coffee machines in the staff kitchen, more than something you can buy, prepackaged and ready to go. It’s about developing an environment in which your teams can and want to strive to do their best for the business. It takes planning, leadership, and constant nurturing. And it needs to be authentic and relevant. Your business and employees are unique, so your culture must be too. And it’s worth the effort to get it right. The benefits of a strong and positive workplace culture are well established and it has become a competitive edge that no business can afford to ignore.
Before we look at how to create that positive, strong culture, let’s back up for a minute and look at exactly what we mean by workplace culture.
What is workplace culture?
Workplace culture is the environment your employees function in and it is made up of the values, behaviours, attitudes, expectations, relationships and goals of your organisation. Workplace culture is usually a mix of unwritten or unspoken rules - for example, an employee can feel free to drop by the CEO’s office to float an idea - and more clearly defined programs and expectations, such as paid volunteer time off schemes, health and fitness programs and incentive and reward initiatives.
Why does workplace culture matter?
Values play the critical role here as they impact on behaviours and attitudes - for better or for worse. And when they do it for better, the benefits are huge. A successful workplace culture can help a business:
Attract the best talent
Retain and engage employees, reducing the costs associated with employee churn
Improve customer service by instilling outstanding employee experience
Increase productivity through developing teams who are satisfied and engaged with their work
Improve brand and image in the marketplace
How can businesses create a positive workplace culture?
So how can a business create one of their own unique winning culture? While it’s true that culture doesn’t come readymade, there are some essential ingredients that will apply to all organisations. Here are three to get you started today:
The values and behaviours that inform that culture must come from the business leaders. This is not to say that culture is dictated by the c-suite - culture is something every employee is involved with - but rather that leaders must take responsibility for setting the tone. The values they enact, the assumptions they make, the way they respond to success and failure all directly impact the experience of their employees and their sense of worth in the organisation.
Salesforce leader, Mark Benioff, for example, is a passionate advocate of purpose beyond profits and walks his talk at every opportunity. The philanthropic model he implemented as part of Salesforce’s startup DNA, has created, he says, “a great company of high performers.” The proof is the Salesforce pudding: it is consistently voted one of the World’s Best Workplaces.
“Companies that embrace a broader mission - and, importantly, integrate that purpose into their corporate culture,” says Benioff, “outperform their peers, grow faster, and deliver higher profits.”
Make recognition count
Recognition and reward will be crucial to any organisational culture and there are all kinds of different ways for companies to demonstrate gratitude and congratulate work done well. Strong workplace cultures take their incentive and reward programs seriously and deliver it in a way that is meaningful to all employees. Non financial rewards, for example, are not an opportunity for a company to off load an excess of branded coffee mugs or gift vouchers to stores their staff never visit. Whether you’re making a discreet individual gesture of thanks or taking the opportunity to celebrate the work of your whole team, make the gift count by ensuring they can use it easily on something that has value to them.
A culture of meaningful appreciation is something everyone responds to. Seventy nine percent of employees say recognition makes them work harder and 78% say it makes them more productive. Moreover, employees are far more likely to trust bosses who recognise and show appreciation for their efforts. The research also shows that recognition and reward helps employees feel more confident about changes or challenges they face in their workplace.
Stay on track
To an extent, your company culture will grow and change in an organic way. You can’t script every moment of every day. But it’s important that there is measurable intent behind the workplace culture. It isn’t just being left to chance. Rather, it is nurtured and assessed. And when change is needed, it’s made with consultation and consideration. Return to your company values and the methods you use for achieving them regularly to stay on track.
Whether you use a vision planning tool like V2MOM or conduct a regular workplace culture audit, be sure to give as much attention to your employees’ experience as you do to your customers’ experience. That way you won’t be taken by surprise by a seemingly sudden increase in employee turnover or a drop in productivity. When your workplace culture is part of your business strategy, you can anticipate and prepare for those kinds of challenges before they arise.
Workplace culture is dynamic and evolving. With careful planning and cultivation, you can make sure it evolves in the right direction - one that your teams can be proud of and that drives your business success.
Improve your culture of appreciation by giving gifts that really count. Check out Prezzee Business today.