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Every organisation wants a good workplace culture… but what is it? And how do you get one? Real talk: it’s not easy. There’s plenty that goes into building the all-encompassing buzzword, and it’s something that requires effort every single day. After all, a ping pong table can only do so much.
So, what is workplace culture? The short answer is everything. As for the long answer, keep reading. Our expert HR consultants are going to share some common traits of workplace culture and the healthy signs to help you craft a good one.
Culture in the Workplace
One way to grasp the meaning of workplace culture is to think of it as the personality of your organisation. Personalities are not defined by standalone traits, whether it be values, behaviour, or traditions — it’s the accumulation of all of these things and more.
You can write a list of what you think this personality is, sure. But it’s not something that can be engineered; it’s the feeling of being at work that correlates to workplace culture. And how a personality is perceived and experienced by others isn’t something that can be controlled or defined by values and rules. It can, however, be influenced.
Characteristics of a Healthy Workplace Culture
A good workplace culture just means it’s fun, right? While there’s no denying that perks, celebrations and bonding activities can have an impact, the magic from one enjoyable afternoon can only last so long. What can really count is the dedication to:
Every employee has value. And while there are always different skill levels and hierarchies within a business, creating an equitable workplace where everyone feels valued and respected promotes happiness and satisfaction among employees. Allowing all employees a space where they can share their ideas and opinions, regardless of their position, negates the ‘just another number’ feeling and builds camaraderie.
If an employee does exceptionally good work and nobody notices, why would they ever dedicate themselves to such a cause again? Rewarding good work is a key element of healthy working cultures as well as employee engagement. It boosts morale and encourages the individual to continue to do good work while inspiring other team members too.
Clear and constant communication
From company transparency to encouraging and actioning employee feedback, communication is crucial to a healthy work culture. Creating an open working environment where people feel empowered to communicate constructively builds trust. And where there’s trust, there’s honesty, and every meeting, brainstorming session, training and performance appraisal becomes more valuable as a result.
In a post-pandemic world, it's become evident that companies that value the wellbeing of their employees have a significantly healthier work culture. Better work-life balance can help staff feel supported and more positive about their workplace. It’s one thing for a business to say they value the mental and physical health of their employees; it’s another to show it.
Performance and productivity
Believe it or not, high performance and good work culture have been shown to correlate. So if you’re worried that allowing your employees to work from home or be flexible with hours will slow productivity, it can have the opposite effect. According to research from Oxford University, happy workers are 13% more productive than unhappy ones. In fact, organisations with a strong work culture are generally more successful and have high productivity levels.
What Can Impact and Improve Culture In the Workplace?
So now that we’ve covered what an ideal Australian workplace culture can look like, how do you get there? Croissants at the morning meeting? Quarterly award ceremonies? These are great, but consistent camaraderie is built through autonomy, trust and support, which can be strengthened with an HR strategy that addresses these overarching elements. The key players that can influence workplace culture and provide an impact include:
How leaders and management communicate can greatly impact the positivity of a workplace. From everyday interactions with employees to how they reward and recognise their team, it all counts towards the ‘feeling’ of optimistic workplace culture. Leaders should empower employees to work independently without micromanaging them, which is why clear and consistent performance management and appraisals are important. By providing the framework for success and achievement, employees can work autonomously while leaders provide support and create a safe and trusting environment.
The people you hire, along with their personalities, skills, values and everyday behaviours, will all contribute to your workplace culture. The recruiting stage is crucial as it's important to find employees who share the same values and beliefs as your organisation. If you’re having trouble finding great candidates, our outsourced HR team can help you to refine your employee value proposition. Or turn to our employee retention consultants for guidance on re-engaging and retaining good talent.
When a company is honest with its employees and clearly states what its mission, vision and values are, it establishes trust and responsibility in the workplace. Creating transparent policies for promotions and remunerations, for example, allows everyone to know the criteria for reaching a position or reward. It also shows that recognition is measured fairly, helping to build an equitable environment. Communicating these policies frequently can also improve employee engagement.
As well as compensation and benefits, workplace policies covering training and development, wellness, and work-life balance, can help employees to feel nurtured and supported. In the same regard, having policies to deal with inappropriate behaviour creates a safe and trusted environment.
Creating a Good Workplace Culture
Changing workplace culture is never easy. But there are ways that you and your leaders can take a more active role in improving yours.
- Get hiring right - The right person for the job isn’t always the right person for the business. Communicate your values and attract the right candidates.
- Set clear paths for progression and promotion - Use performance reviews and outlined career paths to measure development and let employees know what to do to reach the next level.
- Reward and recognise - Celebrate success and congratulate individuals on their achievements.
- Communicate - Clearly, often and honestly.
- Focus on equality and fairness - Create a positive workplace where all employees are valued, supported and nurtured.
At HumanX, our team of experts specialise in creating HR strategies to bring together your people with your plans to build a positive workplace experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out for our outsourced HR services today.