Keeping employees motivated and engaged is a priority for organizations of all sizes. Managers, senior leaders and human resources professionals all play a role in creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture.
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Chapter 1: Why Workplace Culture Matters
Workplace culture can be defined as the values, beliefs, attitudes and assumptions that are shared by individuals in a workplace.
Factors Influencing Workplace Culture
There are numerous factors that collectively influence workplace culture. Some of these factors are company-based, such as adhering to a mission statement, its history, or its practices and policies. Others are employee-driven, such as their upbringing and cultural background, their values, or a manager’s leadership style.
Dangers of a Toxic Workplace Culture
A 2016 survey of 614 HR leaders revealed that 95% of the leaders believe employee burnout is negatively impacting workforce retention, and 10% believe employee burnout cause over 50% of annual workforce turnover. According to the survey, 30% believe negative workplace culture contributes to employee burnout, a statistic that’s comparable to other factors like unreasonable workload, significant overtime, and poor management.
The survey also highlights numerous barriers that hinder the development of a positive workplace culture, like completing priorities, outdated technology, lack of executive support, and a lack of organizational vision. Additionally, 97% of those polled believe prioritizing plans to increase investment in recruiting technology would overcome the barrier of improving retention; 16%, however, point to insufficient funding as a barrier.
There are numerous economic-based issues that stem from a toxic workplace environment. These include an increased corporate healthcare cost, loss of workdays due to workplace stress, workplace accidents, and a dramatic increase in voluntary turnover.
Benefits of Nurturing a Positive Workplace Culture
There are numerous advantages to be had with a workplace culture that’s positive. These include stronger teamwork, improved work performance, positive moral, greater job satisfaction, and an ability to attract talent.
Chapter 2: Debunking Common Myths of a Positive Workplace
Office parties and free lunch are excellent workplace perks but not the essential components of building workplace culture. Building workplace culture require much deeper organizational change and strategic initiatives.
7 Myths on What Makes Culture
One of the most pressing myths about culture involves the belief that there’s a “right” and “wrong” culture type. However, every organization is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all culture. It’s also assumed that benefits and perks drive culture, yet solid culture needs to align with core values and purpose. Another myth concerns office space – specifically, that an open office space fosters collaboration and strengthening culture. This is debunked through research that has shown that open office plans hinder productivity and don’t promote in-person conversation. It’s also thought that an aggressive results-oriented business strategy and a nurturing culture don’t mix well. In reality, employees should feel respected regardless of their ability to bring in profits.
One myth is rooted in assumed harmony, as some think that a strong culture has few conflicts or disagreements. However, conflicts can lead to productive conversations that inform decision-making and bring financial benefits. Another misconception is built around the notion of culture being merely a vibe. Yet office music and parties can’t substitute for the necessity of strategic culture-building behaviors and rituals. Finally, it’s falsely perceived that developing culture is expensive and offers little return or investment. However, investing in employee development shows an individual’s personal and professional growth is just as important as achieving company goals.
Chapter 3: How Manager and Leaders Build Workplace Culture
Implementing workplace culture initiatives requires commitment from individuals across all management and leadership levels. Each manager and leader needs to understand their role in building workplace culture.
6 Tips to Building Culture
One way managers and leaders can build workplace culture is to nurture social connections. Another tactic to deploy involves encouraging employees to speak up. Showing empathy to employees is another vital strategy to implement for the sake of improved workplace culture. It can also be important to establish clear goals and rewards for employees. Additionally, establishing organizational values can help cultivate positive culture. Finally, it can be important for leaders to make sacrifices for employees.
Roles and Responsibilities in Building Workplace Culture
Human resource employees can play a key part in establishing proper workplace culture. Some of the tactics they can use include acting as culture consultants to the executive team, incorporating employee feedback into company culture initiatives, and guiding managers and employees into following culture guidelines.
Senior leaders, executive leaders, and management can also utilize key strategies to make a difference in establishing positive workforce culture. These include supporting the company’s beliefs and values pertaining to a healthy culture with appropriate behaviors, paying attention to the deeper, personal needs that influence an organization’s success, and prioritizing employee and client well-being above processes and protocol.
Investing in workplace culture not only ensures employees are motivated and engaged, but also contributes to an organization’s success. By demonstrating a commitment to the needs and expectations of employees, leaders and managers are dedicated to the success of their entire organization.