The phrase ‘workplace culture’ is a term that has definitely seen more light of day in recent years and yet still, there is huge speculation about what workplace culture actually means. As a recruitment agency based on the Gold Coast, New Point Recruitment has gained some great insights on some local businesses that do ‘workplace culture’ well.
The term ‘workplace culture’ can be interpreted in many ways and it’s not totally uncommon to imagine bean bags, a ping-pong table and free staff lunches when envisioning what a ‘positive company culture’ looks like. Although in the last few years, attitudes have definitely shifted in what employees actually consider to be a ‘positive workplace culture’.
Whilst having features like a pool table and free healthy snacks is a fantastic way to show your staff you appreciate them, it’s not the pinnacle of a positive workplace culture. Culture should be considered to be more about the overall ethos of the company and the attitudes and feelings towards the organisation.
Some important factors that we found were essential to creating, maintaining and improving a positive workplace culture included:
Offering and supporting employee development and growth
Clearly outlining to employees the ways in which they can grow within the company, is definitely a trait of a positive workplace culture. Promising future promotions and growth opportunities without having definitive goals that can be reached in order to grow will leave employees confused and disappointed.
Whilst dangling the corporate carrot may sound like a good idea to increase employee productivity and work efficiency, it will soon wear off when staff realise the goals aren’t actually obtainable. A way to combat this is to set real goals that staff can reach and support them in their mission of workplace development and growth.
Another tactic managers need to remember is to not move your goal post half way through the game, as they say. Give your employees a clear outline of goals that will need to be met in order to be promoted within the company.
Ensuring a safe place to work
When people generally think about safety, they think of physical safety in the workplace. Whilst that of course is very important, we’d like to think of workplace culture extending to a different type of safety.
What we’re pertaining to is an employee feeling safe to be able to work in their workplace, safe to have an opinion regardless of their beliefs, safe to not be harassed or bullied, safe in the sense that they are paid adequately for their role, safe that they can meet KPI’s.
What we found is that an employee who feels a particular safety in regards to the items outlined above, is able to focus on their work and build value for their employer. They are respected for their work and respected for who they are, including their opinions and ideas.
Ways of facilitating change to ensure you are creating a safe work environment could include changes to policy, education of the team as well as team bonding activities. The best way for staff to align with each other is to learn more about their colleagues. All team members deserve an inclusive work environment and to feel safe and happy at work, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or age.
Other ways to ensure that you as an employer are doing what you can is to undertake salary reviews to see that you are meeting market expectations, reviewing KPI results to see if your team is actually hitting KPI’s (are they actually achievable?) as well as holding regular team meetings that allow differences of opinions, even with management. Your team will always have differing opinions and they should feel safe to share their thoughts and feel valued.
Positive culture starts at the top
A positive workplace culture should start at the top and filter down throughout the organisation. Whilst it is important for all staff to contribute to the company’s culture, it’s essential for management to lead by example.
This can be achieved through transparency and by leaders making sure they are visible and accessible to all staff. Leaders using the phrase ‘My door is always open’, is very unsubstantial if it’s not actually true.
Managers should consider doing an anonymous survey to actually get insight from employees about how they feel in regards to the company’s culture. Whilst this isn’t always a suitable option for smaller companies with only a few people, managers could consider talking to the staff in a judgement free conversation where staff will be supported for honestly describing any issues or improvements they want to see within the organisation.
The characteristics of the workplace and attitudes towards the company by both employees and consumers denotes the overall culture of the company. Companies should be aware that it’s not just the internal workplace community that feels the presence of the culture, but also the external community. Creating a positive workplace culture can increase staff retention rates, increase productivity, attract new professionals as well as attracting new clients.
If you feel that your workplace is falling behind, it’s never too late to review what you are doing and implement change to turn it around. A positive workplace culture is always going to be of benefit to the team and it is quite likely it will produce better results including less headaches for management and retention and development of the team.
We would always be happy to speak to you further about our insights. Contact our team to find out how we can help you.