The importance of a positive workplace culture
Behind the scenes of every business is its culture – an almost undefinable X-factor that affects everything from employee morale to customer service and satisfaction.
In fact, this feeling and ethos that pervades any company or organisation is linked to a whole host of metrics including staff retention, employee engagement, business growth and even customer loyalty.
So what is culture and how can you create a positive culture in your workplace?
What is workplace culture?
Harvard Business Review explains: “Culture is the tacit social order of an organisation”.
“It shapes attitudes and behaviours in wide-ranging and durable ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group”.
Importantly, culture manifests in different ways. It is reflected in the way your team works together, the way they speak to and about each other, and the service provided to your customers.
In other words, it is “felt” at every level of an organisation, including by the customers who engage with your business.
The importance of getting it right
Unlike sales data or employee retention statistics, company culture can be hard to measure, but the importance of getting it right cannot be underestimated.
Why? Because a culture that fails to engage your employees and value them leads to a host hidden and obvious costs.
- 63.3 per cent of companies find retaining employees is harder than hiring them.
- 71 per cent of executives note employee engagement is critical to their company’s success.
- 69 per cent of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated.
- Companies with high employee engagement are 21 per cent more profitable.
- Only 15 per cent of employees are engaged in the workplace.
So how can you assess your company culture and ensure it is positive?
Seek feedback from your staff
At the heart of company culture is employee satisfaction. Gauging this gives you insight into what works and what doesn’t in your workplace.
With the right questions, it tells you whether the physical workplace environment meets staff expectations, whether they have the tools they need to do their job, and whether they feel supported by management in the workplace.
It can also reveal underlying themes like general staff sentiment. For example, the traditional Net Promoter Score question of “how likely would you be to recommend working at this organisation to your friends or peers?” offers serious clues into the feel and effectiveness of your company culture.
Followed up by questions about why the answer was provided, you begin to drill down into the company culture, whether it is positive or negative, and why.
Then it’s a matter of shaping the right company culture. And this happens in a series of ways, all of which you can seek feedback on as you look to build a positive culture where staff are truly engaged and inspired.
How to shape a positive workplace culture
A positive business culture starts at the top, with a conscious leader who is clear on what the company hopes to achieve, and the behaviour their business seeks to espouse.
The business culture then translates to staff through the company’s vision as well as its hiring practices, systems and procedures.
This acts as the written framework a business culture operates within.
Staff are critical to any company culture, which is why it’s imperative not just to have staff who fulfil required duties, but also have an ethos that aligns with a company’s values.
Solid training, career opportunities and a growth mindset are often interlinked with a positive business culture.
The physical environment staff work within also shapes the culture of the organisation. After all, do they have the resources they need, the amenities they desire and the comfort they require to get the job done?
Key to any positive workplace culture is clear communication. This includes updates on company progress, shared ownership of projects and ideas, and an open-door policy that nips any potential issues in the bud.
The flow-on effect
Staff morale and satisfaction are both inextricably linked to a company’s culture which then goes on to impact the customer experience your business provides.
“A happier workforce is clearly associated with companies’ ability to deliver better customer satisfaction — particularly in industries with the closest contact between workers and customers, including retail, tourism, restaurants, health care, and financial services,” Harvard Business Review explains.
If you’re looking to assess and improve your company culture by seeking feedback from your staff, you can view our range of instant and easy-to-install feedback kiosks here.