What is Workplace Culture?
Workplace culture is probably the most misunderstood term in organizational parlance. The general perception that we have on workplace culture is that it is the personality of an organization. But that often fails to give a clearer idea. It is the underlying beliefs, values, attitudes, and assumptions of the workplace people. In organizations, leadership and organizational approaches and strategies have a significant impact on it. It is the collective knowledge of the people in the organization that shapes the operational structure. That is why every company culture is different. It is both the tangible and intangible structure that every member perceives and contributes towards it collectively.
Decoding the Misconceptions of a Workplace Culture
You do not build your workplace culture with your words
The general idea of building a strong culture is talking about it. But it is not. Big words or quotes that lie in your office wall doesn't add any value to your culture if you do not act on it. Painting your walls with your core company values may make your workplace aesthetically pleasing, but it would not add any real value. It is the same as reading great motivational quotes and never implementing the right strategies and acting on it.
A healthy workplace culture evolves with a great team
If you believe that a strong founding team, resources, and products can build your culture, you're mistaken. Business leaders must find the right strategies to implement their core beliefs among their employees. It takes deliberate communication and tracking down the behaviors of the employees from time to time. You might have the best teams and resources, but if you fail in creating a great culture, your business will die with time.
Offering Employee Perks is Enough
Employee perks and benefits add significant value to the company. But is that enough? Your culture doesn't shift overnight by providing employees with a gift voucher or enrolling them to free wellness classes. Your culture is not driven by only tangible benefits but with a humane approach that solves the employee's needs. Workplace culture must connect to your employees at the human level, and it must give them a clear idea about the values and expectations.
Organizational values cannot be changed
Everything changes and evolves with time. The same holds for workplace culture. A small startup might have to adapt to new business strategies and techniques with time. Every year the corporate culture trends take a new shift, and you must adapt to a culture that can yield you more positive results.
The Need for Creating a Positive Work Culture
According to a Deloitte study, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is essential to business success. The study also emphasizes the correlation between how employees feel at work and how their company articulates and sustains workplace culture.
Employees spend the majority of their time at their workplaces. Therefore, the workplace culture has a significant impact on their lives. It is crucial to provide them a working environment that they enjoy and respect. A positive workplace culture improves teamwork and enhances productivity. It boosts employee morale, overall employee satisfaction, and reduces unwanted stress.
A positive work culture promotes a healthy work environment and helps employees to put forward their concerns. It also drives employee engagement and helps in attracting and retaining top talent.
It is, therefore, important to understand the critical aspects of workplace culture for better organizational success.
Here are the 7 Essential Aspects of a Workplace Culture
A defined purpose and goals give the employees a bigger picture to look at. We all intrinsically want to contribute to the greater good and make a difference. A sense of purpose provides the workforce with the enthusiasm they need. It improves employees' work processes and their behavior. It is also vital to demonstrate actions that employees can regularly take to feel responsible for these goals.
2. Learning Opportunities
Learning opportunities help employees to develop their skills and their job satisfaction. Organizations can benefit a lot by providing learning opportunities. It extends the skill sets of the workforce, and they become more efficient in their jobs. Employees are satisfied and feel a sense of fulfillment with their career development. A culture that takes care of the employees' needs builds a sustainable business. It is important to touch them at the human level and understand how to blend into the culture. Providing them the right learning experience is a must to enhance their productivity and overall satisfaction.
A culture of appreciation is crucial for any work culture. The culture of appreciation builds organizational effectiveness and gives the employees a sense of confidence and acknowledgment. An organization cannot reach its full potential if it does not exercise the culture of genuine appreciation. Lack of appreciation resulted in low employee morale and reduced productivity. Organizations that focus clearly on employee appreciation drive better employee engagement and high performance.
If you are not paying attention to your employees' physical, social, emotional, and financial health, you cannot build a strong work culture. It is critical to attend to their psychological and physical wellbeing. Provide them the opportunity to improve their wellbeing and be empathetic. Keep an open flow of communication and track how they feel. Many companies that claim to provide for their employees' wellbeing failed miserably in the covid-19 crisis. It shows how change in the work culture is not exercised when it's needed most. Events like this are a litmus paper test that many fail to pass, those who build a sustainable workforce.
Teamwork is a shared responsibility of team members. It is a collaborative process that shows teaches unity, strengthens the beliefs in shared goals, boosts workflow speed, gives a sense of belonging, and more. Every individual performance in a team adds a lot of value with the right teamwork spirit. People bring their own skill sets on the same table, and working in a group allows forming a symbiotic relationship. Teamwork culture is the shared responsibility that helps in problem-solving and builds productivity. A workplace that encourages teamwork leads the game to those who do not emphasize it.
6. Respect and Fairness
You would not want to build a work culture that is biased and unfair. Organizations must be mindful of this aspect of work culture. It must encourage respect and fairness. Biases and being disrespectful can make a work environment very toxic. The internal behavior of the team members and between the managers and the employees must be monitored. A new hire might not be a cultural fit initially, but that must not lead to being disrespectful towards him/her.
People are drawn to great leaders and their leadership qualities. And leadership has a significant role in influencing a workplace culture. The way a leader leads a company and builds strategies tells a lot about the business outcome and employees' productivity. It is on the leadership practices that can make or break a work culture. The critical factor here is to be flexible and adaptive with time. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a misconception that workplace culture is static, and the values cannot be changed. The leadership approaches must adapt and evolve with time with the workforce size and trends. A good leader knows how to build a positive work culture that thrives.
Positive behavior in the workplace is the result of effective leadership and an efficient management style.