Whether you are talking about a corporate company, a football club, or an artisan coffee house, the conversation revolving around workplace culture has become a hot topic over the last decade. It is always interesting when something so intangible and immeasurable gains so much attention. It becomes even more fascinating when we realize that it has garnered importance in almost every industry, every sector, and department.
We have all experienced what we could refer to as buzz-word fatigue. A bombardment of words such as values, identity, and innovation, words that are all too often thrown around in the hope of establishing some resemblance of meaning along the way. Now, don’t get us wrong, these things matter; they really-really matter, but only when they have been defined. Their definition and meaning may change from company to company; what is essential is that they have a point. This article has been put together to define what workplace culture is, why it is so important, and how you can create and maintain it in the 21st Century. So, let’s get started…
- What is Workplace Culture?
- Why is Workplace Culture So Important?
- How can You Create Workplace Culture?
What is Workplace Culture?
Workplace culture can be described in many ways, but let’s start with this, it is the overall character of a company. It speaks to what the place represents, how things are done there, the inherent values and behaviors associated with the business, and of course, the atmosphere.
Each of these aspects will differ from company to company. They are naturally malleable and adaptable but what every workplace must do to become successful is to define what they want to do and who they want to be. Without doing this, you are admitting defeat before you have even started. Let’s put it this way, and it is impossible to achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are.
Culture is the expression of the attitude of a place. It is how things are done. We have all heard the expression “you could cut the atmosphere with a knife,” used to describe a situation in which everyone is feeling nervous or agitated. The expression suggests that when there is a gloomy atmosphere, it is so present that you can feel something is about to happen. The same can be said concerning workplace culture. You can feel it in the air whether or not a workplace is functioning. Workplace culture can be negative or positive but know; whether or not you like it. So, before looking at how you can create the ideal workplace in the 21st Century, let’s take a closer look at why it is so important…
Why is Workplace Culture So Important?
Workplace culture is influential for two reasons. It has a direct impact on productivity, and it shapes how a company is perceived. While these are the two main reasons, there are other aspects that workplace culture will either strengthen or weaken.
When it comes to how a company is perceived, we are talking about how the public sees and thinks about your business. It makes sense that if people from the outside look at your company in a positive light, they will want to be part of your team. To put it simply, a positive workplace culture attracts talent. Remember that we are living in the 21st Century, and job candidates will evaluate your business’s atmosphere and culture before they have even set foot in the door.
In terms of its impact on productivity, we are referring to the inner dynamics of your company. While all of the following could be related, they are affected on an individual level. Positive workplace culture will alter how your employees interact with one another, it will impact your staff’s happiness and satisfaction, and it will affect their overall performance levels. These are all interrelated, which is why we have defined them under the umbrella of productivity.
Now that we have a better understanding of workplace culture and why it is so important, let’s delve deeper into how you can create an ideal workplace culture in the 21st Century…
How can You Create Workplace Culture?
Every so often, something special happens, and a positive workplace culture comes about organically without intervention. It happens when the environment is right, the individual team members are right, and the team as a whole is right.
There are two essential things to remember on such occasions: firstly, despite coming about naturally, you will need to work to maintain it and, secondly, there are lessons to be learned from such a scenario. It was not some magic or divine intervention that allowed this to happen, and it was that everything was in place. In other words, we can take these examples and learn from them. It is what every successful business and team now does. It would help if you took responsibility for your workplace culture. Let’s see how…
- A Collaborative Foundation
- Adequate Facilities & Equipment
- Leading By Example
- Know Your Role
- Line of Communication
A Collaborative Foundation
You need to define what you want the culture of your group to be. While the company leaders should discuss the initial values and beliefs, it is always a great idea to hold open discussions with your staff as, after all, it is their culture. Certain aspects of your culture could be defined as non-negotiable, and this is fine. However, you do not want to exclude your fellow workers from the process entirely. Ask their opinion, take it into account, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Adequate Facilities & Equipment
Make sure that your workers have everything they need to do their job comfortably. There is no quicker way to create a restless and unmotivated staff than by providing them with inadequate facilities.
If you plan to grow your business, you need to ensure that you put yourself in a position to conduct your work professionally. There is no point in increasing production if you can’t handle it. We suggest doing your inventory management with QuickBooks as this will allow your business to accept payments, manage and pay bills, and organize your payroll all in one place. Please don’t make the mistake of cutting costs when it comes to having the right equipment. If you do, you have no chance of creating a positive workplace culture.
Leading By Example
There is no point in setting rules and quoting company values without following them yourself. You need to lead by example, or you risk losing your authority and your staff’s belief. Never break the rules you expect your staff to follow.
In essence, lead by example. Show your co-workers how a team member should behave instead of just painting a company motto on the wall of the break room. If you do this, others will soon follow. Never underestimate the fact that your staff will look to you in terms of how to behave. When it comes to leading by example, you are either your best friend or your greatest foe. Do yourself a favor and choose the former!
Know Your Role
There are two sides to knowing your role. As a leader, you don’t want to do too little, and you also don’t want to interfere too much. You may be tempted to get involved in every small decision to feel like you are in control of your business, but in the long term, this will never work out well. It would help if you remembered that you are still part of the team while you are in charge. Let your staff do what they have been hired to…
Furthermore, you need to make sure that your staff knows their roles and responsibilities. It may come as a surprise, but this is a mistake, so many companies make. Many employees are left confused as to what their job is, and this will inevitably cause problems. Nothing affects productivity more than being unsure of what it is you are doing. Ensure that every member of your team knows their role and then let them do it.
Line of Communication
Communication is a vital component of every business. There are endless systems and methods you can put in place to improve communication, but, ultimately, they all boil down to one thing, openness. Employees need to feel like they can speak about anything that is on their minds. If you are running a company, there will be problems. Not everything will go to plan at all times; always remember this is normal. You need to make sure everyone feels comfortable enough to talk about things, even if they are negative. This is the only way you will solve internal issues and the only way to maintain positive workplace culture.
Workplace culture is essential. Don’t forget that you are always responsible for creating and maintaining your workplace culture. Take the aspects above into account, and you will be well on your way to create the ideal workplace culture in the 21st Century…