For the most part, no matter how strong a product or service is, an organisation requires a strong team of employees behind the scenes, doing what they do best day after day. A bad workplace environment makes this less likely to happen. This is precisely why a quality company culture can have such a huge, positive impact on business.
Before you start drawing upon these ideas that will help build a strong workplace culture, we first need to understand just what workplace culture is and why it is so important. Read on to get a better handle on this important concept.
What is workplace culture?
Workplace culture is an all-encompassing term that consists of several main aspects and describes what it’s like to operate in a given workspace. Some organisations like to try to sum up their culture in a snazzy tagline that they think will draw in new employees. But this might be a mistake, as it most likely will not do enough to explain all the different pieces that come together to create a strong environment.
Some of the most important pieces of workplace culture are:
- Office environment
This can include both physical items and non-physical environment-building aspects. In terms of physical items, think about the type of furniture and decoration inside the workplace. Should your space be more polished and professional or feature leisure items such as ping pong tables and movie posters? Non-physical aspects include the playing music and having audible conversations in shared working spaces.
- Management style
The way workers are managed can greatly affect the overall tone of an office. Some organisations are more rigid, preferring employees to be in the office at regularly scheduled times each day and being heavily involved in day-to-day matters. Others are more lenient, allowing team members to come and go and do as they please as long as they’re getting the job done.
- Office behaviour
This encompasses the personalities of team members and helps shape the overall mood and day-to-day feeling of the workplace. Some offices might have a more social atmosphere, while others are more focused on tasks (though those don’t have to be mutually exclusive).
Why is a strong workplace culture important?
Making a work space as pleasant as possible is key to getting the most out of employees. A poor workplace culture can have harmful effects on employee motivation and put a dent in productivity. In worst-case scenarios, your best workers will become disillusioned with coming into the office for the daily grind and look for opportunities elsewhere.
How you can avoid culture traps
As a leader in your organisation, there are several things you can do to improve workplace culture. But there are also dangerous generalisations that, if subscribed to, can torpedo your efforts. Be conscious of the following pitfalls to make sure you avoid them.
- Tailor your tactics
What works for one company might not always work for another when it comes to creating a positive workplace culture. Your methods should be tailored to your company and your team members. Don’t try to force positive culture with social events that won’t interest your employees. And don’t try to pump music into an office if it’s going to annoy instead of please. Take the temperature of your business and your team and then plan the best route.
- Realise its value
There might not always be a way to quantify the impact of positive company culture. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Trust us when we say that having a positive workplace culture is worth it in the end. While it’s not a cure-all for a poor business model or other bad working conditions, a strong culture can improve productivity.
- It’s not all about the money
Providing rewards and incentives when motivating staff is a fine practice. But it’s not the be-all, end-all with workers. If money and other materialistic perks were the only things people cared about, everybody would be fighting for the same high-paying jobs. It’s important to try to create a working environment that is healthy overall, not just one that is predicated on shiny rewards.
Taking a more holistic approach to building and growing a strong workplace culture is the best way to go about creating an environment that is more conducive to an overall enjoyment of heading into work. While the information above should serve as a roadmap for you and your business, only you know what will work best for your specific situation.
Understanding just what workplace culture is and why it’s important gives you all the more reason to take it seriously. Keep an eye on the Saxons blog for more pieces about cultivating a strong company culture and other quality leadership tips.