Workplace culture is the overall character of a business. It includes the beliefs, values, goals, behaviours and attitudes toward work practices. When an organisation has a positive work culture, it prioritises the well-being of its employees and encourages an environment based on trust, shared values, respect, empathy and support – improving the productivity and success of your business.
What is workplace culture?
Workplace culture is the environment you create for your employees. It determines the overall satisfaction of your workers as well as everyone who comes into contact with your business, including customers and stakeholders.
If your business has a poor workplace culture, you are likely to experience higher turnover rates, greater absenteeism, a lack of cohesion between teams, and poor productivity levels. On the other hand, if you have a positive workplace culture, you are likely to experience greater morale among employees, improved teamwork, and increased productivity and efficiency.
As an HR manager, identifying a workplace cultural fit in candidates is essential. There is a greater likelihood that employees who feel their workplace is in sync with their personal values will stay with a business longer and contribute more to its success.
Why is workplace culture important?
Culture is an important aspect of your business strategy because it can either enhance or undermine your objectives. For example, if you create a positive workplace culture for your employees then you will attract:
- A greater talent pool: Workplace culture impacts the types of candidates you attract for open positions. An inclusive workplace based on shared values and respect is more likely to attract a diverse talent pool.
- Higher engagement and retention: Workplace culture impacts how employees feel about going to work. In a strong culture, employees feel valued and more engaged with their work.
- Greater morale and employee happiness: Happy employees are likely to be more productive and stay with a company for longer.
- Stronger workplace performance: Businesses with a positive workplace culture generally outperform their competitors and are more successful.
When it comes down to it, your workplace culture and your brand are interchangeable. For a brand to become successful, it requires the collaboration and cohabitation of its employees. A great workplace culture revolves around people. These people must be engaged, empowered and satisfied with their workplace to believe in and obtain your company’s goals and visions.
How brand values play a role in establishing strong culture?
Just like workplace culture, brand values are a set of principles, beliefs, and attitudes specific to an organisation.
Company values act as a very important tool. When properly ingrained into your workplace culture, they can drive a sense of purpose; positively influencing employee engagement, strengthening relationships between you and your clients, and driving successful business decisions.
Your brand’s values and workplace culture work together to create a powerful competitive advantage and growth. Workplaces with clear brand values can:
- Attract new customers
- Build brand affinity
- Attract and retain employees
- Improve business operations
- Stay ahead of the competition
Values help employees to understand what your business stands for and what is expected of them.
A workplace culture that aligns with and has integrated their brand values will future-proof their business from poor performance and downturns and produce a business that runs on integrity and authenticity.
Not all businesses have the same values. Just like a snowflake, brand values are unique and relevant to each organisation. Some examples of good branding values include:
- Work & Play as One team
- Be Ambitious, Be Bold
- Invent Solutions
- Creative Raving Fans
It’s important that your brand values accurately represent your business and that your workplace culture and hiring processes reflect these values. If they do not, you risk developing a toxic workplace culture that can lead to problems which can quickly damage your business.
What a positive workplace culture looks like?
Businesses with positive workplace cultures tend to have a few things in common. Specifically, their employees enjoy coming to work! Here are 4 characteristics of a positive workplace culture:
- An intentional focus on employee well-being: Leaders are responsible for making culture a priority and actively seek out ways to boost morale.
- Opportunities for growth: Workplaces with positive culture prioritise employee growth by offering opportunities for training and promotion.
- Rewards and recognition: Recognising good work is a hallmark of positive workplace cultures. When employees are rewarded for a job well done, they feel valued.
- Collaboration and cohesion among teams: Successful businesses have a workplace culture based on teamwork and collaboration. When employees feel like they are part of a team effort, they become more motivated, energized and productive.
Companies that have created a positive work environment are made up of leaders and managers who value their employees and are genuinely committed to helping them grow personally and professionally.
Creating culture in teams onsite, hybrid and remote
As companies settle into this new landscape of hybrid and remote work models, it presents new challenges for managers. How do you build culture in a hybrid or remote workplace?
Half of Australian businesses offer hybrid work options to staff. While this structure may make integrating value and culture more difficult to implement, there are some key ways to make this possible.
At Employment Innovations we have implemented flexible working practices. Our teams are able to build a remote work culture without compromising on employee well-being and the quality of service delivered. Here are some of the things that have worked for us, and which will benefit your onsite, hybrid and remote team culture, too:
- Offering flexibility: Workplaces that offer flexible working options appeal to many employees as work-life balance is highly valued in today’s world. Improve and maintain your workplace culture by offering flexible arrangements such as flexible start and finish times, a work week that consists of three days offsite and two days onsite, working from home or another remote location, or choosing their own hours/work days.
- Collaboration through Cloud-based tools: Utilise project management and collaboration tools to enable onsite, hybrid and remote employees to keep in touch and maintain teamwork and morale.
- Regular feedback: It can be difficult for remote workers to feel a sense of workplace culture when they’re not at a physical workplace. To remedy this, managers can prioritise scheduling regular video meetings or emails to check-in, provide feedback and offer guidance and mentoring.
- Schedule social events: Company events and social activities can help strengthen bonds between teams and promote higher engagement and productivity. For hybrid and remote teams, schedule monthly virtual events that everyone can attend such as a coffee chat or online happy hour.
Generational demands of workplace culture and the changing needs
Diversity in the workplace is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding and respecting differences among people in respect to age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, mental and physical ability and gender.
Managing diversity in the workplace is an essential ingredient for a positive culture. In this new era, one of the biggest challenges managers face is maintaining workplace culture in an intergenerational workplace. Up to five generations now coexist in many workplaces; from the Baby Boomers who were born between 1944 and 1964 to Generation Z who are now entering the workforce. Apart from age, these generational differences come with working style differences, exposure to technology advancement, communication styles, ideas and ideologies, political stances, fashion sense, career goals and more. In order for all employees to co-exist and enjoy a positive workplace culture, it’s vital for all generations to understand the unique perspectives and needs of each other.
Generation Z (1997-)
Gen Z in the workplace are known for being extremely tech-savvy with a desire for transparency around recognition and rewards. Having grown up in an era of economic uncertainty and a changing global landscape, Gen Z cite uncertainty for the future and a lack of control as some of their biggest fears. According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 54% of Gen Z employees are ambivalent or not engaged at work. As such, it’s important for managers to help support and improve engagement for Gen Z’s at work to get the best out of them. It’s also important to provide this generation with access to health and wellbeing services that can come in the form of mental health days, mentorship programs and employee wellness benefits such as gym discounts.
Millennials value interesting work and a good work-life balance. They do not believe that excessive work demands are worth sacrifices in their personal lives. Therefore, this generation craves flexible work arrangements and are willing to give up pay rises and promotions for a job that gives them work-life balance. By 2025, millennials will make up three-quarters of the global workforce, and many of them will be in leadership positions. To give them the best chance at success, managers can focus on providing flexible arrangements as well as offering training in soft skills that can’t be learned on the Internet.
Generation X (1965-1980)
Like Millennials, Gen X values work-life balance. This generation is known to be loyal to one company and are extremely hard-working. Members of Gen X are known for having “an entrepreneurial mindset and work hard, play hard thinking,” according to US News Today. Collaboration is important for this generation including a network of work relationships and face-to-face conversations. To foster an inclusive workplace for Gen X, think about leveraging tools used to collaborate such as project management software, social events, team meetings and professional mentorship and developmental programs outside of work.
Baby Boomers (1944-1964)
The Baby Boomer generation are known for being workaholics. The majority of Baby Boomers are still in the labor force – In 2018, 53% of adults ages 54 to 72 were still working or looking for work. Hardworking and dedicated, Baby Boomers are committed to their employer and their role and responsibilities. In the workplace, Baby Boomers appreciate a culture that rewards and recognises their work ethic and are motivated by perks, promotions and status. They also believe in ‘face time’ at the office and may have difficulty adjusting to hybrid/remote work models. For this reason, managers should make in-person communication a priority when dealing with Baby Boomers as well as give them a sense of pride and ownership in the workplace.
Implementing the right HR solution for your business can greatly improve workplace culture. The easiest way for managers to boost employee morale and well-being at work is to take an active approach. Working with an outsourced HR Partner service can help you develop strategies and processes to build and enable positive workplace culture for all. If you would like to speak with an HR Advisor to discuss your company’s HR Strategy, get in touch.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.