How to create a workplace culture with impact
‘Workplace culture’ isn’t an empty, indefinable phrase, but an ethos that can have a tangible effect on your company’s productivity, engagement and retention. Once a culture is imprinted on an organisation, it becomes the template that defines how employees interact and how key decisions are made. It is therefore vital to examine the type of culture your company is promoting and take the appropriate steps to improve or redefine it. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
Are your employees communicating?
How effectively do they collaborate?
Are there silos in your midst?
Constructing a company culture isn’t simply about short-term success with your current employees, it’s about creating an ethos that binds generations of employees together now and for years to come. Here are our 5 top tips on how to create a culture which has a real impact on your organisation.
1. Make communication one of your core values
A more engaged workforce will always be a more productive one. This engagement can only be created in an environment where employees feel empowered enough to share ideas, express concerns and know their voices can be heard at all times. Great communication is the gateway to innovation, collaboration and a more inclusive workspace, but does your organisation truly value it? Digital communication tools like Slack and Teams, when used effectively, can connect entire work communities together, driving conversations between departments, cultures, hierarchy and silos. Increase productivity by facilitating those key conversations – create channels that include people and encourage participation in discussions. Create the right conditions for effective communication by not only making sure you have the right tools available, but that you also have the initiatives and values in place to encourage the use of them
2. Encourage and help foster collaboration
You’ve created a culture of communication within your workplace. Conversations are being driven across every level. But what’s the substance of these conversations? Are the right people being brought together? A collaborative culture is key to dispelling silos and fostering innovation within an organisation. However, this means investing in the people within your organisation and understanding the types of relationships and environments that will bring out the best in your employees. Digital tools allow us to understand our employees better and to facilitate the great connections that give rise to great working relationships. A collaborative culture means channelling the lines of communication to the right destinations and capitalising on the existing knowledge within your organisation.
3. Attract diverse talent and create an inclusive environment
A diverse and inclusive culture where everyone is treated equally is integral to improving productivity, engagement and retention. A diverse workplace attests to an environment that offers different voices and perspectives, while an inclusive culture ensures that these diverse voices are always included in the conversation. A diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace strengthens the atmosphere within an organisation, with each individual knowing they possess an equal opportunity to effect change within a company. With diverse teams ‘more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability’ and better prepared to ‘radically innovate’, a culture that promotes Diversity and Inclusion is absolutely essential for a culture that has impact.
4. Align your values
Your culture contains the values you project to the outside world, whether intentionally or not. It’s therefore essential to ensure that the message you’re presenting externally to your customers aligns with the messages you are sending to your people. What values do you want to promote? Are you happy with presenting your workplace culture to the outside world? If not, take steps to change them before they become too deeply entrenched. A strong set of values held together by your company’s culture gives new and existing employees an ethos to rally around. In difficult times, these values will offer reassurance that an employee is in the right place and the storm will be weathered.
5. Normalise feedback
Make feedback a key part of your company’s culture by normalising it. When feedback is treated as an integral part of employee performance rather than a standardised, annual performance-review, it has the capacity to improve productivity, engagement and retention. A strong feedback culture doesn’t simply involve critiquing the performances of your employees, it also involves understanding your employees enough to motivate them and drive them forward. Consider also how age, gender, race, religion, or ethnic origin may affect the way feedback is received. Adopt a structured approach that prioritises clarity and meaning for your employees. Complement feedback from managers with mentoring initiatives that provide feedback in a supportive setting. Improve your entire organisation by valuing the individual performances of your employees.
If culture binds an organisation together, then communication, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and effective feedback can only really be cultivated in a connected workplace. A clearly defined culture might give your employees a guiding ethos, but it only really becomes tangible when appropriate measures are put in place to literally bind your organisation together. Mentoring provides the perfect solution for this. Mentoring shows that you value the development of your employees and offers a more personalised approach to development and communication. Your workplace culture can be the values you’ve adopted over time or the ideals you’d like to adopt, but remember that it can only be implemented by your people.