Culture counts: The power of workplace culture

With the evolving landscape of corporate culture, soft skills have gained prominence alongside hard skills, reshaping the dynamics of the workplace. …

Employee engagement arises out of culture and not the other way around. – Moe Carrick & Carrie Dunaway

With the evolution of corporate and office culture, soft skills have come to light as being just as valuable as hard skills within the business world. The movement towards a care-based approach in the workplace has meant that company culture has risen to the forefront of a healthy organisational environment. Longevity and success in a role are no longer defined simply by financial compensation or the benefits offered, but more is now needed to reach the level of fulfilment employees seek. As the work-life balance becomes more integrated, we pursue trust, respect, innovation, autonomy, and support in both our work and home lives.

What is company culture anyway?

Forbes defines company culture as “the collection of unwritten norms, belief and collective attitudes that shape how things get done within your organisation”. As with each organisation itself, company culture is unique and dynamic, and can be adapted to the changing needs of the workplace as required.

What does a healthy work culture look like?

A hallmark of healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. – Ed Catmull

As with most things in life, a great company culture doesn’t just happen; it requires intentionality and dedication to become a continuing success. Historically, the creation of company culture lay with the HR department of an organisation, however, with the rise of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) this has shifted to a shared responsibility. Moving away from a top-down approach, many businesses now involve all members in the definition and development of their company’s culture.

A great organisational culture goes deeper than good company benefits and progressive offices. The success and sustainability of an employee in their role is highly dependent on whether they feel valued and respected, whether there is a holistic appreciation of the individual they are both in the workplace and out. There are many facets that make up a healthy work culture, of which a pertinent few are explored below. 

  • Credibility – managers and leaders need to practice what they preach and lead by example in their teams in order to build relationships based on trust.
  • Respect – employers demonstrate respect by acknowledging their employees’ efforts, asking for their contributions, and valuing their holistic wellbeing; being aware of their lives beyond the workplace.
  • Values – an organisation’s values guide the identity of both the company and its employees, who they are and why they embark to do the work they do. This is in a way the glue that aligns the team with a common vision.
  • Autonomy and trust – these are developed by having the belief and confidence in your employees that they are able to cope with the appropriate demands placed upon them. They are empowered through realistic responsibility and allowed a level of autonomy that supports their independent growth.
  • Pride – when one is able to believe and stand behind the company you work for, to take pride in the work you do and in those you work with. This can also increase a sense of cohesion within the team or company, and a willingness to engage.
  • Belonging – ‘belonging’ falls on the third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The human need to belong applies just as much to office culture; being part of a team where one feels accepted and appreciated for whom one is a vital component of building a healthy company culture.
  • Effective leadership – leaders have both the opportunity and the responsibility to inspire, align, motivate and lead a team by example. Honesty and trust form the foundation of effective leadership and provide employees with firm ground from which to move the company forward.
  • Innovation – creating a safe space for employees to express views and contribute novel ideas to the organisational think tank, increasing the drive for continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Support – collaboration with, and learning from, each other, with the goal of ultimately reaching better results.

Does it really make a difference?

Research has shown that there are both qualitative and quantitative benefits to be gained from a healthy company culture. A few of the advantages include better employee engagement, alignment and cohesion within teams, increased profitability, improved reputation and customer loyalty, greater employee well-being and employee retention. A positive work culture also builds resilience, innovation, and adaptability within its people, therefore maximising performance. According to Gallup, companies that prioritise their culture experience a significant 33% increase in revenue. Culture is an important factor for 46% of those seeking employment, with 88% holding the belief that a strong and healthy work culture is vital for success. New generations of employees coming into the workplace prioritise culture fit above other deciding factors, and 15% turn down positions on account of misaligned corporate culture.

The importance of values

An organisation’s values sit at the heart of its culture. Serving as both a moral and ethical compass, company values guide an organisation’s behaviour, while concurrently creating its identity and determining its success. Far from a required ‘tick box’, the values chosen form a foundation from which to inform problem-solving and decision-making, reflect the aspirations of the company and serve to align team members towards common goals. It has been found that one of the ways employees relate to their company culture is through the organisation’s value set.

The quality of relationships and connection promotes a healthy culture

“The secret to attracting and holding onto the world’s best talent isn’t about the work perks — it’s about relationships.” – Claire Hastwell

The foundation of culture rests on the quality of the relationships created in the team. This serves to weave together the qualities of trust, respect, credibility, belonging, pride, and support, that are paramount in the fabric of office culture. In addition, it has been shown that social connection is essential in minimizing workplace stress and preventing burnout and increasing resilience and self-care. This in turn creates a safe and dynamic space for innovation, communication and creativity.

You can build a much more wonderful company on love than you can on fear. – Kip Tindell

There is neuroscientific research around the benefit of a care-based approach to understanding individuals within the workplace, and how this has led to an increased level of well-being within employees. When the organisation or employer is perceived as a ‘friend’ or safe space, the individual is able to access their pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain used for problem-solving and executive function) and put their best professional foot forward. This demonstrates that we can indeed build a more wonderful company when acting from a place of love and care, emphasizing the importance of holistically recognising the employee as a unique individual.

Conclusion

In a time where our work lives seem to increasingly integrate with our personal lives, we move towards a care-based, culture-centred occupational experience in the hope of a holistic view of ourselves as employers, employees, leaders, managers, colleagues, teammates, and individuals. The development and maintenance of a healthy company culture is vital to the success of the modern organisation, and serves as an indispensable asset for growth, performance and revenue.

References

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/company-culture/ Accessed 01/03/2024

https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/elements-of-great-company-culture Accessed 01/03/2024 Accessed 01/03/2024

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-organisational-values-guiding-principles/?trk=public_post_main-feed-card_reshare_feed-article-content Accessed 03/03/2024

https://hbr.org/2021/02/company-culture-is-everyones-responsibility  Accessed 04/03/2024

https://teamstage.io/company-culture-statistics/ Accessed 04/03/2024

https://www.atlassian.com/blog/teamwork/importance-of-healthy-workplace-relationships Accessed 04/03/2024

Author

Kimberly-Kate

Wain

Table of Contents

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay up to date with what's happening at Multiplex

Sign up to our monthly mailing list and stay in the loop. Get insights and articles sent straight to your mailbox as they’re published.