Building and Sustaining A Positive Workplace Culture

In today’s competitive business world, we can’t stress the importance of a positive work culture enough. It’s not just a buzzword or a nice-to-have aspect of an organisation. It’s a critical factor that directly influences employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall business success. 

A positive work culture fosters an environment where employees feel supported, respected, and empowered to do their best work. But what really is culture, and why is it important to build one in your company? In this article, we’ll explore the essential components of a positive work culture, why it matters, and practical strategies for building and maintaining it.

What is workplace culture?

According to Forbes, workplace culture is “The shared values, belief systems, attitudes, and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.” 

A positive culture at work contributes to employee engagement and impacts motivation. According to a survey by Harris Interactive for Deloitte, 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank having engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success. A positive workplace culture also leads to improved productivity, as well as helps a business attract and retain employees. 

Workplace culture isn’t simply having a vision and mission statement. Neither is workplace culture just talking about a set of values during onboarding. There’s a difference between companies who embed their beliefs into their operations, and those who don’t. Company culture goes beyond perks and benefits—we like to say that culture doesn’t just mean pizza Fridays or company get-togethers. It involves the core values, attitudes, and behaviours that shape the everyday experiences of employees and business leaders alike. 

Common barriers and challenges to positive workplace culture

Creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture is never a simple process, and can sometimes be met with challenges. Identifying these challenges are key to pinpointing which measures a business should take when they look at improving or building their own workplace culture.

Unclear vision and values

A company’s values are tied into its culture. If an organisation doesn’t make its mission, vision, and values clear to its employees, how can it establish its own culture? A way to overcome this barrier is to ensure that each employee is aware of the company’s vision and set of values by including these in the employee handbook.

Leadership not setting the tone

Leaders are a key factor in promoting a positive workplace culture. They act as the most direct embodiment of the company’s culture for each employee. If leadership doesn’t model the ideal behaviour expected from the company as a whole, employees won’t be encouraged to act according to the standards either. 

Communication Barriers

There are different communication barriers in the workplace, including cultural differences, emotional or psychological barriers, and even physical barriers. Identifying any barriers to communication will also provide managers and leaders with ideas on how to work towards a positive workplace culture.

Strategies to build and sustain a positive workplace culture

Creating a positive culture at any organisation isn’t an easy feat by any means, nor does it happen overnight. However, here are several ways companies can start building culture. 

Encourage open communication in the workplace

Feedback platforms and feedback loops should let employees and managers communicate openly with each other about workplace challenges. Letting employees know that their feedback is valued and being listened to contributes to morale. It also makes managers aware of any issues that they might otherwise be unaware of. 

Establish core values

It’s also worth looking at a company’s values when attempting to build its culture. Are these values aligned with the company’s goals and practices? 

Another question leaders should ask is whether their employees are aware of the company values or not. The values, as well as the vision and mission statements of an organisation, shouldn’t be set and forget elements. A good way of ingraining these values into employees’ mindsets is by citing examples of how the values are shown in the way that the company does business. 

For example: at Now Actually, one of our values is being genuine. We live this by always giving honest and unbiased advice to clients. It’s an easy value to remember, and one that we exhibit in the day-to-day interactions with our clients and with each other.

Create employee recognition and rewards programs

Employee recognition and rewards programs positively contribute to a company’s culture by showing employees that their work is valuable. An analysis by Gallup found that employees who don’t feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

When we say rewards programs, we don’t just mean monetary incentives. These programs can range from employee of the month rewards, to publicly recognising and acknowledging the performance of individuals or teams in the business. 

Promoting a culture of recognition and rewards builds employee morale and improves job satisfaction. It also helps build stronger relationships within teams, enhancing teamwork and leads to better retention rates.  

At Now Actually, we occasionally shout out team members on our company-wide chat when they’ve achieved note-worthy tasks. It serves two purposes: the first being that employees can see that their work is valued, and the second is that this creates a sense of team unity that we’re all aware of each other’s successes. 

Make training and development opportunities available

Another way of promoting a positive workplace culture is by encouraging employees to grow professionally. Training and development programs show an organisation’s dedication to enhancing employees’ skills and knowledge. Focusing on professional development has plenty of benefits for both a business and its employees.  

We’re huge believers in growth and development at Now Actually, and engage in conversations with team members about what training they would like to explore in order to further their professional development. A workplace that encourages employees to take up training they’re interested in is one that promotes positive workplace culture.

HR and its role in promoting positive workplace culture

HR plays a key role in business decisions, including the culture and engagement of your organisation. Learn about Now Actually’s solutions for organisations with workplace issues or employee engagement matters.

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