Culture is the character and personality of your organisation. It’s what makes your business unique, and calculated as the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes.
Culture attracts talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance.
The biggest mistake organisations make is letting their workplace culture form naturally without defining what they want it to be.
Culture is as important as your business strategy because it either strengthens or undermines your objectives. A positive culture is significant, especially as potential candidates evaluate your organisation and its climate. A strong, positive, clearly defined and well-communicated culture attracts talent that fits.
It will drive engagement and retention. Culture impacts how employees interact with their work and your organisation. It impacts happiness and satisfaction. Research shows that employee happiness and satisfaction are linked to strong workplace culture (Source: Deloitte). It affects performance! Organisations with stronger cultures outperform their competitors financially and are generally more successful.
A multitude of factors plays a role in developing workplace culture, including:
The way your leaders communicate and interact with employees, what they communicate and emphasise, their vision for the future, what they celebrate and recognise, what they expect, the stories they tell, how they make decisions, and the extent to which they are trusted, and the beliefs and perceptions they reinforce.
How your organisation is managed—its systems, procedures, structure, hierarchy, controls, and goals. The degree to which managers empower employees to make decisions, support and interact with them, and act consistently.
Practices related to recruiting, selection, on-boarding, pay, rewards and recognition, professional development, advancement/promotion, performance management, wellness, and work/life balance, as well as workplace traditions.
Policies and Philosophies
Employment policies include, but are not limited to, attendance, dress code, code of conduct, and scheduling.
The people you hire — their personalities, beliefs, values, diverse skills and experiences, and everyday behaviours.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Clarity of mission, vision, and values and whether they honestly reflect the beliefs and philosophies of your organisation, how inspiring they are to your employees, and the extent to which the mission, vision, and values are stable, widely communicated and continuously emphasised.
The manner in which communication occurs in your workplace. Importantly, the degree, type, and frequency of interaction and communication between leaders and employees, and managers and employees, including the extent of transparency in sharing information and making decisions.
Don’t make the following mistakes
- Create policies and workplace programs based on what other employers do versus whether they fit our work environment.
- Hire employees who don’t fit.
- Tolerate management styles that threaten employee engagement and retention.
- Don’t create and communicate a clear and inspiring mission, vision, and set of values.
- Work environments are lacklustre.
- Don’t consider how our everyday actions (or inaction) as leaders are affecting the formation of our culture.