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Work Culture and its Importance

The pandemic paved way for a huge shift in the way people worked. More and more people now work remotely or on a hybrid basis.

In the wake of this, a change in workplace culture has begun. Some companies have used this as an opportunity to re-evaluate their company beliefs and ideals to align with a more positive and engaging working environment, whether this is at home or back in the office.

But what is workplace culture?

Is it a part of the company manifesto, beliefs, values, and behaviours?

Well yes and more.

Forbes describes it as “the shared values, belief systems, attitudes, and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share. This is shaped by individual upbringing and social and cultural context. In a workplace, however, the leadership and the strategic organisational directions and management influence the workplace culture to a huge extent.”

So why is work culture important?

Because it can have a big impact on your business. A positive work culture can help you attract and retain talented employees, improve customer satisfaction, and boost productivity. Positive work culture is often characterized by values such as respect, trust, fairness, and cooperation. On the contrary, negative work culture can lead to problems such as absence, low morale, and high turnover.

If the pandemic has taught us anything it is the importance of protecting our mental health and wellbeing. This is also an essential component of a positive workplace culture and should be the starting point for any company.

A healthy workplace culture begins at the top. CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey (2022), in partnership with Simplyhealth says “Senior leaders also have a defining influence on the culture and how people behave towards each other. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who are not afraid to show compassion, who consciously role-model healthy working practices and foster an environment where people feel safe.”

So, what happens when it turns negative?

If a workplace environment is toxic it will no doubt poison everything - from performance and productivity to teamwork and morale. This will always reflect badly on the business that you do.

As you can see from our latest poll on LinkedIn 40% of people said they would quit their job over a toxic culture. This leads to a constant cycle of re-recruiting. Higher retention rates often have much more to do with the culture of a workplace than anything else. Salary, benefits and even progression can all be outweighed by company culture. On average we spend more time at work than anywhere else so being happy is everything.

How do we implement and maintain workplace culture?

As we said before it begins at the top. An important task for any CEO is a positive cultural directive and it should be completed and filtered down as soon as possible. Beginning with the company manifesto ask yourself questions such as:

'What are our company’s values and why are they important to us?' and 'How do these impact our business daily?'

Having a strong idea of your beliefs and core values will ultimately pave the way to creating a positive culture for everyone.

To be successful in the implementation of this cultural directive, open and honest communication is key. Set transparent expectations and explain clearly what behaviours and attitudes are valued (and those that are not) by your company. Put it in writing to minimise any confusion or misinterpretation and it can then be referred to in the future.

Setting the right tone from the top is the penultimate way of leading by example. Making you and your employees accountable for their actions and behaviour will ensure everyone follows suit and adopts the company culture you have created.

Of course, like anything culture is dynamic and will no doubt change over time as your business grows and evolves. So, it’s critical to keep on investing and enhancing your company culture over time. This way it will continue to improve and the positive aspects of it will help your business to thrive in the future.

When people are happy at work they are naturally more productive, and loyal and have the drive to succeed and that is why having a positive workplace culture is so important to your business.

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