If you’ve ever read a Glassdoor review or known someone who has, you’ll understand the importance of workplace culture to employees and potential employees alike.
If you have it turns out you’re not alone. The popular workplace review app and website found in a recent survey that 77% of respondents consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there. This means potential employees are seeking the reviews of previous and current workers to gain an insider’s perspective into what it feels like to work at the company, prior to even submitting their applications.
In a 2021 study, Glassdoor also found that toxic work culture was one of the biggest motivators in employee resignation.
So, What Exactly is Workplace Culture?
Workplace culture, like any culture, is the sum of a number of factors that shape the nature of the entity. Culture can be defined by a set of values, ethics and beliefs. From a corporate perspective, it can impact all the way from high-stake business decisions, to day-to-day operations including even the layout of the communal kitchen.
To put this into context, take an example. The popular oat milk brand Oatley, demonstrates how they foster a culture of kindness through the implementation of buddy systems (for new starters) and inclusion of quiz shows between colleagues to get to know each other better. The study notes this was also implemented remotely throughout the pandemic.
Wework.com also describes a company’s culture as its personality. It forms a critical part of an organisation’s identity.
Workplace Culture is Mutually Beneficial
Positive company culture is crucial to employees and employers alike. A number of studies have shown a strong correlation between heightened stock performance and wellbeing in the workplace. So at the end of the day, it’s also imperative for employers to ensure their workers are functioning in an encouraging work environment as a long-term determinant for the company’s success.
A poor working environment for employees can also garner unprecedented media attention and earn the company a notorious reputation. This then forms another layer to the company’s identity or public persona. Amazon is a prime example. An article published in the New York 1https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/te Times examined the (now trillion-dollar) company’s culture that encouraged unpaid overtime, unsafe working conditions and competitive one-upmanship when it comes to collaboration.
So it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the success of an organisation is dependent upon the sum of all of its parts and its employees’ wellbeing plays a prominent part in that determination. A 2016 study by IZA World of Labour found that a rise in workers’ happiness leads to an increase in productivity. The importance of employee satisfaction is therefore just as much of a consequential factor on employers, as it is to employees.
Influence of Mental Health
Employee satisfaction comes from a number of avenues including the crucial consideration of employees’ mental health. The World Health Organisation recommends increased mental health training and intervention in the workplace, on a global scale. Unsurprisingly, availability to mental health resources from employers grew since the pandemic.
There are plenty of ways to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of mental health to employees. Consider a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health if learning more about psychology is on your radar.
While the importance of a positive workplace culture might not exactly be news, working from home in a post-pandemic world has highlighted key improvements in employee wellbeing. In retaining WFH practices since COVID-19 was declared no longer a public health emergency, employers have listened to the benefits that working from home has had on its employees, both in their mental health in the workforce and in the ramifications on the quality of the work being produced. Some of these benefits include a better work-life balance, increased freedom and even a reduction on company spending.
Similarly, it’s common knowledge that if you work with people you like you are more likely to enjoy working for the organisation. A 2010 study found that how people feel about their co-workers affects not only their job satisfaction, but also their daily satisfaction with life.
What are ways we can foster a positive work environment?
There are many creative ways that employers can manifest a positive culture in the workplace. It’s important to remember that company culture doesn’t exist without people. So ensuring that everyone in the workplace is happy from the bottom up is imperative to fostering this positivity.
Create a welcoming environment
While this might be the goal of many managers, it’s important that everyone plays their part. This includes the obvious exclusion of discrimination and personal biases, rudeness, bullying, exclusion and counterproductive behaviour. It’s important however to be educated and aware of these issues – training in such issues is recommended.
Forming and nurturing relationships
This can include regular (and perhaps not too strictly formal) catch ups between managers and their staff and can range to team building events – both formal and informal – such as team-based competitions and more casual dinners.
Offering a plethora of learning, coaching and career development opportunities
Allow employees the opportunities to expand their skill sets, with the potential to grow within the company. A 2021 study found that a lack of opportunities for career advancement was among the top reasons people left their jobs in the US. Encourage growth in the company so your employees can grow in unison.
Supporting work-life balance
As already mentioned, mental health and well being of employees have become paramount in assessing work-life balance across the board. Many employers offer EAPs, mental health days, access to mental and physical health apps and of course the inclusion of flexible work where possible. Research shows that flexible work options, including working from home, are now one of the biggest perks people seek when applying for jobs. Flexible work options can also involve letting workers choose which hours in the day they are able to work, in accordance with their lifestyles.
Many studies have highlighted the importance of workplace culture on employees (and employers alike) and the positive repercussions that can come from an encouraging workplace. The impact of a positive company culture on business performances is unlikely to show in the short term 2https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2158244019835934 however is essential for the long-term survival of any business. This mutually beneficial aspect to employers and employees is a crucial part in the functioning of a successful business.
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