The Art of Cultivating Culture
If you asked a room of people what’s important in a workplace, chances are you’d hear one consistent answer: culture. According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is crucial to business success. And it’s hard to disagree that motivated and happy staff breed a thriving business. But what actually defines culture? And how do you cultivate one that’s genuinely successful?
Table tennis and beers
A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking creating culture is that simple. Sure, instilling a relaxed working environment and allowing employees to have fun plays a part. But culture runs much deeper than a wine on a Friday afternoon.
In many ways, culture pins a company together. It’s shared dreams, values, ambitions, goals and ethics. It’s uniting over commonality – not in the way of race and religion – but in the way of a vision for the company and pride in playing a part in it.
Is it as simple as happy staff?
Kind of. Back to Deloitte, who found a direct correlation between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued” and those who say their organisation has a strong and successful culture.
The problem most companies face is figuring out how to authentically actualise a positive people environment. The answer? Culture comes from the top. If the big guns aren’t living the culture themselves, then staff won’t either.
Too often CEOs put money into employee ‘perks’ and parties but forget the impact of setting example. It could be demonstrating work-life balance; attending those Friday drinks; creating a flat workplace hierarchy; or recognising wins (and losses) with the team – but all of these little acts have a big impact.
Making culture work in your workplace
Value relationships: A team built on genuine relationships works better, communicates better and succeeds better. So, encourage your employees to spend time together – not just in the office. Organise group dinners or wider team outings and emphasise the importance of team camaraderie.
Invest in staff: And not just financially. A lot of companies don’t have the budgets of Google or Amazon, so expensive training and lavish extra-curricular isn’t possible. But let employees wind down early on Fridays. Be flexible with annual leave. Grant mental health days. Organise lunchtime gym classes. Ensure they feel valued; listened to; invest time in them; and you’ll be on your way to a shining culture.
Recognise hard work: It’s no secret that hardworking employees are good for business. But burn-out and dissatisfaction isn’t. So, always reward effort – whether with a day in lieu, a bonus or a genuine pat on the back. When work gets hectic, ensure your staff have the support they need. Then hard work really can be rewarding.
Lead by example: Yep, the buck stops with the boss. If leaders aren’t leading, then culture will be nothing more than an ideal. Show them it’s okay to laugh, make a mistake, have sick days and holidays, work from home… and you’ll lay the foundations for a rich, lived culture.
If you’re interested in cultivating culture – or finding a company that’s the right cultural fit for you contact firstname.lastname@example.org.