Why workplace culture really matters


Date: 2 May 2017

Why workplace culture really mattersWe often dismiss "workplace culture" as a load of consultant-speak; companies roll out initiatives designed to improve the working culture, there is a big hurrah, then things go back to the way they have always been.

But, since workplace culture is all about creating a positive and productive environment, we should really pay it more attention - and ensure we make sustainable changes.

Here are my tips to help you make positive changes in your workplace:

1. Create a common purpose

I've spent some time in some dysfunctional companies and one of the things that turned me off was the sense that the purpose of my hard work seemed to be to make money for shareholders and nothing else. That's just not going to engage people and make them want to do anything beyond what gets them through the day or helps them achieve their own goals.

If you want people to put in the extra mile and put your goals first, then they have to have something worth working for. Better still, get them involved in exploring and shaping that purpose, and they will make it their own purpose too.

Values and behaviour do matter

Businesses that are clear on their values, and that actually hold themselves to account, are far more likely to have a culture that reflects those values.

Work with your staff to decide on the values you want to have at the heart of your business. Be clear on what kinds of behaviour is expected and accepted and what kinds of behaviour are not.

Make it systematic

This is where most culture-makers give up. Once they have lovely values written on a wall somewhere, they think the job is done.

Culture change is only going to work if you make it systematic. That means your culture needs to be embedded into every aspect of the business, including performance management, recruitment and promotion. If someone who is constantly rude gets promoted when you have a value of respect then the system is broken.

Equip your leaders

Managers and leaders need to understand that people leadership is a priority rather than a distraction from the day job. They need to have, or develop, strong emotional intelligence so that they understand themselves and can forge good relationships with others. They need to be able to have constructive and challenging conversations not just with their staff - they also need to be able to speak truth to power. And power needs to listen.

The consequences of not dealing with cultural issues can be tough - and in order to make it work well you need strength and courage. But if you focus on your purpose, values and desired behaviours, if you work to make sure they are at the heart of all you do, you will have a great culture. And with great culture comes infinite possibility.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Jean Gamester, founder of Semaphora.

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