How a positive culture can help your company thrive

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‘Culture’ is another of those business buzzwords that can be hard to pin down but, in your position as leader, things will get increasingly harder if you don’t take the time to define and cultivate a positive organisational culture of your own.

Yes, a decent salary can shine a favourable light when payday rolls around, but our research shows that it’s not the be-all and end-all. In fact, if money is the only motivator, your people will merely show up to do the day job and leave as soon as possible. And the effect of this transactional workforce will limit productivity, increase attrition rates, diminish your brand and leave company morale as flat as a pancake.

So, what’s going to provide motivation, enthusiasm and job satisfaction? A strong workplace culture, with a clear sense of purpose and belonging is right up there.

To put it simply, a good work culture can determine how you feel on a Sunday evening about getting up for work on a Monday morning.

In business transformation, one of the core aspects of supercharging (or resurrecting) a business is defining your purpose and clarifying the culture that will get you there. A good culture isn’t something that just happens. It needs to be thought about and defined in terms of the kind of organisation you want to be. It should permeate your entire organisation from how you position your brand to how you deliver your services, and everything in between.

That includes the type of people you want to hire. Regardless of the skills needed to do the job, are they the right cultural fit for your business? Without defining your company culture, you leave yourself open to hiring talented individuals who can decimate your company culture, your reputation as a leader, and can start a chain reaction of resignations from the team you want to keep.

How people feel when working with you, with each other, and as part of your brand are fundamental reasons why people will join and stay (or leave) your organisation. This leads back to the most fundamental aspect of all – your purpose. If your team doesn’t know or doesn’t buy into why your organisation exists and what it is trying to achieve, then how will they know what their true role in the company is or how they can contribute and feel valued?

A positive company culture creates a sense of belonging and being part of a team, not just because you work together, but because you respect and trust each other. With a shared purpose, you gain a team of collective thinkers and collaborators who are ultimately striving for the same goal.

As a business leader, it’s vital to understand that your organisation’s reputation isn’t just built on its products or services, but also on its treatment of employees and how it is perceived in the job market.

To create a workplace where talent thrives, every single member of your team needs to feel valued (this doesn’t just mean free fruit!) and safe. Safety isn’t just a physical construct but is rather the empowerment to think critically, to analyse, to share one’s views without fear of ridicule or reprisal. Crucially, it means not being afraid to own up to your mistakes. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. But by leading from the top, demonstrating what good looks like, and promoting a safe space where employees feel able to admit to mistakes, you’re providing the opportunity to learn valuable lessons (not to mention avoiding much bigger repercussions down the line if they’re simply covered up!).

Creating such an honest, open culture is essential to the success of ever-prominent remote and hybrid working models. It also drives creativity, innovation, problem solving and ultimately, more fruitful outcomes for all.

Alongside this, employees need opportunities to grow, develop and feel supported with whatever facilities or reasonable adjustments they need to enable them to do their job to the best of their ability. Flexibility in how we work is now more important than ever before, but with that must come trust and a sense of autonomy.

In summary

Without a genuine concerted effort to cultivate the type of culture which will enable your workforce to thrive, things can quickly turn toxic. And that comes with a hefty price tag, both reputationally and financially.

At the heart of your company culture is its people. It’s therefore vital to:

Ensure every employee is enabled to do their job, while feeling valued and respected.
Advocate for honesty, trust and autonomy to boost confidence and creativity.
Aim for development and growth over demonising poor behaviour.
Ensure the core fundamentals of your business – its purpose, values and behaviours – are fully shared and embedded, forming the basis for everything your team does.

The ultimate outcome in all of this is high staff morale, workplace engagement, job satisfaction and a long career at your organisation.

In fact, recent academic research from the University of Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre concludes that there is now growing evidence to demonstrate a link between engaged and happy employees and fewer sick days, higher productivity, enhanced creativity, and positive workplace relationships.

What more could you ask for?

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