Workplace culture refers to the character and personality of your organization. It’s what distinguishes you from other companies in a similar industry by summing up its values, beliefs, traditions, interactions, attitudes, and behaviors. For an organization to succeed, it’s crucial to have a workplace culture based on a widely shared set of beliefs. A positive culture attracts talent, affects performance, drives engagement, and improves stakeholders’ satisfaction. Since multiple factors influence a company’s reputation, it’s essential to ensure everything follows a certain standard.
These include management, leadership, work ethics, people, and policies. Unfortunately, many companies let their workplace culture come naturally without defining any clear objectives beforehand. An ineffective culture can bring down a business and its leadership.
Developing an efficient workplace culture doesn’t happen by itself. But with a bit of planning and effort, you can achieve your desired goals. Below, we present some of the ways you can improve workplace culture in your organization.
Table of Contents
1. Foster strong employee relationships
The essence of any organization is its people. And the foundation of a meaningful employee experience is effective leadership. Leaders play an integral role in shaping workplace culture. If there’s a communication gap between employees and management, the employees will disconnect from other aspects of the organization.
Enrolling in a master of education in educational leadership and management program can provide you with the skills required in leadership roles. It can also help you improve teaching strategies so your employees can learn better from you. Research has shown that leaders actively promote employee development as mentors. By proactively connecting employees with meaningful opportunities, you can build stronger relationships and contribute to improve workplace culture.
Another strategy for management positions is learning to talk “with” their employees instead of “to” them. Your workers will feel better appreciated and supported and work harder with more dedication when this happens.
2. Give people a purpose
Giving your employees a purpose to work towards your desired goals effectively improves workplace culture. Without defining a sense of purpose, it’s impossible to identify what you wish to accomplish, make an impact, help others, or change the world. Here, it’s crucial to understand that purpose differs from a company’s mission, values, or strategy. While mission defines what you do, values are behaviors you want to be implemented by your employees, and strategy is how you’ll meet your goals. On the other hand, purpose refers to why you do all these things in the first place.
People are more likely to work for organizations with a clearly defined purpose. Companies and leaders who know exactly why they want to accomplish something can make their employees feel needed and vital.
You can implement this strategy during the hiring process. Look for candidates who identify and believe in your company’s goals, so they’ll be better committed to working with you. It’s also a good idea to give current workforce reminders of the organization’s purpose and how their work contributes to it.
3. Encourage frequent recognition and appreciation
Perhaps one of the most powerful ways of improving workplace culture is by encouraging frequent employee recognition and appreciation. When employers regularly acknowledge their employees’ efforts, it raises engagement among team members and pushes them to do even better. Recognition also has many other benefits. It attracts top-tier talent, retains that talent, and increases job performance at work. Additionally, it fosters innovation and gives employees a chance to think outside the box.
You can show employee appreciation by starting your meetings with a positive cheer. Highlight the team’s recent accomplishments and show gratitude for their hard work. You can even send letters (or emails) of appreciation, acknowledging their effort and letting them know how much you appreciate it. Even a small note goes a long way in making your employee feel valued. Other actions like providing treats, paying a bonus when you make a large profit, and giving extra days off around the holidays can also lead to increased satisfaction.
4. Build positive experiences
You can’t create your desired workplace culture without first putting in the effort to understand your employees. There is a strong correlation between a company’s culture and its employee experience, as both are intrinsically connected. Due to this, employee experience is affected by workplace culture; but workplace culture also affects employee experience.
Employee experience refers to all the events your employee participated in and how they feel about them. Everything comes under this umbrella term, from staff meetings to emails and conversations. All the interactions within an organization—both positive and negative, contribute to employee experience. For instance, a degrading remark from a manager, poor communication among team members, and unavailability of essential resources can all lead to a bad employee experience. In contrast, a few encouraging comments from the leader, keeping each other in a constant loop, and getting the necessary supplies on time can contribute to a good employee experience.
Instead of focusing on an employee’s major touchpoints, direct your efforts on their day-to-day micro experiences. These include conversations between colleagues, their workspace, or even emails from the HR department. You can encourage positive experiences by implementing these strategies in your organization:
- Give employees a platform to voice concerns, share ideas, and make suggestions
- Encourage team discussions and activities
- Send occasional messages of enthusiasm, support, and appreciation
5. Transparency in communication
While most organizations acknowledge the importance of communication, they don’t fully comprehend its meaning. For a company to function efficiently, what you say to your employees and how you say it matters.
Transparency in communication is a popular trend in the business world today. It allows open communication between top management and employees and breeds more trust. The openness also leads to more vital collaborations, innovations, inspiration, and mentorship.
While you can’t improve workplace culture overnight, knowing what you wish to accomplish is already a step in the right direction. Enhancing your skills as a leader can help you understand the current climate better so you can define the perfect culture that suits your organization and its mission.