Promoting a healthy workplace culture isn’t just “a nice-to-have” anymore. Letting culture slip to the backburner might result in your top performers leaving, amongst other problems. Here’s what that actually means. Thirty five percent of employees won’t take a job if they don’t think the culture is a fit for them or doesn’t align with their values. And it’s not just employees. Ninety one percent of employers consider alignment with the culture just as important as skills and experience. So employees and employers alike believe workplace culture and people at the company should all be in harmony.
And if the culture isn’t up to par, 71% of employees would actually consider leaving. So at the core, having a good workplace culture is crucial for attracting talent, and keeping them.
With employees looking for a culture that fits with their values, it’s important for everyone in your HR department and leadership team to understand what is meant by organizational culture and what type of culture your organization has.
Organizational culture refers to the attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors that drive an organization. It is a set of shared understandings within a company about how people should act and interact with one another. A strong corporate culture helps businesses attract top talent, streamline operations and increase overall performance. It also makes it easier for employees to trust one another and take ownership of projects from start to finish.
Those are all pretty sweet benefits as a result of having a strong culture. Let’s dive a little deeper into workplace culture and explore 6 excellent examples to help you get started with creating a powerful workplace culture.
What Is a Workplace Culture?
Workplace culture is a set of shared values and practices that sets the foundation for an organization’s philosophy, spirit and way of doing things and is typically shaped by leadership practices and employee behavior.
All together, these core elements bring out the heart and soul of your company. If your company is focused on charity, that’s part of your culture. If your company is all about supporting employee mental health, you’ve got a strong foundation in your culture.
Workplace culture is often a direct reflection of the behaviors exemplified by leadership. Do they interact with team members inclusively and respectfully? Do they promote individuals who display creativity or who drive results? What kinds of projects and initiatives do they focus most on in company meetings? Each of these behaviors reinforce and define your workplace culture. Think about it this way: culture trickles down from the top. If your leadership team is emulating the culture you want, it’s going to reach your employees too.
How Can You View Your Company Culture?
Your organizational culture should be front and center in your organization. Consider putting your motto or values on the wall. Make your mission statement available to every employee. If team members aren’t reminded of the things your organization strives for, and leadership doesn’t model these values, it will be hard to uphold those values.
To identify the type of culture your workplace falls into, first take a look at your mission statement or vision statement. The beliefs, motivators and outcomes highlighted in these official documents will give insight into what your organization values. Fairness? Integrity? Accountability? These can all be a part of your culture.
Then, take a look at any values or ethics your organization may have. Where do you see the values guiding the organization’s activities? How are your values reflected in the way team members interact with each other? Maybe you have something in place for employee accountability or management fairness. That is culture.
Organizational culture can be reflected in several ways. For example:
- The way employees dress to go to work
- How team members speak and communicate with each other at work events or during networking sessions outside the office
- The words used when teams talk about their organization or issues that concern it
- The working dynamics of a team
- Which achievements are recognized most by leadership
- How external individuals perceive the company
Watch Michelle from Atrium Staffing interview people about what good company culture means to them.
Workplace Culture Examples
A healthy working culture promotes an atmosphere that drives employees to work efficiently, stay longer and ultimately love their job. Seriously. Strong workplace culture leads to 72% higher employee engagement. With everyone aligned to the same values and goals, individuals are equipped for better collaboration, innovation and problem solving.
Feeling inspired? We hope so. Here are six great examples of workplace culture that companies can emulate. Maybe you’ll see what your company is already doing and be able to better solidify your own workplace culture.
- Focus On Customer Service
If you work in a customer-facing industry, it’s likely that your organization prides themselves on excellent customer service. After all, that’s the goal for a customer-facing company. But what can a customer-focused culture do for your company? A customer service culture empowers employees to put customers first and solve problems in a timely manner. Employees understand who the customer is and what matters to them. For example, a retail employee who is aligned with the customer service culture might quickly look for an innovative solution to help a customer return a tricky product.
To build a customer-service focused culture, one of the most important things to do is hire the right people. Potential employees should not only have the experience and skills required, but should display quality people skills and be respectful in every interaction. But don’t stop there. Regularly recognize excellent customer service in company meetings and reward your top performers.
If your team members often find themselves heads down while executing on projects, it’s likely that you have a task-oriented culture. It’s about the grind here. This type of culture prizes employees who manage time efficiently and get tasks done on time. Autonomy is often a value in this type of organization, with team members solely responsible for the tasks they have been assigned. Employees who work in this kind of culture might find they love their autonomy and the thrill of success after a big project.
To build a task-oriented culture, ensure the right processes are in place for efficient work. Have a team member present their work in a company meeting who has redesigned a procedure that led to improvements. Make sure tasks have clearly defined owners and deadlines. Having employees show how they can be efficient can help inspire others and cultivate the task-oriented culture you want.
Does your organization have measurable goals that are visible for every employee in the company? Are team members expected to report on how the work they do maps back to these overarching goals? If so, you’re likely working in a results-driven culture. This type of culture focuses largely on metrics like revenue and market share. The work that happens matters, but what the work actually does matters more.
To build a results-driven culture, highlight your organization’s goals often in company meetings. Report on the progress that each team is contributing and celebrate when the goals are met. Transparency is an important value for a results-driven organization. If the leadership team isn’t transparent about progress towards goals, those goals will cease to have meaning to the individuals whose work can move the needle. Results need to be communicated to really motivate your employees in your culture.
- Focused On Wellbeing
Less than one in four U.S. employees feels strongly that their organization cares about their wellbeing. If your employees are part of the 25%, you definitely have a good wellbeing culture. If not, prioritizing wellbeing is a great next step for your organization to take. A culture of wellbeing aims to support and empower employees to focus on their health and lifestyle. This includes emotional wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing and physical wellbeing. Should your culture prioritize wellbeing? Probably. Right now burnout at work is costing the country $322 billion. A wellbeing-focused culture keeps your employees healthy and your company running smoothly.
To create a culture of wellbeing, make sure your leadership exemplifies wellbeing. Do they take appropriate time off? Do they frequently discuss and encourage wellbeing? Do employees feel comfortable speaking with managers about workload and scheduling? If not, they should.
A company that truly cares about its employees takes the time to understand them and their needs. Consider issuing an employee benefits survey to get a feel for what your team members would profit from. Evaluate benefit and wellness packages based on the results.
In a connected culture, employees feel accepted, valued and included. Belonging is prioritized as a value and team members are often interested in each other's lives outside of the workplace. In this type of culture, leaders prioritize effective communication and collaboration. Connection benefits the company too. Connected employees feel happier, less stressed, and more engaged.
How do you build connection? Frequent team building is an effective tool. This type of activity allows employees to engage with one another outside of a typical working environment. Believe it or not, fun helps. These activities show off individuals’ strengths, weaknesses and personality. Letting your employees showcase their unique personalities lets them make connections and feel at home, while at work (yes, even if they’re working from home).
An innovative culture prides itself on cutting edge solutions, out-of-the-box brainstorming and big ideas. Innovative projects are highlighted frequently in company meetings, and there are often budgets available for trying new things. This type of company has a positive outlook on failure as something to be learned from. Teams feel safe to share wild ideas and risky propositions. It’s all about the journey here.
To strengthen a culture of innovation, consider setting aside one working day entirely for new ideas. Encourage employees to spend the day thinking of new processes, solutions and ideas. Have team members present these innovative ideas and have a prize for the most out of the box suggestion. Don’t forget to reinforce the ideas that are thrown out, so employees feel encouraged rather than discouraged to join in.
Take an Active Role in Your Company Culture
Feeling like you have a better idea of your company culture? We hope so. Once you’ve decided what type of culture exists in your organization and what attributes you want to work towards, get a plan in place for how to implement the characteristics of that culture. Meet with leadership and help them understand what behaviors they can exhibit to lead by example. Remember how important it is to create a culture that aligns with your company and that draws talent right to you.
Examine the tools and support offered to employees and how well it aligns with your desired culture. One tool you have as part of your culture is actually your employee benefits. Your employee benefits can be an effective tool in guiding culture to be what you hope it will be. Want a culture that supports employees? Great benefits is a way to guide your company in that direction. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. Talk to a wellbeing specialist today to discover new ways to take care of and engage with your employees. We’ll help you take an active role in your company culture!
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.