In the past years, there has been a significant change in the way CEO’s and managers look at the way they are running their business in regards to their employees. Companies realise that, similar to customers, retaining old employees is much more valuable than getting new ones constantly. One way of doing that is implementing a positive organisational culture in the workplace and if you’re not sure what that is and how you can apply it yourself, keep on reading!
In the early 1950s, Dr Elliott Jaques first mentioned the term “organisational culture” in one of his books about the development of social life in industrial communities (e.g. factories). A couple of decades later, back in the late 1970s, Andrew Pettigrew talked about the concept of organisational culture in one of his articles. He described it as “an amalgam of beliefs, identity, ritual, and myth”. Needless to say, that description is still valid today.
However, the two scholars talked mostly about workplace culture in factories. Since organisational culture has been around for a while, it has evolved into a set of guidelines. Companies looking to improve their employees’ quality of life at work can use those guidelines for their benefit. Today’s world has introduced the concept to every possible establishment – from stores to offices, fast food restaurant chains etc.
Organisational culture is the backbone of every company – it’s what inspires employees to be more than just worker bees. Positive organisational culture will combine company values and goals with employee beliefs. That combination could craft a nourishing mental environment for everyone in the company. With such a tremendous advantage, you will see improvements in all aspects of your business – from recruitment to employee loyalty, satisfaction and performance.
With this in mind, you’re probably wondering how to improve the organisational culture at your workplace. Keep reading to learn about six different ways to increase positivity and create a stable work environment for your employees.
The first thing to do is assess your current situation. Think about your company’s values and how they fit the overall image you want to present to employees. Ask around the company and gather feedback from everyone. Remember to ask the critical questions:
- Do your employees feel valued in their work?
- Do they know why they do the things you pay them to do?
- Is there any way you can help them do their jobs easier?
- Do your employees have any concerns about any part of their jobs?
- What about their colleagues or managers?
When getting feedback, let your people know that whatever they share will remain confidential. That way, you build extra trust and improve the organisational culture simultaneously! Once you get more insight into how your employees feel at the workplace, you can start improving. Remember that positive organisational culture is an ongoing process – start with minor adjustments and focus on consistency.
After assessing all the feedback you got – it’s time to think about your company goals. Are they clear enough? Is there any chance your employees might be conflicted when asked about what the company stands for? Or maybe they’re not sure about the direction your company is trying to take. There’s always more you can do to clarify where you are and where you aim to be. For example, if your goal is sustainability, make sure you practice what you preach and implement sustainable work practices at all levels.
Once the issue of company goals is solved, adapt it for all your departments. Make sure everyone’s familiar with the plan for their team, as well as their personal path on the job. Ask the managers to help their teams with milestones – one for every three months and year-on-year plans for development. Individual goals will help your employees keep a steady working pace, and sharing a common team goal will help bring its members together.
Consequently, after you have set clear goals for every group member – you need to make sure efforts are rewarded accordingly. There are two distinct systems you can utilise to reward your employees:
The first thing your employees think about every month is their salary. On top of a predetermined number your accountant transfers to their bank accounts, you could add extra compensation for people who exceed expectations. Such a system could have your employees receive increased salaries when they achieve corporate goals or reach certain milestones you set for them (as mentioned above). On top of that, you could adopt some sort of a benefits system. Depending on the type of business you run, a benefits system could include:
- Extra paid leave days
- Gas reimbursement or company transport
- Parking slots
- Cycle-to-work program
- Free flu shots
- Club or gym membership
- Work schedule flexibility
- Relaxation classes
- Restaurant Vouchers
- Discounts on different products and services
Of course, the list doesn’t have to end here. Think about what your company can afford to spend and, more importantly – what your employees will find most useful.
Apart from monetary rewards and beneficial perks, your company can adopt several practices that involve recognition and appreciation rewards. Some good ideas to reward your employees include:
- Small birthday presents – because everyone likes to feel special on their magical day.
- Years-of-service awards – when an employee reaches a certain number of years within the company.
- Public recognition awards – for those whose contributions make a difference behind the scenes.
- Teamwork awards – to remind everyone that when they work together, everything is possible.
And again, the list goes on and on. Remember that every little piece of support you show your employees will contribute to their motivation. Give credit where it’s due and watch your workplace culture thrive.
Another step you can take towards improving your company’s concern for employees is to show you care about their health – be it mental or physical. Send regular email newsletters with everyday healthy lifestyle habits your employees can quickly adopt. Encourage healthier eating by offering healthy meal recipes. Have someone make sure everybody stays hydrated during the day, and nobody gets overworked.
Helping people reduce workplace stress is the first step to promoting a healthy lifestyle. Introduce the habit of turning computer screens off for 4-5 minutes every hour and taking a short walk around the premises. Doing so will help your employees avoid long chair time whilst actively resting their eyes. On top of that, you can turn an empty room into a break room and add some fun activities like darts or board games. In addition, you can invest in a company psychologist to help your employees with any personal issues that might be troubling them.
Social interactions are crucial for mental health and productivity. This is precisely why you should do everything you can to create an environment where employees feel comfortable to talk about more than just “shop”. Listen to what your people are interested in and help organise it. Set up a book or crafts club, organise group training activities or simply have an hour off for drinks and mingling at the end of every Friday. Remember that humans feel much better when grouped and sharing common interests.
Providing your employees with the opportunity to be social will be the driving force behind improving your company’s overall social environment. Be present in the process and watch as the workforce becomes happier, more productive and better-organised.
Last but not least, invest in the individual development of every employee. Conduct regular professional counselling meetings to discuss career goals and address complaints. Make sure to provide company members with the proper tools and training necessary for success. Your best employees will always look beyond just grinding their work hours and try to improve their skills with the hope of moving through the ranks. It’s your job to enable them to do so quickly and effectively. Even if an employee’s future seems to be outside of your company, you should still try to help them develop themselves. That way, you support the person and create a positive reputation for your company that will help recruit future employees.
A positive organisational culture in the workplace has scores of benefits. It’s up to you to decide how you achieve it – it isn’t necessary to follow all the guidelines on the list. Focus on whatever aspect of your current culture needs improvement the most. Work your way towards a better workplace environment slowly and consistently and watch as the energy around your company changes for the best.