Your workplace culture is vital to the effectiveness of your business. Building the right culture can help you gain a real competitive advantage in your market and turn your company into one that everyone wants to engage with — from top-quality talent to high-value customers.
Here at Performance by Design, we are serious about workplace culture. We have developed our Culture Code System to help you foster real organisational culture change within your business.
To learn more about how to change and improve workplace culture, read on — or reach out to our team today to discover how we can help you.
The culture of your workplace is essentially the atmosphere you feel there, the people who work there, and the values at the heart of the company’s identity. A company may have a positive culture that employees want to be a part of, or it may have a toxic culture that creates a negative environment at work.
Developing a certain culture in the workplace means recognising the current situation and understanding where you want to go from here. As you consider how to improve company culture, you will need to make profound changes — changes that impact the very DNA of your business.
Why is organisational culture change so important? Why is so much time and effort used in deciding on ways to improve workplace culture? Because this culture leads to real outcomes for your business.
By improving workplace culture, you are fostering better levels of engagement from your employees. You are also creating a solid set of values that all stakeholders — from employees and partners through to customers and clients — can identify with. In addition to this, you are creating strong strategic objectives for your organisation, helping you to move in the right direction.
There are many types of workplace culture out there, and each has a profound impact on your direction as a business and as an organisation. Before you consider changing your work culture, take a look at a few of the most common cultural forms:
Ad-hoc culture, also known as adhocracy, is a system of making changes on the fly. These businesses focus on innovation and swift decision-making, which can pay off as it may provide a head start over more methodical, cautious competitors. This is an inherently risky form of corporate culture.
Clan cultures, or family cultures, are arranged around a small, tightly formed nucleus. Employees share the same values and will be able to raise their own ideas and communicate these ideas clearly. Management structures will be simplified without the strict, codified levels seen in other forms of business.
Customer-focused business cultures are exactly what they sound like — they put their customers first. The culture is geared towards creating a superlative experience for users and clients.
Hierarchy-based cultures are in opposition to clan and ad-hoc cultures. There will be a strong system of management in place and a rigid set of rules that are used to govern operations. These companies will work to avoid risk wherever possible.
A market-driven culture may prioritise bringing products to market over all else. This means the employee experience often suffers, and these businesses may have a high turnover of staff, particularly in entry-level positions.
When a business has a purpose-driven, identity-focused culture, this culture is built into the very DNA of the company itself. This type of company will have a shared set of central ideals that everyone can get on board with, including employees and clients alike.
How do you change culture? Improving workplace culture is an ongoing process. It may not have a designated endpoint, but it will certainly have a beginning. Below, we’ll explore some preliminary steps you can use to get started on your improvement journey.
Your workplace culture needs to be an honest reflection of what your business is all about. This means not only communicating values and vision but also following this up with action — demonstrating real cultural shifts.
Engagement comes from all voices being heard. Include everyone in your plans for corporate change, ensuring that all employees can raise questions and points.
Leadership is not about telling people what to do; it’s about inspiring real change and helping employees be the best they can be. Positive leadership, training, and mentoring can bring this about.
To maintain engagement, you’ll need to recognise good work from your employees. You’ll also need to provide constructive, meaningful feedback for your teams, achieving accountability as well as a foundation for development.
Everyone needs to be aware of what is expected of them. Personnel need to know what they will need to deliver and the framework for this delivery. Universal communication and understanding are both critical here.
Now that we have a set of preliminary actions designed to achieve a solid foundation, where do we go from here? What ways can we use to improve work culture in a meaningful way?
Having a strong objective and target in mind is very important, but you will also need to be flexible as you work towards this. If something is not quite working, you may need to make small changes to your strategy rather than remain rigid. Retaining flexibility and agility is important to your overall workplace culture.
Remember that employees are not robots. They are human beings, and they can only be expected to work so hard before they begin to struggle. The events of recent years have been tough on employees across all sectors, and so burnout has become a very real issue for many people. Providing hybrid work-from-home/in-office arrangements and making time for leisure can make a real difference to culture.
While you still need strong leaders, you also need a workforce that has agency and autonomy. This enables employees to take key decisions and to become more engaged in their daily tasks.
Employees want to know that they are progressing in their careers and their general lives. This is a key part of improving workplace culture, and you will need to show your team members that they have genuine opportunities to develop and grow within your organisation.
Encourage your departments to work together and collaborate. This will lead to a more profound sharing of culture across the entire workforce.
Identify areas in which processes or personnel are dysfunctional or toxic. Work to change toxic attitudes or protocols before they get out of hand, and do not let this kind of dysfunction spread.
We’ve mentioned before that improving workplace culture is an ongoing process. With this in mind, you need to keep on analysing and assessing your progress. Set incremental milestones and deliver progress reports on a regular basis.
Ready to get started? Want to learn more about how to improve work culture? Performance by Design is here to help. Reach out to our team today.