How to Improve Your Workplace Culture

October 16, 2018 • Cheryl Hoover

How to Improve Your Workplace Culture

Culture has a huge influence on the workplace, employees and productivity. An organization with a positive workplace culture retains employees, attracts quality applicants, promotes engagement and teamwork, raises morale, and increases performance. Job satisfaction and collaboration are enhanced, while stress is reduced. 

What is workplace culture?

It’s your organization’s shared set of values and beliefs about the workplace along with the generally accepted behaviors of the employees. The culture of an organization is reflective of long-standing norms and ingrained behaviors. However, changes in leadership and staff often result in cultural transformation over time.

Positive or toxic culture?

Workplace culture impacts engagement, productivity, retention, and growth. A good work culture is cohesive, respectful, engaging, trusting, and results-focused.

A toxic culture is one with a significant amount of drama, selfish behavior, lack of communication, and low trust among employees. Assess your culture by observing employee interactions, noting emotions, paying attention to work spaces, and noticing what is posted on bulletin boards or walls. 

What are the benefits of an improved culture?

With intentional planning, culture can be changed. Improving your culture can result in increased productivity, better employee morale, and higher retention of employees. In addition, job applicants look for an organization that has a reputation for being a great place to work.

How can we improve our organization’s culture?

  • Embrace a shared vision
  • Provide a welcoming, positive, friendly atmosphere inclusive of all employees
  • Encourage positive thinking through announcements, memos, and interactions
  • Communicate clear expectations while providing support and resources to meet the goals
  • Cultivate positive, strong relationships with supervisors and peers
  • Allow time for employees to get to know each other
  • Create a collaborative work environment
  • Implement open door policies  
  • Empower employees to make decisions and trust them to contribute
  • Value employees by allowing them to control how they do the work
  • Recognize employees for specific performance—don’t just say “good job,” but give specific recognition of efforts and accomplishments
  • Pay attention to the possibility of burnout—allow flexibility and different work styles when feasible
  • Appreciate employees by giving some type of perks even if they don’t cost anything, such as leaving early on Friday or wearing jeans on a Monday
  • Create traditions or general ways of doing things for your specific campus or department
  • Celebrate reaching goals, birthdays, and special days

How do you know if your culture has improved?

Assessing culture can be difficult because it’s an intangible component of an organization. You can informally gauge your culture through observations and conversations. Formal ways to assess your culture include surveys, exit interviews, and tracking retention rates. Communicating with and involving employees in the assessment process might be a good starting point to improving your culture.

Tagged: HR, Recruiting, Retention