It is easy to identify those companies that have an amazing workplace culture. They’ve created environments that allow their teams to be focused, driven and innovative. Conversely, you won’t struggle to find those organizations that don’t have a positive culture. They often have high staff turnover, toxic leadership, and gossip and rumor run rampant.
A negative culture is often one of the main causes of low employee engagement. It can also lead to lowered productivity within many organizations.
But how did they get to these places? Fostering workplace culture starts with you and will be a crucial foundation as you build your company.
Workplace culture is your company’s character and personality. It’s what makes you unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes. Positive cultures will always attract the best talent and impacts employee happiness, satisfaction, and performance.
Of course, your culture will be shaped by leadership, management, policies, people, and your work practices too. Because of that, you need to pay attention to the type of culture that you want to foster from the very start.
Types of Workplace Culture
Positive workplace culture can take different forms, depending on what your goal is. There are eight main types of cultures that all have a slightly different focus. Let’s break these down and see what they look like.
1. Adhocracy Culture
The main priority is growing quickly; therefore, they tend to be high-energy and agile. They encourage their teams to challenge the status quo and push them to develop services and offerings that are better than before. They will stand out in the marketplace, but its fast-paced environment won’t suit all employees.
2. Clan Culture
It is a supportive environment where the input of employees is as valued as the upper management. Communication is open and informal, and it is seen as a “family.” It encourages open, honest feedback to the management team and creates strong relationships throughout the organization. But it can come across as too relaxed and informal.
3. Customer-Focused Culture
The focus is on giving employees the necessary tools and autonomy to put the customer first at all times. In addition, it creates long-term customer loyalty that will make the company successful. Employees are given the freedom to make decisions and take pride in their work, but they may feel neglected.
4. Hierarchy Culture
Hierarchy culture is usually found in industries such as finance, government, and healthcare. The idea is that everyone has a very clear role and purpose within the organization. As a result, these organizations are risk-averse and stick to rules and traditions.
These are the most efficient types of companies. However, they can often feel old-fashioned and constrictive to employees.
5. Market-Driven Culture
This type of culture is performance and results-focused. However, they often forgo employee experience and satisfaction. The main goal of these types of companies is to get products to market. In doing so, company culture is of secondary importance. This culture is highly susceptible to burnout.
6. Purpose-Driven Culture
Built on a defined vision, they attract customers, partners, and employees who usually share those ideals. They also usually give back to the community through charity. These organizations often have high retention rates. However, the desire to give back over increasing profit margins means they will make less money.
7. Innovative Culture
This type of culture is constantly looking to build on existing tech and creating new solutions. It pushes conventional thinking to the side in favor of new ideas. Employees have the freedom to try new things and experiment. But, the constant push for innovation may leave employees feeling burnt-out.
8. Creative Culture
These focus on end goals and how best to achieve them. They encourage collaboration and teamwork and focus on providing new experiences to consumers. It is less about the individuals and more about the team. It builds strong relationships between teams and individuals, reduces downtime, and creates an environment where employees fear falling short of expectations.
So how do you create a positive workplace culture? Here are eight points you can focus on from the very start.
Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture
1. A Strong Code of Ethics
The comfort and safety of your teams should be the number one priority for you. Unfortunately, a recent survey found that only 11% of employees who witnessed unethical behavior at work felt unaffected by it. For this reason and many others, it is important to establish a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to immoral, illegal, or discriminatory behavior.
2. Inclusive Hiring Processes
Diverse backgrounds allow for different experiences, points of view, and ideologies to thrive. Take into consideration race, religion, sexual orientation, and educational background when defining your hiring process.
3. Optimize Onboarding
Invest in your team from the moment they are hired. By scheduling training, paperwork, and check-ins with new staff, they will immediately feel like valued team members. There a few keys ways you can make the onboarding process easier and more effective.
- Provide comprehensive training on company policies, procedures, and systems.
- Assign a mentor or buddy to guide the new employee through their first few weeks.
- Give new employees time to ask questions and provide feedback on the onboarding process.
- Make sure that new hires have the necessary resources and equipment to do their job.
- Provide opportunities for socialization and team-building.
- Continuously evaluate and improve the onboarding process based on feedback from new hires and managers.
- Provide ongoing support and development opportunities to new employees to ensure they feel valued and engaged with the company.
4. Clear Communication and Active Listening
Create clear reporting lines and appropriate methods of communication. Also, clarifying employees’ roles and exceptions is vital. Finally, active listening will ensure that clear communication is effective and also fosters respect amongst your teams.
5. Regular Check-Ins
Managers should meet or speak to their teams often. They can monitor engagement and manage workloads but also identify issues as and when they arise.
6. Comfortable Work Environment
Ensure your teams have everything they need to succeed. Comfortable chairs, monitors, keyboards are important, but also consider things like healthy snacks or food options and natural light. Provide a clean and well-maintained physical space with adequate lighting. Temperature control, and ergonomic furniture is also important.
Pay your employees what they deserve. Fair wages and incentives will make your teams feel valued and increase productivity. However, don’t underestimate the cost of onboarding when staff turnover is high.
8. Encourage Time-Off
You may have competitive time-off benefits, but employees may be reluctant to take advantage of them because of workloads or deadlines. Encourage teams to take breaks and time away, they’ll appreciate it, and productivity will remain steady. Emphasizing work-life balance will help your employees perform at their best. This priority on their well-being will also help increase employee loyalty in the long run.
Building a positive workplace culture involves many different strategies. Other common qualities to consider are things such as; growth opportunities, emphasizing creativity, and healthy work relationships. Gallup reported, 51% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, while 13% are actively disengaged. As we mentioned earlier, company culture has a great influence on this. So take the time to evaluate your culture to make the necessary changes. But remember that all cultures are unique, and building yours will take time, careful planning, and consideration. But ultimately, it will all be worthwhile.
This article was first published in 2021 but has been updated and expanded.