Workplace culture embraces the character and personality of your organisation. It is what makes it unique and is made up by the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes. A positive workplace culture attracts talent, drives employee engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance. There’s a strong correlation between a positive workplace culture and satisfied and engaged employees, and business productivity and profits. When an organisation’s culture becomes toxic, everyone loses.
“A positive workplace culture attracts talent, drives employee engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance.”
“To make matters worse, with the upswing in employees working from home, existing employee engagement solutions may be redundant…”
With the upheaval that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world of work, wholesale employee disengagement and its negative knock-on effect of eroding corporate culture are a reality that many employers will face in 2021. To make matters worse, with the upswing in employees working from home, existing employee engagement solutions may be redundant and no longer fit for purpose in helping to immerse employees in a corporate culture. For many organisations rebuilding their organisational culture in a way that is employee-centric is critical to future success.1
In their report dated May 2020, titled Reimagining the post-pandemic organization, McKinsey talks about getting intentional about your corporate culture as follows:
“One simple yet telling exercise we’ve conducted with senior executives goes like this: take scraps of paper and copy down half a dozen corporate statements about culture, lightly anonymise them to remove obvious mentions of products or markets, and then see who can pick their own company’s statement from the pile. The result is often humorous, revealing the extent to which companies “talk a good game” about culture, often using precisely the same language.”
“No one’s laughing now. Organizational culture may seem invisible during prosperous times, but in moments of crisis, its presence can be seen clearly in the collective behaviours that either help a company pull together and get things done or lead to inertia, confusion, and even mistrust.”
“Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial, describes seeing the benefits of a performance culture firsthand during the earliest, most bewildering days of the current crisis. He recounts how middle managers at the company announced its new work-from-home guidelines and encouraged their teams to feel comfortable making the shift—right away, if they chose. The decision came from people who would normally never make it, and it arrived without hand-wringing. But it wasn’t a surprise to Martin. It was in keeping with a cultural value the company had intentionally prioritized: caring for one another. “People here do the right thing,” Martin says. “The message has very much been ‘we care about you.’” 2
“The message has very much been ‘we care about you.” Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial
A multitude of factors play a role in developing workplace culture, including:
The way your leaders communicate and interact with employees, what they communicate and emphasise, their vision for the future, what they celebrate and recognise, what they expect, the stories they tell, how they make decisions, the extent to which they are trusted, and the beliefs and perceptions they reinforce.
How your organisation is managed—its systems, procedures, structure, hierarchy, controls, and goals. The degree to which managers empower employees to make decisions, support and interact with them, and act consistently.
Practices related to recruiting, selection, onboarding, compensation and benefits, rewards and recognition, training and development, advancement or promotion, performance management, wellness, and work/life balance (paid time off, leave, etc.), as well as workplace traditions.
Policies and Philosophies
Employment policies including, but not limited to, flexible working hours, medical leave and codes of conduct, in addition to organisational philosophies such as hiring, compensation, pay for performance, and internal transfer and promotion.
The people you hire: Their personalities, beliefs, values, diverse skills and experiences, and everyday behaviours and the types of interactions that occur between employees – collaborative versus confrontational, supportive versus non-supportive, social versus task-oriented etc.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Clarity of mission, vision, and values and whether they honestly reflect the beliefs and philosophies of the organisation, how inspiring these are to your employees, and the extent to which the mission, vision, and values are stable, widely communicated, and continuously emphasized.
The manner in which communication occurs in your workplace: Importantly, the degree, type, and frequency of interaction and communication between leaders and employees, and managers and employees, including the extent of transparency in sharing information and making decisions.
“In many ways, Employee Health & Wellness programmes lay the foundation for a positive corporate culture. No organisation can expect to foster a positive culture without healthy employees – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”
The need to place emphasis on employee wellness
In many ways, Employee Health & Wellness programmes lay the foundation for a positive corporate culture. No organisation can expect to foster a positive culture without healthy employees – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Employees need to feel at their best in order to contribute to a positive, employee-centred culture. Leaders should ensure that employees are provided with the resources, tools and on-site healthcare opportunities they need to live their healthiest life – inside and outside of the office. 3