• Heywood

What is ‘Workplace Culture’?


Every business has a workplace culture, whether it has been purposely defined or not.

Culture the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

Does that answer your question? Hopefully not, or the rest of this post will be a total waste of time.

We speak to employers and candidates all the time and each time before taking on a role or putting a candidate forward, without fail, we talk about culture.

"Why?" Because culture is one of, if not the most important aspect of recruitment.

"Why though?" Because it’s much easier for an employer to upskill an underqualified candidate than it is to change the personality and beliefs of a qualified one.

"Okay, but why?" Just read the full post…

Workplace culture is not a fad. A positive culture can help your business attract talented individuals and drive engagement. It can help you manage a happier, more productive workforce that’s well-aligned to the direction and values of your business. A negative culture can impact performance and drastically increase attrition.

So, without further ado:

What is workplace culture?


Think of your workplace culture as a car.

How useful would your car be without wheels?

How many miles do you think you could cover with no engine oil?

What about if I were to siphon off all your fuel?

Obviously, it wouldn’t work. The point is that an effective culture is not one thing – it’s a collection of parts that all work together to drive your business in the right direction.

Leadership


The leaders within your business set the example for your workforce in the way they interact with people, how and what they communicate, the vision they have for the future, what recognition they offer, decisions they make, behaviours they reinforce and so much more.

By living the values of the business and demonstrating a genuine passion for the mission and vision of the business, senior leaders can help drive engagement among your employees.

Organisational management


The managers, structure, systems, processes and goals of your business feed directly into the culture of your workplace and should provide the tools, support and empowerment your employees need to have significant input and make decisions that help them meet their goals.

Consistency is crucial. Too many changes can cause confusion and impact performance.

Policies


Good policies should give your employees all the information they need to understand and adhere to internal expectations and procedures.

Giving your workforce access to concise, easy to understand policies sets an expectation for things like dress code, conduct, attendance, hiring and promotion procedures and more.

Sound easy enough? Well, it’s worth considering that any and all policies should be created in line with the values, vision and mission of your business and are consistently reinforced where necessary.

Business practices


‘Business practices’ is a wide-reaching factor. Specifically, we’re talking about the recruitment, remuneration, benefits, rewards, recognition, development, wellbeing and advancement practices of your business.

Getting the above practices right can help fuel the productivity of your workforce and the efficacy of your recruitment activities.

Mission, Values & Vision


Your organisation's mission, values and vision should clearly display where you’re heading and how you’ll get there.

The right mission, values and vision can inspire your employees and customers, but must be genuine, consistent, and reflect the true beliefs of the business.

Oh, and it’s not as simple as putting these things in place. All three should be regularly communicated and emphasised and should form part of regular performance reviews.

Environment


The best-regarded cars are those that achieve a balance between the exterior and interior.

How many cars do you think Ferrari would sell if they opted for the interior of a 1998 Fiat Multipla over expertly crafted Italian leather seats and ultra-modern infotainment and speaker systems?

Considerably fewer would be my guess.

The point is, it’s all well and good having offices and locations that look brilliant from the outside, but your priority should be getting the working environment right.

What branding will you have on display? How can you display your organisation’s values and vision? What colour and style of furniture will you use in your customer waiting area or meeting rooms? What does a typical employee’s desk look like?

The small details can make a huge difference. Given how long your employees will spend in the office and at their desk, it’s vital you tailor their working environment to fit their wants and needs.

Communication


Your business’s communication strategy should deliver all the real-time, transparent information your workforce needs and while effective internal communication is the backbone of any team, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Before creating a strategy, you need to understand what information and updates are important to your workforce, how transparent you can be in sharing those updates, what format is going to be most accessible and effective, and how often employees want to receive updates.

A well-thought-out strategy can help employees understand the bigger picture and their place in that bigger picture. Something that will give them a sense of ownership and reinforce a culture of openness and communication.

People


Your people are your business. Whatever the product or service is, it’s your people that drive the success of your business.

It’s important to consider the people that make up your business – their individual personalities, personal values, skills, needs, beliefs and behaviours. Those people will make or break your workplace culture.

With that in mind, it’s absolutely, utterly, completely, entirely, unequivocally vital that you hire people who fit your culture. Getting it wrong will cost you a small fortune and damage whatever culture you already have.

“What about existing colleagues who don’t fit our culture?” Unfortunately, if they can’t or won’t align with the values and expectations within your business, often the best thing for everyone involved is to part ways.

And that’s not all.


All sorts of factors can impact your workplace culture, from standards in your industry to economic conditions, technologies and more.

Recruiting people who fit your culture


Identifying and attracting people who will seamlessly align with your vision, values and mission is vital.

“Between 10-25% of new hires leave within six months of their start date. One commonly cited reason is a poor fit between the employee and the company culture.”

If you’re struggling to source and attract people who will seamlessly fit your culture and align with the values of your business, we can help.

How? Get in touch today to find out.

Tl; dr: A workplace culture is the sum of its parts and is sculpted by your business’s leadership, management, practices, policies, people, mission, values, vision, environment, communication and more.

References

Harvard Business Review: ‘Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture

ERC: ‘Workplace Culture: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Define It’

Glassdoor: ‘How to Hire for Culture Fit’