Is the workplace culture important?
You will have heard of Generation Z and how their expectation of work is so different. For Gen Z the workplace culture is important. This generation will soon pass the Millennials as your new employee and your new customer.
Gen Z tend to bring their personal values to their jobs and what’s more they use their personal values to buy goods and services from you. But a recent BBC Article described this generation as the most stressed at work. Why?
One of the sited reasons is the current economic uncertainty, but they also struggle with “hostile work environments” and the inability to fully immerse themselves in the experience of work. So having a strong workplace culture is important and will only help.
What is workplace culture?
The short answer is it’s a place of work where everyone feels safe, valued and there is trust and opportunity to grow! A bit like the feeling of a good home.
According to Forbes a workplace culture is the “environment that surrounds us all the time”. It is hard to define it in words, but you know what it feels like. What’s more if you are in a place with the wrong culture, you will know. It will not feel right and it won’t match your personal values.
Why is the workplace culture important?
The culture at work has a direct influence on how people perform. In other words, it affects our productivity. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? If you feel safe and happy at work, you will work better.
But what does that really mean? Does it mean you just make everyone at work happy despite what they do? No far from it. We’re talking about building a culture where there are boundaries, there’s accountability, and of course trust. A place where everyone knows what is expected of them and “how we do things” around here.
From a consumer’s aspect, a strong culture aligned to great values is a strong pull. The outdoor clothing company Patagonia is a great example.
How to create a positive workplace culture
Building a great workplace culture takes time. It’s not going to happen next month.
Myers Clark started this journey a few years ago and every day is still a school day, we are constantly learning. Our culture is underpinned by our values
So, here’s a list of key things you can start with to build a great culture:
Defining your values
Your values or that of your business is what you believe are important. These days you go to any website of any organisation, and you will find their values. These are your guiding principles.
We make sure we talk about ours at our team meetings. By doing this we are trying to make sure we “walk the walk” too and not just “talk the talk”. We will ensure we each understand our way of doing things.
Building trust in your culture.
Most people are looking to feel safe at work. They are wanting a space where they can speak up and share ideas. They want to trust and be trusted.
Yet research would suggest that only around 50% of people trust their employers. This is rather gloomy.
Creating trust in the workplace should be a key part to building a strong culture. Part of building trust is setting out clear boundaries. There’s no point in not having proper boundaries and not communicating them.
Lack of boundaries and poor communication often results in blame games which will erode trust. Set out clearly what is and is not acceptable to your company.
Leaders in the workplace set the tone. They should clearly exhibit the values of the business.
Simon Sinek (Author & Inspirational Speaker) also talks a lot about leaders showing vulnerability. It is okay for leaders in the workplace to ask for help and if they ask for help then the rest of the team will follow. It takes great courage for a leader to say “I don’t know” and “can you help me please”.
As a leader if you express vulnerability then what you are really doing is building a culture of trust. It should be okay to say you don’t know something (which you are supposed to know) at work without being judged or ridiculed.
Peter Ducker (Influential Thinker on Management) said “I’m more interested in people than I am in how businesses work”.
He knew that people and how they work makes all the difference to a business. This is well before we started talking about people and culture. A diverse group of people working together in a psychologically safe space will lead to great work.
If your team internalise the values of your business, they will feel more motivated and happier at work and so raising productivity. We all need this.
People are the key to any business so you need to also look after the wellbeing of your team.
And don’t forget when recruiting you must find someone that fits with your culture. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach personality. So, think about that when you are next interviewing.
The way you do things.
Have a think about this one. Don’t just carry on doing what you have always done because as you know the world is changing. But the “way you do things” reflects your workplace culture.
Your company rules around complaints, dress code, staff recognition, wellbeing, working from home, tone of voice will show how you want everyone to behave. Whether you are talking about your team or your customers it will set a way.
So how do you do things? Are you happy with how you do things?
How can we help?
We have spent some time thinking about our values and culture over the last few years. We believe that to have an ambitious business and striving for growth needs a fresh look at who you are. It will help you figure out who you want to work with and who should work with you.
We’re happy to share our journey with you and if we can help you get off the fence and take the next step toward your goals then get in touch.
Get in touch with your normal contact or get started with Myers Clark if you are not working with us yet.