What Makes a Healthy Workplace Culture?

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Work on your workplace culture with stronger professional relationships and teams that work well together, day to day and under pressure.

workplace culture

What is Workplace Culture?

A workplace culture is the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.

Definition - Dr Pragya Agarway, Forbes.com 2018

While the workplace culture is shaped by the individuals within it, specifically their upbringing and socio-economic backgrounds, leadership and strategic decision making take leading roles in determining the culture of the workplace environment. It is therefore critical that leaders are aware of how their influence reaches every corner of the organisation. What they do at the very top, sets the tone for those at entry level.

This is a huge responsibility and not one which should be shirkled or underestimated. Yet where there are multiple management layers to an organisation, it’s easy for senior leadership to be too far removed from the ‘shop floor’ or the ‘coal face’. A fleeting visit now and then is never enough to get a true picture of how the organisation is performing. Divorced from the reality of what is going on, these leaders fail to set the tone of the shared values, commitment and loyalty that is required for sustainable success.

Where we see workplace culture at the heart of an organisation, we see success on the high street. Timpsons is a terrific example where conscious effort is put into developing an effective workplace culture, with clear shared values are at the core of what they do. Supermarket Iceland is another success story. Where margins run ever tighter, Iceland asks its people to ‘Roll your sleeves up and make a difference. Be proud. Be brave. Be everything that makes us different. Be Iceland.’ It’s a call to action to a tribe that understands its purpose and is not a ‘dull, stuffy corporate’ but instead teams of people ‘who get stuck in and work together’. It’s probably not a paradise, nowhere is, but like Timpsons, the business works hard to make a positive difference to the people who are its greatest asset.

What can you do to improve your workplace culture?

It might feel like a daunting prospect, but developing stronger professional relationships and team working through increased social intelligence, awareness and self-regulation will have a significant positive impact on your workplace culture.

When the individual better understands themselves and each other in their team, they can make the adjustments they need to improve their working relationships. With this social awareness, they are appropriately observant and attentive, they are considerate of others, but not subservient to them. The key word here is appropriate. No too much, not too little, but instead just right, in the flow or at least operating from a solid base level.

With self-regulation and awareness, people understand their triggers and reactions and can take action to adjust appropriately. There’s nothing inherently wrong with reacting to a trigger, it’s the extremity of that reaction that is important. People with emotional composure and consistency tend to be the people we prefer to work with. These are the qualities that make a colleague or leaders someone we can trust and have confidence in. Not knowing whether you have a Jekyll or Hyde on the other side of the office door or on the Zoom call becomes very draining very quickly. The inevitable result? Burnout all round.

What else are we looking for in a strong workplace culture?

Resilience

We need individuals and teams who persevere, who are persistent and consistent in our workplaces. People who turn up each day, who adapt well and cope with challenges without resorting to blame or off-loading their responsibilities. Through everything that life throws at us we need optimism. Not a blind or head-in-the-sand/clouds inability to face reality, but an optimism that is grounded, upbeat and constructive, ready to find new solutions with creativity and innovation.

Motivation

It’s really not rocket science – a healthy workplace culture is one where people work well together. Where teams collaborate not only within themselves but also with other teams, rather than treating them as bitter rivals. How often do you hear of sales and operations teams at war with each other? How good would it be if they could just motivate each other constructively?! It’s not good for your workplace culture and tends to be where their respective leaders are setting the wrong tone.

Aside from collaboration, allowing your teams and individuals to work with autonomy works wonders for encouraging an environment where creativity and innovation flourishes. Let’s go back to Timpsons’ leadership who in asking their store managers to abide by just two rules, actively promote autonomy which motivates managers to make innovative decisions on the ground.

How to improve your workplace culture

To improve your workplace culture you have to strengthen the workplace relationships that make it. This doesn’t happen overnight though. You are asking people to hold up a mirror to their behaviour and make adjustments that may be deeply uncomfortable to begin with. They may need support through training and coaching to help them get there so that these adjustments become second nature. But your people deserve the chance to improve how they work together, to be happier in their roles and to take responsibility for their actions and reactions.

flowprofiler® team reports measure and develop team resilience, motivation and emotional intelligence. They help the user to make informed and strategic decisions about coaching and training by assessing the behavioural needs of team members and developing them based on what the organisation actually requires from their performance. Use the flowprofiler® team reports in conjunction with the flowprofiler® development and management reports to support individual professional growth and build your workplace culture.

Contact us

We’re a team who practice what we preach. 2020 was tough, but we made it through with perseverance, motivation and above all by supporting each other.  Contact us to find out how we can help you to do the same.

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