Posted on Nov 14, 2017 | Views : 227
Developing a good workplace culture is crucial to any business. Not only does it encourage people to work together and allow ideas to flow, but it can also help attract better talent. The reason being, the company can become renowned for its workplace culture (think of Google). However developing a workplace culture takes time, resources and can be very challenging if you are not sure where to begin. Here are four concepts that can help any business develop a workplace culture.
The most important tool for any company to develop a strong workplace culture is to have values and make sure they are upheld. Values give employees ideas on how they should strive to work and act in the workplace. They are important because the values that the company decides to associate with, signals the whole world what the company is all about. For example, having values that promote learning and developing oneself, shows that you are a company that values their employees and wants them to grow. To further this point, the company should make available tools to help employees learn. Tools such as workshops, events, guest speakers, ebooks and etc. Otherwise imagine a company that values innovation and thus allows it employees to pitch ideas for new features or new products. This could increase the company’s value to employees and thus make it more attractive to top talent. At the end of the day, having the correct values and enforcing those values can break or make the workplace culture.
A strong part of developing a workplace culture is by having a feeling of teamwork and that everyone is working together to make something better. Methods to do this include but are not limited to, company events, outings, holidays, bootcamps, training exercises, and parties. Sometimes people can get distracted from the company’s vision and acquire “tunnel vision” on their own work. Hence, they might feel like they are not part of the team. This is especially true in bigger companies. That's why having company-wide or team-wide events help re-establish that feeling of being part of a team or of helping something big grow. Furthermore, company outings, bootcamps and holidays allow for employees to destress and connect with one another in a more personal manner. Company outings can include going down to a bar and having a drink or Christmas parties or celebrating an achievement. Although it might seem like going out for drinks or having parties do not help build the team, the truth is that this is a chance for the employees to relax and not worry. It might actually help team building even more. Think about it this way, if a co-worker becomes a friend, then it is easier to work alongside them. Now imagine your whole company feeling that way with each other. It will definitely make the workplace feel less stressful and a safe space to share ideas and support one another.
When employees know from the beginning what is expected of them and how they are supposed to act, it makes it much much easier to develop a culture in the workplace. How is this done? Well, there a couple options to do this. The simplest way is by having a “staff handbook”. The handbook contains information about company policies and procedures, such as holiday arrangements, company rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures. Furthermore, the handbook can include the values of the company. This allows employees to understand exactly what is expected from them on day one and if they have any doubts they can go back to the handbook. For example, in the company handbook, it can be stated that one of the values of the company is learning. Then it could go into deeper depth, explaining that since one of the values is learning, the company arranges workshops, guest speakers, conferences, ebooks and other learning experiences for all of their employees. When an employee is reading this, they can clearly understand what the value is, how the company encourages this value and the tools available to make the most out of it.
Another important concept in developing a culture in the workplace is by adopting the top down approach. This means that senior staff, like managers, need to show how to act and work. Once that happens, employees will see it and begin acting like the managers. It starts from the top and goes down. Let’s reuse the example of learning as a value and imagine that one of your managers is always attending workshop events, listening to guest speakers and listening to ebooks. Then the manager comes back and works more efficiently or is always raving about what he or she learned and how it's helping them work better. This can cause you or another employee to become interested and thus start copying the manager. From there, it is likely that person will start to work more efficiently and thus other colleagues can see that and they too will start copying the manager. The cycle can continue to repeat itself until the whole company has adopted the value of learning. Once that has happened, the company will have fully integrated learning into their workplace culture.
Developing a workplace culture takes time and effort. Having a top down method, clear expectations, team building exercises/events and company values will help the journey be a lot smoother and easier.
Author: Niccolo Monaco