“Culture is ‘how we do things around here’. Culture is the rules, spoken or unspoken, that you play by. Culture is what you do when the boss is out of town. The question is whether you have a culture by design or by accident, and whether the culture you have is the one you want.”
JOE CALLOWAY, Author, in Becoming a Category of One
Workplace culture is at the heart of every organization, whether actively encouraged or by default. While every culture is unique, shaped by specific values and goals, we can identify some common characteristics of that all great workplace cultures share.
What are the essential components of a great workplace culture?
In order for an organization to develop a great workplace culture everyone who is part of the team needs to fully understand their position and duties, both on a daily basis, and within the grander scheme of things. For someone to be an efficient, motivated and productive employee requires purpose, and purpose can only be created by a clarity of vision so that the employee knows what their personal objectives are, and how that fits into the wider picture.
To achieve this for everyone requires good communication. There must be a clear strategy in place that effectively communicates to each individual employee what is expected of them and why it’s important. Creating a meaningful shared purpose will improve the workplace culture, as we all tend to feel happier when we don’t feel confused about our destination and the role we each have to play along the way.
One of the most effective ways to create this definition is through a well-organized set of policies. This strategy must facilitate communication in both directions. Management simply dumping a small mountain of literature about the organization ethos won’t build any bridges with staff! The communication should provide a channel for feedback so the divide between your current culture and your desired culture can be bridged.
“In every organization I have worked in or worked closely with, I have observed that the ones with the best culture had one thing in common: a well-organized set of policies that everyone knew and understood”
JOHN CUSTER, VP of Sales and Marketing, ComplianceBridge.
What are some of the advantages of a great workplace culture?
The advantages enjoyed by organizations with a great workplace culture are well documented. An environment where everyone is pulling together to achieve a common goal will display benefits that will be appreciated by management and staff alike. For example:
Greater Motivation – A positive culture will ensure every individual has everything they need to successfully fulfill their duties and thrive. Every time an employee is left to improvise because of a lack of resources it shows a lack of awareness from the organization. It paints a picture where the organization either doesn’t understand the needs of an individual employee, or simply doesn’t care. Recognizing an individual’s needs validates them, and reaffirms that their individual contribution is both important and appreciated.
Greater Efficiency – Not only do we become more productive when we are working with purpose, but we also work more effectively as a team. This lifts morale, which is a big contributing factor of success.
High morale is closely linked to many other positive traits, such as good communication, loyalty, pride in work output, and trust. All of these combined create an environment where collaboration between departments, or between different levels within the company, becomes more seamless and effective.
Even a small lift in productivity can have huge implications for an organization, but with some psychological estimates stating the average employee contributes as little as 20% of their potential, there is massive scope for improvement.
Reduced Costs – As well as increasing the productivity of your organization, a positive workplace culture also helps to address some of the problems modern workplaces face:
- Employee retention is becoming increasingly difficult in some sectors. Creating a happier workforce increases retention, reducing costs spent recruiting and training new staff.
- Less absenteeism – The number of sick days is significantly lower in organizations where the team members are happy. This isn’t just because people enjoy their jobs more, but it has also been attributed to an increased awareness of how their absence could affect other members of the team, and an increased sense of loyalty towards their colleagues and the organization as a whole. Taken together, these factors increase the likelihood of employees going that extra mile so as not to let the organization down.
- Recruiting – Recruiting the talent you need becomes easier when the people already working within your organization are happy, fulfilled and positive about the workplace environment.
Whether it’s achieving a growth target, staying within a budget, or hitting a new record on a KPI, a great workplace culture is a powerful driver to team performance.
Faster Decision Making – a workplace with a well-organized and understood set of policies will be an environment in which staff at the lower end of the organizational chart are able to make more decisions themselves without having to refer to management. Where more senior staff do need to get involved, decision-making is made easier by access to a centralized and comprehensive set of policies designed to address all major areas of day-to-day operations.
You can think of a set of clear policies as being like the backbone of a successful organization. With it, staff can act independently and confidently without endangering the overall mission and purpose. Without it, delays and disputes multiply and productivity plummets.
Modern workplaces require a modern solution.
The modern workplace is constantly evolving. Organizations are more likely to have team members in multiple locations, or working from home and using a flexible timetable. A policy and procedure compliance system must be adaptable and relevant in order to be effective.
This is why a cloud-based solution like TotalCompliance makes so much sense. It reaches employees wherever they may be, works on whatever internet-enabled device they are using, and provides a channel for invaluable feedback to the organization.
TotalCompliance is the easy way to disseminate policy throughout the entire workforce, and also gives you the ability to require users to acknowledge their understanding of the policy. In highly regulated industries, such as finance or healthcare, simply acknowledging receipt might not be enough. You can follow new policy updates with user tests to meet audit requirements and to protect your organization against possible fines or lawsuits.
Quicker communications and better understanding in both directions helps to foster an efficient and effective workplace culture, one that TotalCompliance fits seamlessly into. Our mission, expertise and experience all combine to create market-leading products that are flexible, cost effective, and easy to use.