• Kathy Miles

Redesigning Workplace Culture


The idea of workplace culture hasn't always been widely received or supported, but things are shifting.

Within the last five to ten years, we have seen a big change happening within the workforce. Millennials, a generation known for selling their services to the highest bidder, now represent the majority generation in the workplace. Unlike Baby Boomers or Gen X who are traditionally loyal and work-centric, the Millennials will move between organisations as they see fit.

Attracting and most importantly retaining these people has become an important task for any HR team and managers alike. Millennials are looking for not just a job, but a way of life. They want to work for an organisation with a great culture, somewhere that they actually want to go to work each day.

The culture of your workplace can dictate morale and change the way that people perceive your organisation. By focusing on redesigning your workplace culture, you have the opportunity to create an environment which helps your employees be engaged, productive and successful which will then translate into an improved customer experience.

What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture is the general atmosphere and environment within your organisation. It is the shared values and practices of your employees.

You can’t see workplace culture but you can see its results. For example, are employees happy and satisfied in their work? Are there good relationships between people/departments with open communication? Do people put in extra effort when required? If you answered yes, then chances are you have a pretty good workplace culture.

Workplace culture will constantly evolve and change over time. Employees will leave, new people will commence, organisational policies and procedures will change and the environment in which the company operates (laws, regulations, economic climate etc.) may change. All of these things will impact on the culture in either a positive or negative manner.

What does positive vs negative workplace culture look like?

A positive workplace culture really comes down to having a harmonious workplace where each of your employees is engaged, motivated to work, performing well and working towards the overall organisational objectives.

When the culture is positive, it often means that work doesn’t feel like work, everyone is having their ideals met and the environment is a positive and efficient one.

A negative workplace culture has certain tell-tale signs that manifest, some of these include:

  • Poor internal communication – lack of communication between team members and departments is a clear warning sign that something isn’t working as it should be.

  • Micromanagement/poor management – people hate to be micromanaged or poorly managed, this fosters an atmosphere of resentment and stress which is not good for the work environment. If people require micromanagement, this clearly shows that either the wrong people are in the wrong roles, or the managers aren’t trained on how to be an effective leader.

  • Lack of teamwork – a culture where everyone is out for themselves and there is a lack of working together can be a big indicator that something is up with your culture.

  • Office gossip/politics/competitiveness – Nothing kills the workplace culture like gossip, office politics or competitiveness. If any of these are in play consistently, then your culture will be suffering.

  • High turnover of employees – if you have a high company turnover this can be a sign that something isn’t right. If employees are engaged they will stay.

  • Employees that are stressed/unwell or unhappy – do you have employees who are constantly sick, who are stressed out or just look and sound miserable to be at work? This is a clear indicator that they want to be anywhere but work, meaning that the culture isn’t right.

  • Overworked employees – Are a few of your people pulling the weight of everyone? Unless there is an evenly shared workload and adequate resources to do the work, then the culture will suffer.

  • Lack of feedback – is getting feedback like pulling hens teeth? A good culture is one where people know where they stand. If people don’t know what they are doing well, how can we expect them to keep doing it? Likewise, for what they shouldn’t be doing.

  • Lack of appreciation/reward and recognition – nothing kills culture like not being appreciated for the work you do.

Considerations for redesigning workplace culture:

It is important to remember that you cannot change the attitude or behaviour of others. You can however promote a good workplace culture through actively demonstrating a positive attitude and positive behaviour yourself.

Showing that the work environment is a key focus that receives priority in your organisation will start the ball rolling in the right direction. To keep this moving, consider how you can do each of the following:

  • Ensure understanding of the organisations goals and strategies, why these are important and what role the employees have in helping to achieve these

  • Create a shared vision that everyone can work towards

  • Foster an environment of trust and respect between team members

  • Create more open communication between team members/departments

  • Share information between teams and departments

  • Foster integrity in terms of values and behaviours and ensuring actions are consistent with words

  • Show employees that their efforts are appreciated and rewarded

  • Encourage team collaboration and team building exercises

  • Provide regular feedback for individuals and teams

  • Offer job variety

  • Provide growth opportunities that include delegation, training and development, coaching and mentoring and career progression

  • Ensure employees have the right skills, tools and resources to do the job required

  • Cultivate strong leadership practices to inspire, motivate and engage employees

  • Determine employee motivations so you can provide the right motivation to inspire greatness

  • Implement SMART goals for individuals and teams

  • Promote group problem solving

  • Provide a workspace that is conducive to team work, creativity and productivity

  • Cultivate an environment where employees feel supported and cared about

  • Encourage your leaders to model the right behaviours

  • Make the workplace a safe space where differences of opinion and new ideas are openly sought and listened to

  • Promote innovation and constant improvement​

Choose a few of these things to work on at a time and most important keep plugging away at it. Your workplace culture won’t change overnight, but the more you focus on it the easier it will become and the quicker you will see a shift in attitudes.

Having great workplace culture can ultimately impact your bottom line and the way that your customers view your business. With a strong workplace culture, you can ensure your business continues to move forward with a proper vision. Working on the culture makes you competitive, both for attracting new employees, retaining existing employees and improving the customer experience.

About PDI Solutions

PDI Solutions can work with organisations to develop and deliver training solutions tailored to your particular organisation around leadership, team building or any other professional development. Contact us today for a free consultation at info@pdisolutions.com.au or visit our website at pdisolutions.com.au

#WorkplaceCulture #Culture #HR #EmployeeEngagement #Leadership

© 2015 PDI Solutions (Trading as Kathleen J Miles)

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