Mounting evidence continues to show that workplace culture is pivotal in a business’ success. Beyond the purpose of the business, you want workers to have a shared dedication, allowing them to contribute meaningfully to a business that cares. Following dedicated staff, the outcome of their work should increase, it’s a win-win.
There is no business which sets out to create a horrible workplace. But over time, when priorities may stumble; a workplace culture can diminish entirely. Cutting corners with scheduling and labour costs, as well as workload and closely monitored hours, contributes a number of negative impacts. Closely observed employees may feel distrusted or overwhelmed with work which creates a feeling of failure.
Shifting culture does not happen overnight, but nor does anything worth doing. Continued effort over time can transform a business and overhaul the company culture. Here are some ideas to develop the workplace culture.
Training should go beyond the initial fortnight
Take time to engage personally with your workers and get to know them. If they are comfortable sharing their ambitions, help them realise and reach them. Investing in their growth will benefit your company too, as their energy can be used in creative ways. Aim to provide ongoing coaching opportunities, if their role is unchanged in the company, allow them to vary their tasks so every day is different (people are likely to stay longer if they feeling they are continually learning!)
Honesty is the best policy
While letting someone down softly should be kept in mind, your company needs direction and performance. If someone has failed to fulfil a task, the truth about their performance is necessary. Ultimately, the role of a boss is to have these difficult conversations. 360 reviews are a brilliant way to get genuine feedback (every team member is analysed [including yourself], not to tear them down, but create a space to recommend and encourage) in the workplace. The tricky part to navigate is inspiring work but not overwhelming, create a structure that the employees want to put their best effort in, and provide feedback in such a way that it is clear and encouraging.
HubSpot did not dictate their employee’s working hours or annual leave, encouraging them to ask and organise such with their boss. The ‘unlimited paid annual leave’ model recommends workers to show what they consider reasonable for time off. Interestingly, the worker’s took less holiday time on average than industry suggested, and worked hours that suited them. If the company culture is such, employees won’t feel as though they need significant time away and appreciate the trust extended to their decisions. Often, parents will need shortened schedules, but may offer to be contactable after they’ve left the office. With emails, phones, and Skype etc., working from home has never been easier.
Switch it up
How great is a sleeping pod and a novelty basketball hoop in the office!? Probably not so great or useful for the average worker, nevertheless, the ‘kidult’ office layout is trending, continuing to break the norm and question the white desks, 9-5 non-negotiable hours and dress codes. Foster an environment as far from the mundane as possible, ‘hot-desking’ keeps the office from feeling too familiar, or stand-up desks to encourage health. Flexible layouts designed for movement and collaboration zones change the interactions, otherwise everything will stay a bit too familar and get boring.
Lead by example
You can never expect your team to be completing tasks which you aren’t doing yourself. If you arrive late, leave early and take unusually long coffee and lunch breaks, it will be noted by the team. Gaining the respect of your team is important, show them you are a dedicated worker and reliable. Behaving in a proactive manner will demonstrate your abilities as a leader, and show you understand the company and are fit for the position.
Remember: Although trendy, offerings such as team-building, parties, foosball tables and flexible working hours aren’t beneficial if they are staged. If you choose to host these, focus on the authenticity. A free coffee machine does not mean much to the office when the workers believe you are indifferent to their wellbeing.