Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

How to change your workplace culture

 
In today's competitive environment, recruiting and keeping the right people is tough and sought-after staff are making increasingly advanced choices about where to work.  Where high salaries and career opportunities once topped the wishlist of prospective employees, work/life balance is increasingly playing a large part in their decision making process about which employer to work with.  Short commutes, flexible holiday arrangements and wellbeing initiatives are increasingly part of the equation and it is the caring, more supportive organisations with a range of wellbeing initiatives in place who are attracting the best people.  Less stress is the name of the game.
 
As a result, many organisations are looking at wellbeing in the workplace, but those who merely pay lip service to the initiatives and see it as a tick box exercise may find and recruit the best people, but will soon find that the costs of a high staff turnover outweigh any benefits.  Employees rarely go back to an employer where they had a bad experience, but will often return to a good one once they realise that the extra few pounds in their pocket each month is poor compensation for bad management and a toxic atmosphere.  Companies who argue that some employees exploit their goodwill are missing the fact that these are in the minority and that whatever your approach to staff welfare, poor performance must be managed rather than ignored.
 

So what changes should I make?

Culture is infectious!

Try and look at your company culture objectively.  If most people consistently work a 70 hour week, despite being on a 40 hour contract, any new people will observe and slip into the cultural norm.  Whilst this might give you short term gains, staff will quickly develop burnout, feel exploited, work out their hourly rate, and worst of all, not make productive use of the time they are working, instead using the time to bemoan their plight to other co-workers and spread feelings of resentment towards the organisation.  If the managers and sending and expecting replies to emails at 11pm and 5am, staff will feel that their personal time is being invaded.  If managers are dictatorial and dogmatic rather than collaborative, or take credit for the achievements of their staff and blame them for their mistakes, any colleagues promoted to those positions will behave in that way because that is what they have experienced from their managers.

To change the social norms, encourage managers to listen to staff and work as a team to provide solutions to problems rather than imposing new process.  If people feel that they have been part of the solution, they are much more engaed in trying to make it work.  Encourage staff to take breaks, work effectively rather than long hours, and reward achievement.  Encourage a collaborative approach and an open environment where problems can be discussed openly without fear of retribution.  Put in place a structure wellbeing programme to promote good physical and mental health and encourage people to work together to maintain their health in a mutually supportive environment.

 

Redefine Success

Whilst success is seen as reaching the top of the management structure, earning most money, reaping most benefits and stamping on others to get where you want to be, a dog eat dog culture will prevail.  Encourage initiative which promote a kinder, more supportive workplace and strive for happiness.  Allow people to be who they are, provided it doesn't negatively impact others, encourage volunteering and helping others, both at work and as part of a society, and promote healthy living - both physically and mentally.  Redfine success as living authentically, purposefully and healthily and promote the goal of creating a better environment in the workplace.

 

Build a community

If people exist only as individuals they eventually feel isolated and in competition with their colleagues.  Teams need to know each other and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to function effectively.  Difference should be embraced.  Although most research shows that our natural instincts are to surround ourselves with like-linded personalities with a common ethos, team building models all recognise that in order for projects to succeed, a variety of skillsets and approaches are necessary.  A team full of 'completer finishers' will never make any changes or get anything implemented, whereas a room full of plants will conflict and not see projects through to the end.  Encourage teamwork and help people to recognise where they fit and how they contribute.

If new staff are just given a workspace and a job specification and left to achieve their goals independently, they will bring the culture from their old workplace, which is always a bit of a gamble.  People recreate what they already know as it is the path of least resistance, but if this doesn't match with your culture or where you want to be, there will be conflict.  So don't leave it to chance.  When new people join you, assign a buddy who already demonstrates the culture you are aiming for.  Ensure they introduce the new person to all of the specialists, that they know where to go for help and that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, ensure that it's more important to be kind, collaborative and supportive than to shine by being selfish, isolated and concerned only with the success of their department.  Introduce the idea of shared goals, company-wide success and humanity.

If we do not actively create the culture we want, another culture will develop on its own, which could be terminally damaging to the reputation and sustainability of your organisation.

 

CCC can help to support your wellbeing programme with general counselling, mental health awareness and stress management programmes.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.