Workplace culture, also known as corporate culture, is essentially the culture your business creates for its employees that determines how pleasant or unpleasant a working environment is. A positive workplace culture aims to keep employees happy, motivated and help new employees settle in, as well as attracting prospective talent. It has the power to either strengthen or undermine your businesses objectives.
Workplace culture is defined and affected by the following factors:
For example, if your business had an approachable and understanding management team, a defined business ethos that your employees also shared, an engaging, comfortable and functional environment, and sociable and friendly staff, your business will most likely have a positive working culture.
Here at Esme, we consider workplace culture as an important aspect of keeping our team happy and motivated. That’s why we’ve teamed up with successful business owner, Diane Hutchinson to share her advice about workplace culture and how other businesses can improve theirs. Read on to find out what she had to say.
Esme: What do you think a good workplace culture looks like?
Diane: The workplace has to be right for everyone involved in the business. Working out what motivates an individual, and what makes them feel both comfortable and rewarded at the same time is key because everyone is different.
Esme: Do you think that workplace culture is important for a business?
Diane: As a nation, we spend far too long at work, so it’s important that it fits with people’s lifestyles and that it’s an enjoyable place to be when there. This doesn’t mean the workplace shouldn’t be hardworking; people who are busy and feel valued, will work hard but enjoy it at the same time.
Esme: Have you found that a good workplace culture improves your employees’ work ethic and loyalty to the business?
Diane: I have had the same key members of staff for the last 14 years (since I started in my role); they have their strengths and their weaknesses, but we try to use these to our advantage as a business and be flexible with their working conditions in order to retain staff loyalty. The leisure industry has a notoriously high turnover of staff, so this is something that I am particularly proud of and is valued by the majority of our clients.
Esme: What tips would you give other business owners to promote a good work ethic?
Diane: Lead by example and be seen to get stuck in. You can’t expect staff to look a certain way, arrive on time, and work hard if you don’t do this yourself. Also, make sure you’re acknowledging hard work to assure that your employees feel valued and realise that nothing goes unnoticed.
Esme: What tips would you give other business owners to ensure happy and loyal staff?
Diane: Get to know them as individuals. When I first started, I was convinced one member of staff wouldn’t stay with us because – in my opinion – they were ‘over qualified’. To address this, I tried to offer extra training opportunities and other incentives to stay, but I soon realised that they were satisfied in the job and appreciated recognition and good working conditions - they had no further needs from the workplace and were happy in the role they were in. The same member of staff is still with us today and is as happy as when I first started.
People skills are also so important for running a business; noticing if one of your team is feeling low and offering support goes a long way.
Esme: Are there any signs of bad workplace culture to look out for? And if you spot any in your business, how do you address them?
Diane: Workplace bullying is definitely one to keep an eye out for. Spotting it can be difficult, but if someone is feeling under threat or insecure, keeping on top of this is essential. If you do identify a situation where this could be happening, make sure you’re offering full support to anyone on the receiving end and address the situation head on.
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