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Workplace culture has been one of those catchphrases in recent years, especially in an era where Millennials and Gen Z are seeking more from employment than just a paid role.
But what exactly is workplace culture? How can you improve it and why does it matter? Here’s an insight into the importance of workplace culture and how technology can play an integral role in redefining the ethos of your workplace.
Contrary to popular belief workplace culture isn’t just about creating an open-plan office, adding some funky plants and furnishing staff with scooters and daybeds to space up the tedium of corporate life.
Instead, culture speaks to the central ethos of an organisation, or as Forbes recently noted: “A workplace culture is the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share”.
“A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce,” they note.
“Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. And, most importantly, a positive workplace environment reduces stress in employees.”
Sounds great and makes absolute sense, but fostering it is a little trickier than defining it. So how do you go about creating a positive workplace culture?
According to Harvard Business Review, culture has four key attributes – it is shared, it is pervasive, it is enduring, and it is implicit.
It also has eight different styles or focuses:
• Caring – where the focus is on relationships and mutual trust
• Purpose driven – where the emphasis is on the greater cause which unites the workforce
• Learning – which is characterised by exploration and creativity
• Enjoyment – where workplaces feature a sense of fun and humour
• Results – where high achievement and outcome are the emphasis
• Authority – which is defined by strength and boldness
• Safety – where the workplace is focussed on planning, caution and preparedness
• Order – where the emphasis is the status quo, respect and structure.
Regardless of which style a workplace embraces, improving workplace culture involves defining where you are now and where you want to be, while involving staff in the conversation and espousing those cultural values through leadership.
Meanwhile culture not only defines the ethos of an organisation, it also has a focus on the welfare of the employees within it.
Positive workplace culture can foster a growth mindset in staff allowing them to problem solve. It can create opportunity through job variety and career paths, engendering loyalty in staff. It can offer security through tried and tested mechanisms and planning, or it can be a place of fun.
Most importantly workplace culture can unite your staff in a sense of belonging and greater purpose.
Technology does not define culture, but it can assist in facilitating it.
Technology can streamline systems and procedures, thereby enhancing results, improving safety or maintaining order.
It can facilitate flexibility in the workplace, allowing staff to work from home, embrace co-working spaces, and create work/life balance, thereby enhancing the culture of caring and purpose.
It can improve communication in a workplace, fostering collaboration, teamwork and results, and in many cases, it can also reflect sustainability by reducing paperwork and waste.
Not only can technology facilitate a positive workplace culture it can also help relay that organisation’s ethos to the outside world.
It can set the parameters of professionalism, enhance engagement with clients and consumers, facilitate sales, and streamline interaction with the outside world.
Just as employees, leaders and visions have a place at the table of workplace culture so too does technology in a bid to improve workplace productivity, communication and flexibility.