Gemma Chadwick, business and HR manager at Penguins, says a positive corporate culture needs to be flexible and cultivated.
Workplace culture is a topic on almost every leader’s lips. The question is, what does it actually mean and how do you create the right culture for your business?
While businesses may have a culture of collaboration, how this collaboration manifests itself will change depending on the individuals or groups involved. This can change wildly from minute to minute, person to person, which should be actively encourage. Culture should not be stifling or restrictive, it should be positive, innovative and secure. Often culture can be mistaken for values, these are generally far more rigid and help us to decide the difference between right and wrong; they act as a moral compass and guide how we behave in certain situations.
When recruiting it is important to ensure that you employ individuals with shared values, such as trust, passion, commitment etc. It is equally important that there is diversity in culture and backgrounds. The wider variation of cultures within your workforce will provide a richer corporate culture and drive creativity and constructive debate. Creating a workplace culture is easier said than done and is not something that can be forced, it needs to be encouraged and cultivated naturally. In order to create a positive company culture, it is really important to go back to the basics, so here are three top tips:
Create a safe environment
Toxic leadership and negative attitudes are a killer for workplace culture. Individuals have to feel confident in their ability to be themselves, which includes making mistakes – these are something we learn from and help us grow. It is important that employees feel like they can add value by being themselves. Employees at all levels should feel confident and comfortable to speak out and respectfully challenge, no matter a person’s seniority or job title.
It’s corny but, teamwork makes the dream work. Encouraging collaboration and openness between employees and teams it actively breaks down barriers. In today’s modern world with flexible working and often widely dispersed workforces, it is even more important that we encourage teams to come together, get to know each other and create a supportive environment. Ultimately work is where we spend most of our time.
Health and wellbeing
This simply comes down to caring. Health and wellbeing is another massive topic in the business world at the minute. But what it really means is listening, knowing your teams and looking for signals. This is not always so simple but ensuring that you have the right line managers in place, with adequate training and support channels is a great start. There is a growing call both within government and employers for every workplace to have a mental health first aider. This doesn’t mean psychoanalysing every conversation, but it helps to look for tell-tale signs of stress, anxiety or other mental health problems, which can be so easily addressed if spotted early.
While there is no easy fix to create a positive workplace culture, there actually is. Be kind, be supportive and care. Encouraging this will provide a solid grounding for a positive working environment, collaborative teams and, ultimately, a pretty nice place to spend your day.