26 May 2023
Many companies talk about their culture, claim to invest in their people, and aspire to be a great place to work. But how do business leaders shape culture, to ensure this is a reality, rather than a checkbox activity?
Shaping workplace culture
Developing a great workplace culture takes effort, time and dedication to the cause. Changing behaviours that may once have been accepted as the norm is a task that requires careful consideration, usually some type of remedial action, and the adoption and embedding of new ways of working.
One example of how culture impacts is around setting expectations around performance. It is common practice and often necessary for managers to outline concerns if performance falls below the expected standard. However, as with all things, the reasonableness of the expectation and how that message is communicated is important.
If expectations are communicated well and areas for improvement are detailed and followed up, the experience and outcomes are likely to be more effective, both for the individual and the organisation. Even if this leads to more formal action, managers can be confident that they have taken a best practice approach.
How confident are you that your culture represents your organisation’s values?
For business leaders, reviewing company culture can be a daunting task. We list a few important starting points below.
- Mind the ‘culture gap’: understanding what is currently contributing to a positive or negative culture is important so that areas for change can be identified. A good first step is to create a listening platform that provides the opportunity for people to speak up.
- Data and insights: who better to highlight this to you than the people who are living it every day? Consider ‘stay interviews’ as a useful information gathering exercise, as well as exit interviews. However, remember that, if a culture is toxic, employees will be concerned about voicing their opinions. Information may need to be gathered independently or as part of a review possibly using surveys or other listening platforms
- Effective information sharing: does one part of the business have a higher sickness absence or staff turnover rate than another? Identifying such patterns in management information can provide red flags and starting points for businesses to review their practices.
- Root-level review: sometimes it is necessary to dig deeper and look for the root causes of issues. For some troubled organisations, culture change can take several years to stick. This often involves business leaders getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
A thorough review of your company’s culture is essential to ensuring your values are represented in every aspect of the business and at every level. Businesses that are open to having transparent, open and sometimes uncomfortable conversations will see better outcomes.
‘With behaviour, workplace conduct and culture continuing to fill our newsfeeds, now is an excellent time for organisations to determine whether their culture properly represents their values’
If you would like to hear about how our experienced teams can help with shaping your organisation’s culture for the future, including a review of current practices, get in touch with Kerri Constable.