Changing your work culture. Are you on board?

Changing your work culture takes time. And effort.

Many people and organisations talk about creating a healthy culture at work. But, in the context of the working environment, what exactly is culture? And can it even be created, let alone changed?

Well, to answer that in broader terms, the culture of work is certainly changing. Employers are becoming a lot more focused on the wellbeing of staff–both professionally and mentally. There is more regulation in place to help individuals and health and safety in the workplace has never been better.

That’s the general culture of work.

But the culture at a specific workplace, company or brand is a different beast.

And the culture at your workplace can be entirely different from that of the place where your best friend might work.

Culture, as defined by the people at The Balance Careers is, “The environment that surrounds you at work all of the time; a powerful element that shapes your enjoyment, your work relationships and your processes.”

You can’t see culture. Unless you count some of the physical embodiments, such as printed visions, company manifestos and the increasing penchant for big, bold vinyl quotes on walls.

And that is why the definition of culture is made up of many different takes. Our take is that a company’s culture is a constantly evolving animal, formed from all the traits and life experiences that each employee brings to the organisation.

But it’s not an entity that’s by any means, out of your control as a board director, MD or have HR responsibility. Every single employee can mould an organisation’s culture. But it’s the company’s founders, execs and managerial staff that can, through decision-making, strategic direction and personality.

But how?

Well, we’ve talked before about rewarding staff with reloadable gift cards. But there’s obviously so much more to it than that. We think there are many ways to positively affect an organisation’s culture, but here’s our top five:

Communication is key

Be clear about not only what you stand for, but what the company’s core values are. Then make sure they’re communicated clearly, confidently and concisely. If employees have been part of the process up until this point, then so much the better, but either way, how you communicate your values is key.

And no, it’s not enough to simply put your new green values in a mission statement, an email or even a big get-together. You need to demonstrate. And then you need to start living and breathing it, every day. On top of that, don’t stop. Don’t stop communicating in general–and frequently. Regular face-to-face communication is one of the most-effective ways of making staff feel valued – and that feeling can only enhance your company culture.

Be flexible

Being happy carrying out just the job description doesn’t cut it these days. Employees want to know you’re willing to not only challenge them, but also let them stretch themselves in other areas or roles. So let them multi-task. Give them free-reign to upskill and learn other areas of your business. They then become familiar with a more rounded view of how your company operates and they’re better placed to contribute towards your company culture.

Walk the walk

You can’t tell employees how to espouse the company values and vision. Until, that is, you do it yourself. So be an example. Always. If you clearly show passion for and demonstrate excitement for your goals, it becomes infectious–and guess what: your people become walking, talking examples of your company culture.

A healthy dose of wellbeing …

From time-off for personal commitments to flexible working, nutrition to gym membership and mental wellbeing, you can do so much to improve the wellbeing of your workforce. There’s no doubt that over the last decade, the focus has shifted. It’s moved from grilling employees at interview stage and those employees being grateful for being in work to a culture of companies trying harder to attract the right people. And then looking after the interests–and the wellbeing–of those people. Which can only be a good thing.

…mixed with the right incentives

Combine that relatively new attitude with proactively incentivising your people and you can generate a healthy culture of loyalty. Not to mention productivity and a team full of brand ambassadors. Even if you haven’t got the budget for a full-blown employee reward scheme or structured incentive program, you can still show how much you value your staff. Just a healthy dose of better communication–simply saying thank you more–can have a very positive impact on company culture.

Flexible incentives, that allow you to reward different things at different time, even on an ad hoc basis are an ideal option. Take something like the Asda for Business gift card for instance. Rewarding staff with reloadable gift cards is a brilliant way of recognising employees’ achievements. But it also allows you to incentivise your workforce in a way that suits you.

And of course, when your people feel incentivised, rewarded and of course, valued–it generates a positive force on company culture – and that can lead to greater productivity and profitability.