Creating a good work culture is vitally important for leaders, but it so often is overlooked, deprioritised or pushed aside as a conceptual ideal. Many leaders love the idea of creating a fabulous workplace where employees are heard and valued and there is perfect work-life balance. It’s easy to talk the talk, but leaders need to walk the walk too.
I hear time and time again that companies talk at a top level about how they are creating a great environment for staff to work in, but with a lack of strategies in place to prioritise this and make it happen, it falls by the wayside and there’s often a different story from the people doing the day-to-day work of the business.
But perhaps more than ever before, leaders need to make the creation of a water-tight work culture their number one priority. In a study by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, it was found that ‘culture and engagement’ was the highest priority on the corporate agenda and companies with the strongest work cultures were much better at attracting and keeping talent.
This illustrates the challenge for business and Human Relations leaders to gain a clear understanding of their organisation’s culture, find out where there is room for improvement and redefine every HR and talent program as a way to better engage and empower their people.
Why is the creation of a good work culture so important?
- It attracts and keeps good talent.
As the working world becomes more and more decentralised, businesses are able to reach a lot further afield to secure talented and skilled employees, who have the characteristics of resilience and adaptability.
People are going to want to work for businesses that have a strong and positive work culture so those businesses that invest in creating strong cultures will be better placed to attract good people who choose to work there, over another company. Having a great cultural fit is the strongest competitive edge a business can have over other organisations when it comes to attracting and keeping the best people.
- It drives employee engagement.
A culture that is positive and values employees and their professional and personal needs, drives engagement.
Staff who have an enriched personal life are more likely to have the space and energy to be more productive and engaged at work. Engaged staff are more likely to minimise staff turnover, improve overall productivity and creativity and help perpetuate a strong and empowered work culture. For a successful business, leaders have to address issues of culture and engagement.
Leaders need to constantly access and reinvent how they lead, how they manage, how they develop, and how they inspire their people. Without strong engagement and a positive, meaningful work environment, people will disengage and look elsewhere for work.
- It promotes a good work-life balance.
A workplace that truly values staff, will have strategies in place to ensure they have the right balance between their professional and personal lives. A health work culture should accept people as dynamic individuals who have personal and professional goals and aspirations that should be encouraged applauded. A halthy work cutlure should actively seek to better understand employees, their opinions, their values and their aspirations.
- It impacts overall business performance.
Most leaders would agree that creating a strong work culture with engaged staff will result in improved financial performance. Workplace culture directly influences how staff perform which has a strong correlation with overall financial performance. What better motivator than this to prioritise workplace culture.
How can leaders create better work cultures?
In a nutshell, leaders need to firstly understand the gap between what they say they are going to do and what they actually do. There needs to be a higher degree of authenticity whereby leaders actually implement strategies that support their cultural ideals.
In a recent 2021 Global Culture Survey conducted by PwC, close to 2000 employees were surveyed with the following findings; “79% of C-suite and board respondents agreed or strongly agreed that what they say about their culture aligns with the way people act every day in their organisation, but only 58% of frontline workers said the same.
The contrast is particularly stark with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion: 64% of C-suite and board respondents said that their organization encourages discussion of sensitive and uncomfortable topics, but only 51% of frontline workers agreed. And 71% of C-suite and board members said their organization embraces flexibility and accommodates people with different needs, but only 54% of frontline workers said so”.
Leaders need to make a commitment to prioritise the creation of a strong work culture, for the benefit of the people working within it, and for the overall success of the business itself.
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