Culture – Importance of a positive workplace

Daniel Blay

I’ve worked in several workplaces in my life. Some with a great culture and some not so great.  Culture is the values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.

In my experience, a positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce. However, a poor culture can become incredibly toxic, can set low standards and no matter what your remuneration is – you just want to leave!

There are some key aspects of culture that people look for in a workplace that you should be mindful of as a manager or business owner. Research has shown that for an employee, a great workplace has the following key aspects: purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, well-being, and leadership.

Team members need a purpose. You need to connect the team to the organisations’ reason for being. The team also needs the opportunity to learn new skills, develop, and have the ability to contribute. It’s also important to give the team the opportunity to innovate and be creative. You should show appreciation to team members by acknowledging and recognising outstanding contributions.

Pay attention to the well-being of your team members, by constantly working to improve their physical, social, emotional and financial health. As a leader, focus on connecting the team to the organisations purpose, empowering them to do great work and creating a sense of camaraderie.  Lead by example to get everyone on board.

In the Australian sporting world, the Sydney Swans have been a good example of the type of results an organisation can achieve by having a strong positive culture. Justin Peckett from Leading Teams said “The Swans have managed to maintain an extremely strong culture through player transitions and leadership change. The force of their culture hits you as soon as you walk through the door, you immediately feel like you have to step up. The entire playing group, not just the leaders, take responsibility for enforcing the team culture, and it’s this commitment that has led to their on-field success.”  The club has focused heavily on culture and recruiting the right type of individual that fits their culture instead of just recruiting the best available talent. (By the way, yes, I am a Swans supporter!)

Improved workplace culture drives positive business outcomes. A long, long time ago I was part of a team that decided to change its culture. The results of improving the culture, apart from a much happier place to be, were improvements in retaining team members, attracting the right people to join the team, greater job satisfaction, and in turn this resulted in revenue growth and a much-improved financial position of the organisation.

So, how is the culture in your workplace?