If you’re paying attention to workplace trends, you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “company culture” thrown around a lot. However, it takes work to make sure that it’s not just a buzzword in your organization.
How can you establish and maintain a positive organizational culture? What does that look like, in both theory and practice? What role will assessments play in that culture? Let’s find out.
Why is creating a positive organizational culture important?
Workplace culture impacts every aspect of an organization, including employee performance, engagement, productivity and retention. It’s more than the daily sum of moods of your team; it’s your values, the way employee development and feedback is handled, and the communication choices made by your leadership.
Research shows that “More than half of employees were willing to go to a competing firm in search of a better culture, and 48% said they’d consider working a 60 hour week in exchange for a better culture.”
Company culture affects everything about the employee experience, and can make or break the levels of stress workers feel. Research shows that stress and anxiety affect workers’ productivity and coworker relations more than anything else, and 83% of US workers suffered from work-related stress in 2019. Clearly, something isn’t working.
Why are so many employees still looking for a positive work culture? It simply means that many organizations are missing the mark. They’re either ignoring culture in favor of extending resources into profit, rather than people, or they’re not understanding exactly how to create a positive team culture.
You can’t just throw flashy benefits like unlimited PTO or remote work options at your team and call it good company culture (especially since many teams are fully embracing remote work as the norm, not the exception to the rule.)
How is positive organizational culture created?
The benefits are clear, but what exactly does building a positive team culture look like in reality? Here are a few of the elements you need to nail down.
Create a Strong Work/Life Balance
Increasingly, we’re seeing the attitude around work culture changing. Many people, especially members of Gen Z who are entering the workforce in multitudes, work to live instead of living to work. They want to pursue side gigs, creative projects, and their social lives, and leave work at the office.
It’s unrealistic for an organization to expect their employees to drop everything to work overtime and during non-traditional hours unless specified in their job roles.
Provide Excellent Benefits
If you’re not taking care of your team, you’re not going to get full engagement. It’s as simple as that. How can someone push themselves to innovate when they’re worried about providing for sick family members? Will someone communicate well when they’re ill, but afraid to call out?
Organizations need to understand that the modern worker needs solid health care, paid time off, and family leave, as a starting place for benefits.
Develop Transparent Communication
Your organization needs to build trust if you want to really build a positive organizational culture. This can be done through frequent and honest communication, between leaders, direct reports, and teammates.
Try to meet on a regular basis as an entire organization, and share the larger vision of the company. Establish honesty as a company value (more on that in a moment!) and encourage truthful feedback about leadership from entry-level employees.
Make sure that managers have established cadence for one-on-ones and conversations with their direct reports, and offer up the possibility of ‘skip levels’, which are meetings between a direct report and their boss’s boss.
Focus on Employee Development
It’s not enough for a business to hire and pay a worker. Top talent wants their organizations to invest back in them, in exchange for their time and expertise.
70% of staff members would be at least somewhat likely to leave their current organizations and take a job with one that is known for investing in employee development and learning. One way to do this is by creating a coaching and development program based on scientific behavioral research and skills enhancement.
Live Out Your Values
When is the last time you thought about your company values? How are those values communicated to your employees? If your answer is through a poster on the wall, you’re not on the right track.
Your values should be something known and enforced through the daily behavior of your leaders, which will lead to the same behavior in employees. Is your company focused on giving back to the community? What does your brand value? What does your organization fight for? Answering those questions and thinking about how to reflect that with behavior goes a long way in creating a positive work environment.
What are the signs of a healthy company culture?
If you’ve created a solid foundation and you are supporting your team, you might be wondering if your efforts are working. Are you fostering a positive work culture?
Here Are Some Signs That You’re Getting It Right
Low Turnover Rate and High Employee Retention
The modern worker is more likely to bounce from position to position, but that’s out of necessity; workers who stay in their positions for multiple years decline their overall lifetime earning potential.
Don’t blame employees for playing a game they didn’t create! Instead, refuse to take them for granted. If you have team members staying with your company year over year, you’ve created the right culture for them to thrive.
A Clear Set of Values
Again, company values are not optional when it comes to creating a positive organizational culture. If an organization has an established and implemented culture built on the mutual values of workers and leaders, you’re going to see that culture flourish.
Employees Matched Well in Their Jobs
There’s a sweet spot for every employee when it comes to utilizing their talents and skill set, but not everyone is lucky enough to be in the right position.
When you see employees’ daily tasks aligned with their motivations, their communication levels matched with their behavioral style, and their leaders in sync with their development, you will find positive culture within a team.
How can employee assessments help promote a positive company culture?
What exactly do assessments have to do with company culture? The answer is: everything. They are the first starting place for creating culture, a tool to bridge the gap between departments and teammates, and they can help establish those crucial company values to drive your culture.
Here Are All the Benefits Assessments Bring
Create a Shared Language
Assessments give teams the vocabulary they need to truly understand the behavior and motivations of themselves and their teammates. Better yet, since sciences like DISC are observable, once they start to gain knowledge about behavior, communication and understanding will naturally improve.
Decrease Conflict in the Workplace
Conflict is inevitable in any environment, but it doesn’t need to be senseless. The understanding that assessments bring to individuals about themselves and others allows communication to clear up. In particular, assessments that measure emotional intelligence like EQ clue people into their behavior that they might have only subconsciously felt before. When you understand the science behind moods like anger and frustration, you can identify your triggers and express yourself more clearly.
Lead Employee Development
Employees that are invested in their workplace will actively contribute to creating a positive organizational culture. Creating an employee development program can seem overwhelming, and assessments give you the perfect place to start.
After an individual takes an assessment, you can access insight into their behavior, motivation, skill set, and more. Leaders can identify areas of improvement and then map out the best way to get their employees to the next level.
Positive organizational culture is within your grasp. Focus on what your employees really need and use the right tools to get there, and you’ll get the results you need.