Company culture is one of the new big buzzwords in our increasingly competitive global economy. Recent research has confirmed that there is a direct correlation between a positive workplace culture and better business performance. Unfortunately, ‚Äòcompany culture’ is one of those terms that has never been properly defined. While many aspects of the business are touched by it, at the core it’s the emotional engagement employees have (or don’t have) with the company they work for that can make a huge difference to how that business performs. Happiness in the job goes much deeper than the provision of perks such as generous annual leave, a nice office to work in and beers every Friday. Culture is about feelings, behaviours and relationships that are expressed through the company’s value and mission statements and practised on a daily basis. Is the employer providing a sense of purpose, working together with staff to support, develop and hold them accountable? Is there an atmosphere of trust and respect? Let’s take a closer look at how the right culture of work can have a real impact on business performance.
1. Morale in the workplace
We all know what happens when employees aren’t motivated. Poor productivity and lacklustre customer service ensues. A workplace with a negative company culture drags staff morale down, meaning employees are more likely to underperform, take sick leave or move on altogether. The implications of what this means on business performance are all too clear. However, if your employees feel listened to and respected, are given opportunities to develop personally and professionally, and are rewarded for good performance, morale is boosted. High levels of staff morale make for greater employee engagement and a positive attitude towards work, colleagues and customers. Company culture affects staff morale which, in turn, affects results. It really is that simple.
2. Going the extra mile?
If staff morale is high, there’ll be a generous supply of good will. This is a reservoir you’ll be able to draw on when it counts. Employee engagement is another buzzword that’s currently making the rounds ‚Äì it’s when your staff feel passionate about what they are doing at work. If you actively invest in your employees as part of an overall effort to improve your company culture, your workers are more likely to go above and beyond when the going gets tough. With a poor work culture, on the other hand, this is not likely to happen. Why would anyone want to put in additional effort when they know there will be no recognition, never mind a positive reward? Those who plough on are likely to burn out quickly or leave the company, resentful that their efforts have gone unnoticed and unrewarded. You simply can’t force commitment by cracking the whip or heaping on the pressure.
3. Customer benefits
Customers have the power to vote with their feet. Did you know that most people prefer to deal with companies that have a positive corporate culture? Alignment with business values and goals, environmental commitments as well as how they treat their staff are now more important than ever to gain a competitive advantage. A purely profit driven business that merely plays lips service to its customers is not authentic and will eventually be found out. While it may be a step too far to make a direct link between happy employees and happy clients, it is certainly the case that engaged employees drive company profitability. In terms of customer service, customers served by friendly, professional, knowledgeable and helpful staff are more likely to be satisfied and come back, ensuring return business.
4. An atmosphere of innovation
Innovation is the lifeblood that drives a competitive market economy. In companies where open communication is fully embraced, and where there is a culture in which staff are actively encouraged to offer their input and contribute their ideas, innovation happens as a natural consequence. Sharing ideas freely and solving problems can only flourish in an environment of trust and support. In a workplace where individuals are given the tools and the support to be creative, people are empowered to do their best. When everyone comes together doing their best, the business grows.
5. Better employee retention
Given the high cost of recruitment, the time required for onboarding and training, the uncertainty of deciding whether a new recruit is a good fit, it is clear that high levels of staff turnover are no good for business. What’s more, changing teams are unsettling for existing employees, while customer care teams in flux won’t have the ability to provide best levels of support. Company culture comes into this in 2 ways. First, happy employees are less likely to leave their job, meaning better talent retention for the business. Secondly, a positive company culture attracts better people, particularly in times when workers are becoming increasingly discerning about who they work for. Adequate training provision, performance rewards and a supportive environment in which everyone can flourish all play a significant role in creating the kind of company culture that your staff will appreciate.
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