7 Ways To Create A Positive Organizational Work Culture

Small and Smart Wins

Fierce competition and rivalry between organizations often foster a take-no-prisoners, high pressured work environment to drive financial success. However, extensive research on organizational behavior suggests the complete opposite. It professes that having a tough, cutthroat work culture may be a successful short term strategy for boosting productivity of the workforce but it slowly starts to kill productivity in the long run.

Although there’s a common misconception that working under constant pressure and stress pushes employees to deliver their best performance, it only takes the organization so far and for so long. Such organizations fail to identify the hidden costs of fostering such a hard-driving and stressful work culture long-term.

According to the American Psychological Association, high pressured firms incur 50% greater costs in terms of healthcare expenditure than other firms. What is even more surprising is that almost 60–80% of workplace accidents happen due to stress, fatigue and tension. It is no secret that workplace stress leads to cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndromes.

What HR professionals and members of the top management should understand is that every employee is not an urgency addict. Meeting tight deadlines may increase the engagement rate for some employees, but it’s not normal and definitely not a great strategy to boost productivity of the work staff over a period of time. Read more about this in the Harvard Business Review article: https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive

Another implicit cost a firm incurs due to stressful work atmosphere is lack of loyalty. A study conducted by Centre for American Progress states that firms with such environment have an employee turnover rate of 50% or more. Employees reject promotions or resign to go back on the job market, thus leaving the company with additional costs and responsibilities to hire and train new candidates.

Creating a positive work culture is not rocket science. It’s the small things that actually matter and you can start by taking baby steps towards fostering a culture that keeps your employees happy and content.

1) Start by Defining your Legacy

President of Human Resource Solutions and author of ‘Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around’ Roberta Chinsky Matuson suggests that you must make up your mind on what type of organization you want to have. Talented professionals often switch jobs and join a small business because they were treated poorly.

Consider what you want people to say about your firm when they leave the job and then go back to solve the problem.

2) Smart Hiring

According to Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, getting the right people on the bus is important. Simply laying out a vision is not enough. You must hire the right people who can take your company to greater heights. Most talented professionals already have great paying jobs so find a differentiator with a lot of new ideas and passion to work for your company.

3) Listen

Nothing can dampen an employee’s spirits more than feeling that they are not being heard. Start by listening to the concerns and problems your employees face in the workplace and try to make appropriate changes to increase their productivity. Don’t miss out on asking one question that most successful entrepreneurs ask their employees, ‘What would you do differently if this was your company?’

You can draw insights from their answers to make necessary changes in the workplace to get things done faster and increase profitability. Also, this step will make your work staff feel their opinions are valued.

4) Engage

While this may be a difficult one to follow, it will certainly be helpful in creating a positive organizational culture. Keep your employees in the loop about what’s happening; share your firm’s future goals, plans for expansion and financials. This may seem like divulging too much information, but it will open new lines of communication to create an open culture in the workplace.

Kirschner suggests transparency is the key to getting your employees more engaged by letting them know what’s going on rather than keeping them guessing.

5) Reward

Never underestimate the impact of a few kind words. The most important task individuals in the top management forget is giving recognition where it is due. A simple pat on the back or ‘Good job!’ can mean a lot to an employee, especially when it comes from the boss. It makes them feel appreciated and makes them feel their contribution in the team is given due importance.

6) Evolve and Change

Rome wasn’t built in a day and bringing a positive change in the organizational culture of your firm will take time, dedication and perseverance. Chinsky Matuson compares this to a diet. Shedding those extra pounds is not easy — you cannot just avoid a few cans of soda and chips to make it go away. Drastic changes have to be made to bring a change from within.

This change is the same for the case of company culture. If your firm’s culture isn’t getting to the point how you want it to be, start looking at making bigger changes, including removal of a few bad actors that may be disrupting the progress.

7) Institutionalize the Culture

At the initial stage, changing the culture will be difficult but once you’ve set the wheels in motion, you must put new systems or standard operating procedures to enforce permanence of the new culture. When hiring new candidates, encourage multiple people to provide feedback on whether or not a potential employee is the right fit for the firm.

The Benefits of a Positive Work Culture

A positive work atmosphere has great benefits to offer. It significantly increases the engagement rate of the workforce, decreases the turnover rate and improves work satisfaction levels of the employees.

When your employees are happy, it will reflect in their work, attitudes and activities inside and outside of the workplace.

With these tips in mind, start taking baby steps to improve your company’s culture. The first part of any journey begins with a single step. Remember, change must penetrate at the most elemental level of your company’s hierarchy to stick and that’s why you must start at the bottom.

Change may not go your way in the beginning, but being persistent to make your employees ‘buy into’ the change deliver dividends for all.

I hope you found this article helpful in understanding how to create a positive work culture for your organization. Discover Management and Leadership knowledge on our website www.MagnaLeadership.com and please “Like” our Facebook Business Page to get your daily Leadership tips at: http://www.facebook.com/MagnaLeadership/

If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, we encourage you to share your thoughts with us and our readers in the comments below.

Thank you,
 Dr. Kevin Gazzara