Workplace culture now a strategic opportunity for Australian businesses
The Australian economy could grow by an estimated $70 billion a year if we halved the gap in management effectiveness between Australia and the world’s best, according to the Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow report released by Deloitte. That’s more significant than the estimated productivity benefit of the internet. So how do we achieve this? Most successful business leaders know that a big part of managing teams is creating a positive workplace culture. According to Deloitte University Press research, “organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.”
Workplace culture drives cohesion and collaboration
Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, in a Forbes article titled Culture: Why It’s the Hottest Topic in Business Today, said that “culture, engagement, and employee retention are now the top talent challenges facing business leaders.” This is especially important when you consider that the Evolution of Work – The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace study found that 86% of APAC workers believed traditional workplace departments and hierarchies would not exist in the future – making positive workplace culture critical to employee cohesion and collaboration.
Here are six tips to help you create and cultivate a more positive workplace culture:
- Define it — It’s hard to leverage workplace culture if you can’t define and describe it. The Deloitte University Press report makes the point that “leaders lack an understanding of and models for culture.” One way to begin to manage culture is to ask employees for feedback. Start by listing the attributes you want your business to elicit, and then survey employees to measure whether and how prevalently they think those attributes exist.
- Sustain the experience — Onboarding a new employee into an organisation or onto a new team goes beyond a week of orientation. Realistically, it should include several conversations over time to allow the new hire to fully assimilate to his or her role and to the organisation. Those first few weeks and months on the job are the best time to clarify your company culture and check in to ensure your new hire is fully engaged.
- Leaders live it — True leaders don’t just work on developing a workplace culture, they live in it. Culture comes from the top down and leaders who are immersed in and living the culture use every encounter to deliver and reinforce core messages. Dale Carnegie Training says, “when leaders are consistently open and honest with their communication (regardless of the situation), they will gain credibility, respect, and employee trust while driving employee engagement and contributing to organisational success.”
- What’s your story? — Companies that articulate their story simply and in a way that engages employees provide a guiding beacon of sorts. Here again business leaders who can tell the story – and effectively repeat it – can inspire employees and provide them with a clear connection between the work they do every day and the company’s mission, values and behaviours.
- Find the right match — Culture is about people, and healthy cultures hire candidates who are aligned with their culture, yet add an element of diversity to it. It may sound dichotomous, but studies have shown that homogenous workforces do not perform as well as companies with employees who demonstrate diverse talents and styles. The challenge is identifying candidates who contribute that valuable element of diversity and also have traits that will help them easily assimilate into the culture of the organisation.
- Communicate and repeat — Sustaining a culture is about reinforcing values through repeated communication over time. It pays to use a variety of ways as employees engage in different ways – such as events, corporate blogs, video messages and even old fashioned mailers.
Ensuring that workplace culture ideals stay strong as a business grows and evolves over time has become a competitive imperative. Take time to assess your workplace culture, define it, integrate it into the fabric of your organisation, and tell the story simply and often. You may find that these practices sharpen your competitive edge and make your organisation attractive to the kinds of talent you’re seeking.
Written by: Connect@ADP Team