How do you build a great workplace culture?

The health of the workplace culture and the impact it has on behaviour at both individual and organisational levels is not always understood.

Understanding differences in belief systems, attitudes, perceptions and motivations of your workforce is a key starting point in implementing a positive workplace culture.

In all businesses the purpose of developing a positive and inclusive culture should always be to grow a better business. Aligning the profitability of the business with this purpose reinforces a business culture where people are treated with dignity and respect.

Happy structured workplaces are invariably more productive, so putting effort into developing a culture that supports staff to enjoy their work and feel an important part of the business success is a good business decision.

Finding the balance

The challenge for many business owners is balancing the financial need to make hard business decisions with the humanitarian need to treat staff with respect.

Sometimes the stress and strain of keeping your business viable comes into conflict with the desire to deal respectfully with the human foibles within every workplace.

So what does a positive workplace culture look like?

Like everything else in business, it can be very simple, so we have broken it down into four steps.

1. Have a forum for people to say what they need, whenever they need to and to whomever, without fear or favour.

2. Listen with your heart as well as your ears. This way you will hear not only the words being said but also to the underlying request, which might just be the need to get something out in the open.

3. Be completely open, non-judgemental and honest in dealing with issues and to respond accordingly.

4. Recognise effort, give praise and credit accordingly and reward appropriately.

Ultimately businesses have to be profitable to pass on the benefits to clients, staff and shareholders. Dealing with workplace issues in a structured, respectful and truthful way allows us to focus clearly on business outcomes, rather than workplace distractions.

What value do you place on understanding and working with the underlying culture in your workplace?