What Executives Need To Know About Workplace Culture

Group of employees happy with their company's workplace culture

With the current record-low unemployment, companies are having more difficulty finding the best talent. The right workplace culture can be a huge selling point.

On the flip side, culture is equally important to retain your best employees. Without a positive workplace culture, companies risk high absence rates, turnover and low retention rates, a lack of innovation, poor customer service scores, low sales, etc.—all of which can lead to profitability issues.

According to David Sturt, Executive Vice President of O.C. Tanner and bestselling author, there are six aspects of culture that people look for in a great place to work.

The Six Important Aspects Of Workplace Culture

Executive talking to his employees about the importance of workplace culture


1. Purpose means connecting employees to your organization's reason for being or the difference you make in the world.

2. Opportunity means providing employees the ability to learn new skills, develop, and contribute.

3. Success means giving employees the opportunity to innovate, do meaningful work, and be on winning teams.

4. Appreciation means acknowledging and recognizing employees' outstanding work and unique contributions.

5. Well-being means paying attention to and constantly working to improve employees' physical, social, emotional, and financial health.

6. Leadership means connecting employees to purpose, empowering them to do great work, and creating a sense of camaraderie.

Assessing Your Company's Workplace Culture

Employees working for a company with great workplace culture


Here's a brief self-assessment to help you understand your situation:

Do your employees have a clear understanding of what your organization's purpose, mission, and values are?

  • If not, build a communication plan for constant reinforcement that includes communication vehicles such as your website, regular emails, blogs from leaders and employees, signage throughout your offices, etc. Make sure this is the introductory section of your onboarding.

Would your employees say they learned something new on the job in the past year?

  • If you cannot provide in-house development, provide an allowance per employee to learn new skills, both hard and soft, from external sources.

What are your leaders doing to help their team members?

Does your leadership acknowledge good work?

  • If not, they should be offering detailed feedback, not just a pat on the back, and they should be asking what it will take to repeat that success.

Do you offer well-rounded programs that meet all facets of your employees' health?

  • The one that is most often missed is their financial well-being. Offer classes through an external source or an allowance to provide this education.

Do your leaders truly know and understand what work their employees are doing, supporting them along the way, and know their strengths?

  • Leaders should meet with each of their team members one-on-one for 15 minutes each week. This should be their time. Your team members are your priority.

What Executives Need To Know About Workplace Culture

The self-assessment above is a good place to start. If your culture is contributing to any of the risks mentioned in the opening above, a deeper assessment, such as a SWOT analysis might be in order.

From there, a strategic plan can be developed and the work can begin on improving your culture and ultimately, your organization's performance. Build a task force of employees from all levels to assist with this, gain their buy-in, and have them become ambassadors for the changes that will be coming.

Keeping employee involvement, looking for opportunities to innovate, and focusing on continuous improvement will ensure that your organization is truly seen as a great place to work!

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