Why workplace culture Is so important

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Devin Miller
November 7, 2022

A positive workplace culture improves employee engagement, satisfaction, productivity, and retention, leading to a better business

Workplace culture can make or break an employee’s experience. When a worker feels accepted, appreciated, and challenged, they’re more likely to be engaged and satisfied. But if they feel isolated and unrecognized, they could  start feeling pessimistic about their job and the company and may start looking for work elsewhere.

Unfortunately, one in four employees dreads going to work, a study from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) found. Many employers simply aren’t giving company culture the attention it deserves. There’s a strong correlation between workplace culture, employee engagement, productivity, and retention, so companies need to start prioritizing their culture.

What do we mean by workplace culture?

It’s not always easy to define a company’s culture, but it often goes hand-in-hand with identifying core values and principles that drive the organization and its mission. 

Think of workplace culture as the personality and general atmosphere of the company. Culture is driven by what makes you unique. It represents the company’s ideals, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes.

But what does a great culture look like? Here are common characteristics that a company is doing workplace culture right:

  • An open communication strategy throughout the organization, from top to bottom, that’s guided by transparency and consistency
  • Plans in place for rewarding and recognizing employees, such as bonuses, points systems, or appreciation initiatives
  • Opportunities for employees to move up and grow with the company
  • A strong sense of purpose and collective recognition of core values and principles
  • A sense of safety, respect, and inclusion from all employees

The goal for any employer should be to facilitate a welcoming, comfortable workplace where people want to be. Positive culture keeps people engaged and satisfied with their role within the larger purpose.

Poor workplace culture and employee turnover

Turnover is one of the biggest issues employers face, especially when the job market favors employees. According to the 2022 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual turnover rate across industries is 47%, accounting for both voluntary and involuntary turnover. 

Losing team members has consequences like:

  • High costs to replace an employee: Losing one employee can cost as much as 1.5 to 2 times their salary. There are recruitment and hiring costs to consider, as well as the cost of an empty role.
  • Loss of team cohesion and morale: Teamwork suffers when no one sticks around.
  • Poor company culture: Lots of empty chairs and exiting staff can create negative feelings about the company.
  • Poor company reputation: Job seekers may view all the open positions as a bad sign.

Employee turnover is impossible to avoid completely. But when the turnover rate increases significantly, something is probably going on with workplace culture. In fact, a toxic company culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to employee attrition than poor compensation. The same SHRM data referenced above found that one in five workers have looked for a new job because of workplace culture.

Instead of prioritizing employees, companies with toxic cultures don’t prioritize diversity and inclusion, show respect for workers, create engagement initiatives, or lead from a set of values.

How to improve company culture

Improving workplace culture is a must for reducing turnover, increasing engagement and productivity, and keeping the business on a path to growth. But how do you do it effectively? It starts with these key areas of focus:

Developing diversity and inclusion initiatives

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a buzzword in the workplace. But it should be much more than an acronym that makes your company sound good. Putting deliberate, detailed practices in place is essential to creating a positive space where people want to work. It’s centered around embracing diverse perspectives, being inclusive in everything from hiring to event planning, and ensuring that all employees have access to the same resources and opportunities. 

Implementing DEI policies, creating new opportunities for mentorships, and ensuring leadership is involved are good places to start with DEI.

Creating opportunities for growth

Pew Research found that in 2021, one of the top three reasons people quit their jobs was a lack of advancement opportunities. Employees will be unengaged and unsatisfied if they’re not able to move forward on their career paths. They’ll eventually leave.

Make it a priority to meet with employees to understand their goals for the future. Provide tuition support options so people can continue their education. Give people professional development opportunities outside of the workplace. Recognize the amazing talent you already have and prioritize promoting from within.

Aligning culture with core values

Identifying clear core values is the first step. But once you know what drives the organization, it’s time to share it with the team on a regular basis. Make sure everyone knows the company’s values and vision. Talk about them in meetings and company communications. Set expectations for behavior that align with these values. Be transparent about how leadership follows company principles.

For example, discuss the perils of discrimination and disrespect in the workplace, emphasizing that certain words and actions won’t be tolerated. When everyone is aligned on the importance of respect and a clear set of values, you’ll create a better place for people to work. 

Recognizing employees

A culture of recognition leads to a more productive workplace. If an employee did a fantastic job, let them know. Tell them in person or over email, or build it into meetings. Recognize them at a company gathering. Praise means a lot to employees, and it makes them feel like what they’re doing matters. 

If your budget allows, try creating a rewards system where people can earn something great for hitting a target. Hold an employee appreciation day where you buy everyone lunch or plan a special outing. Showing your employees a little appreciation can go a long way.

Providing better benefits

Today’s employees want flexibility and more comprehensive benefits packages. On top of offering part-time remote work or more flexible scheduling, get creative with the perks you provide. 

One way to please your people is to support them with financial benefits, like an employer-sponsored emergency savings account. Many Americans can’t afford an unexpected expense, like an unexpected medical bill or home repair. Show them you care by supporting them in creating a backup fund in case something happens. 

SecureSave makes it easy. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you boost workplace culture with our simple emergency savings solution.

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Devin Miller

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