We talk a lot about the impact of workplace culture on businesses of every size. But what exactly is the meaning of workplace culture? Without a solid working definition, it can be tough for businesses to understand how to take an active approach with their culture.
Workplace culture is a lot like an iceberg: what you often see is only about 10% of what’s really happening. Underneath the surface expressions of workplace culture — which can include high morale, a collaborative atmosphere, mentorships, and recreational employee programs — there are bigger forces at work. We believe workplace culture is defined as the sum total of a company’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. In other words, company culture is the overall character of a business as defined by the way it treats its employees.
Whether your business focuses on workplace culture or not, your company has one. If it’s something you’ve never focused on, you might not have a strong sense of how your own company culture works. The way to figure this out is to talk to the people who work for you. When there is little or no focus on workplace culture, the result is usually disengaged employees, higher stress levels, and lower levels of loyalty. And these effects of negative company culture can have huge impacts on your bottom line.
For example, it’s estimated that healthcare expenditures are 50% higher at high pressure organizations. Likewise, disengagement leads to a 37% higher absentee rate, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects.
On the other hand, the positive workplace culture impact in businesses where the management makes actively focuses on culture can be astounding. Diving deep and taking stock of the full iceberg can help you improve the morale of your employees, make them feel more engaged, and lead to better returns for your business.
Improving workplace culture starts with a solid assessment of where you are currently at. You need to know what you’re doing well and what you could be doing better before you start taking steps to change your company culture. Get feedback from people at every level of your organization to help determine what kind of beliefs, attitudes, and values will benefit your business and every person who is a part of it.