Workplace culture is like a plant – it needs watering and nurturing to grow. It isn’t stagnant – it is ever changing. Many people talk and write about maintaining a healthy work culture, but in actuality we should be helping it to grow and change.
Over the past three years many workplace cultures have had to adapt to remote and hybrid work. A healthy culture is able to adapt to change. It maintains the core values of the organization but is able to change the way it upholds those values.
Through all of the changes to the work environment, five core elements of a healthy culture will always persist. The way we achieve them might change, but the core elements remain:
- Employee Voice
Recognition makes team members feel supported and part of a greater whole and is a key contributor to employee engagement. A healthy culture gives recognition on a consistent basis – not just on momentous occasions. Leaders should be sure to give recognition when an employee’s action reinforces the organization’s core values.
A healthy culture builds off of the organization’s core values. The core values should be simply stated, easy to understand, and exhibited in the actions of all leaders and managers on a daily basis. Core values are not “set it and forget it.” They need to be consistently upheld and displayed in the actions of all employees, from the top down.
Encourage and accept feedback from employees. When employees feel safe and trusted at work, they will be willing to speak up, and it’s up to leadership to provide that safe environment. Managers should encourage employees to speak up and take their feedback seriously. It’s also important to provide room for anonymous feedback such as pulse surveys. Leadership should consistently review employee feedback and work to make changes where necessary. When employees know their feedback is taken seriously, they will continue to share.
One consistent theme of all of these elements is leadership. Managers account for 70% of employee engagement. As they say, employees leave managers – not companies. Leaders should act as examples for employees.
A feeling of belonging includes making employees feel welcomed, known, included, supported, and connected. This is achieved through effective onboarding, prioritizing DEI, offering employee resource groups (ERGs), empowering employees, and providing a psychologically safe work environment.
As you nurture your culture to evolve with the changing workforce and workplace, look to your core values as a starting point. How have your core values helped your culture evolve? Email me at [email protected].