What is the Workplace Environment and Why is it Important?
Company Values, Teamwork, and Camaraderie
Modern businesses are often encouraged to consider the values they represent and the impact these have on the working environment employees experience.
This is more than just a marketing exercise as if you approach it in the right way it can have a positive, tangible impact on an entire organization.
Let’s look at what company culture means today, what you can do to build a business that supports its employees, and why this matters.
The Cause of Company Culture Wars
As the job market has gotten more competitive and businesses are having to fight for the top talent, taking company culture seriously has become a priority.
This is not just about employee retention, although clearly, this is a factor. It is also about how your business and brand are perceived more broadly.
Part of the reason for this is that it has never been easier for prospective employees or customers to check up on the values a business extols and whether these match with the working environment within.
For example, anyone can use JobSage’s employer reviews to see whether a company that claims to be inclusive and purposeful actually lives up to expectations according to those who work there.
Thus company culture has to mean more than just the words on a job ad, a marketing prospectus, or the product packaging. It must be the embodiment of values that are upheld internally, and which benefit everyone, from interns to the CEO.
Disingenuousness will be sniffed out, and moreover, if your culture is toxic, productivity and profitability will suffer. So a positive, progressive working environment will be conducive to both employee satisfaction as well as to improved performance.
1. The Role of Clarity
When it comes to putting together the tenets that will underpin the working environment in your business, ambiguity is the enemy.
Instead, you need to be clear as well as concise as you set down your values. This will make them easier to explain, as well as simpler to adhere to.
Documenting these values, whatever they might be, is part of this process. This will give you a point of reference for all sorts of other purposes, and also act as a touchstone for employee conduct, among other things.
2. The Impact of Individuality
Within the discussion around brand values and company culture, there has to be room for the aims, ambitions, and personality quirks of individuals. Not every employee can be expected to fit into the same mold, and this can be detrimental to entire teams if complete cohesion is expected of members.
Take, for example, the social side of building successful teams. Lots of experts recommend factoring in activities and get-togethers outside of a work context to help people gel and find that all-important camaraderie.
While such events are undeniably useful in this regard, they may also be a point of anxiety and exclusion for certain individuals if their needs are not taken into account at the organizational stage.
As such, if your business has values of inclusivity and equality, then these must be the bedrock of all that you are and all that you do, no matter the scenario. And it is only by thinking them through from the perspective of individuals, rather than seeing employees as a unified collective, that you can connect with people from across the personality spectrum.
3. The Dilemma of Diversity
If you truly want to make your workplace an environment that is attractive to everyone, then you need to think about diversity more broadly, which follows on neatly from the idea of considering the needs of individuals.
There is a sense that finding people who are the ‘right fit for your culture could actually leave your workforce looking pretty undiverse. This issue could fall along with all sorts of lines, whether that might be age, race, gender, class, or anything else for that matter.
Once again, if you want to look at it from the point of view of achieving success for your company, then the fact that diversity delivers better profitability should shape your outlook on this particular topic.
Teamwork is not easier to achieve, nor innovations quicker to unlock, if everyone involved in a project looks the same, has the same background, or shares the same interests.
Collaboration and camaraderie can exist in diverse workplaces, and achieve improved performance for the organization as a whole. So if inclusivity is really something you want to strive for, put it front and center on your list of values and reap the benefits.
4. The Importance of Equality
In the case of enhancing the working environment and both attracting and retaining talented employees, equality is about the expectations placed on team members and how they apply throughout the chain of command.
Business leaders need to hold themselves to the same standards as they set for their employees. This applies to their conduct in the office as well as their performance. Hierarchies can still be maintained without the need for senior team members to throw their weight around and intimidate more junior employees.
Company values are fed down from the upper echelons of an organization, and so one bad apple high up the food chain can infect all those below. Likewise, if a manager is an exemplar of the positive culture you hope to create, then this will flow into others who work alongside them.
Implementing the values you choose for your business is not always a cakewalk. Indeed the culture of a company has to be scrutinized and revised if something isn’t working, so flexibility must also be in your toolkit.
A good way to find fixes for whatever problems your organization is facing right now is to look at how competitors are tackling the topic of the workplace environment and company culture.
Whether you borrow some of their successful strategies or learn from their mistakes, exploring the wider marketplace rather than solely focusing your attention internally is wise.