Total Business Magazine

Here’s Why Workplace Culture is Crucial to Business Success

Workplace culture has become a common phrase in boardrooms as companies look to mimic the success of companies with high-profile cultures like Google and Asana. These organisations share a crucial trait: they know that in a highly competitive marketplace, culture can provide an advantage.

But maintaining a strong workplace culture is not just for tech giants: every company’s bottom line is dramatically affected by its ability to attract and retain high-calibre employees, and boost organisational performance. Below Thomas Davies, CEO and Founder of Temporall, explains for Total Business.

For business owners, company directors and entrepreneurs, maintaining a strong workplace culture has never been more important. But workplace culture is often misunderstood, and is still sometimes dismissed as fluffy, gimmicky and something that is unmeasurable and intangible. So what actually is it, and why is it so important?

Demystifying workplace culture

Workplace culture is best defined as the values, behaviours, processes and systems in an organisation that define how real work happens.  Although the company’s values, mission and ideal culture will be defined by the leadership team, it’s how these play out in the day-to-day behaviours of employees that really shapes what the workplace culture is and the impact it has.

For organisations to meet the disruptive challenges they face today, they need a coordinated response from the whole company ecosystem. To be successful, the company’s culture must be able to adapt to new threats and support the business’ strategic goals. This can mean everyone from entry level to the top team needs a change in mindset.

So, culture isn’t about gimmicks or short-term motivation boosters like beanbags and free food. A good workplace culture which is aligned to business strategy has a significant impact on company performance and will also produce high levels of employee engagement and retention.

A good workplace culture which is aligned to business strategy has a significant impact on company performance and will also produce high levels of employee engagement and retention.

The evolution of workplace culture tools

It is not just the focus on workplace culture that has grown in recent years. The products and tools to track, measure and, ultimately, improve culture, have evolved too.

Ten years ago, the extent of many businesses’ understanding of their cultural health was employee engagement and satisfaction scores from paper-based annual surveys. This kind of survey is now nearly obsolete: employees don’t like them and their insight is limited and time-bound. ‘Survey fatigue’ is so common that using this method risks representing the business as slow, inefficient and failing to understand what employees want.

But new Culture Analytics tools mean measuring and understanding culture and its impact is now easier than ever, and can give business leaders real-time data and insight into the sentiment behind what people think, not just a crude score.

The future of culture: analytics

Culture Analytics is technology which can track and understand what an organisation’s culture is and what impact it has. These cutting-edge tools gather complex data about every element of company culture and turn it into insight that helps leaders take informed action. It makes it possible to answer questions such as:

  • Is our culture evolving to support the strategic choices we are making?
  • Which members of staff have the most social capital, and why?
  • Do our staff understand what our values are?

It also means that culture can now be measured so accurately that it could become the latest KPI, and can even use artificial intelligence to predict future trends in the business.

Stuart Simms, CEO of Rakuten Marketing, is an early adopter of this kind of technology, describing it as a cornerstone of managing change. He says: “Culture Analytics helped us transform our business. Historically we didn’t ask the right questions and they weren’t backed up by behavioural analysis and psychometrics. It was just a basic score for employees. Now we ask the right questions, but more importantly we have the right tools to analyse and truly understand that data.”

Any business that can couple an astute strategic direction with a great culture is on course for success. Employees will know what they’re aiming towards and why, feel trusted to go and make it happen, and be highly motivated to go and achieve it. That kind of business environment can’t help but launch an organisation to success.

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