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Workplace culture: does it really matter? – part 2

When workplace culture is good

You’ll see, hear and feel it right in front of you. People know what their job is, they have the skills to do it well, they take ownership and proactively follow up with corrective action when mistakes are made.

Leaders confidently and effectively deal with their team members’ workplace challenges and aren’t afraid to develop and empower their people.

Everyone’s aware in what direction the business intends to head and each individual can define how their role contributes to company goals. They feel their contribution is recognised and, while each person feels valued as an individual, they also take pride in succeeding as a team.

When it’s not good

You really have to ask?

  • Reduced productivity, product quality and innovation
  • Increased absenteeism
  • High employee turnover

Poor culture: the telltale signs

  • Common workplace phrases: “no”, “we cannot”, “I can’t do that”, “we don’t”, “that won’t work”
  • Consistent conflict, gossip and office politics
  • Prominent “us and them” mentality between employees and managers

What factors influence culture?

  • People: there’s no culture without human interaction so it’s logical to conclude people are the key. And human nature can be complex: individuals can be amazing at work one day and batsh*t the next.
  • Time: workplace culture is ingrained, interrelated and interlocked. The longer your existing team have been together, the greater the change your culture is ingrained.
  • Resistance to change: most of us are creatures of habit. We resist change…especially the type that takes us into the unknown. When a variety of differing emotional and risk averse personalities are involved it’s inevitable there will be those who simply shut down and roadblock any attempt to effect any change in a workplace…cultural or otherwise.

You can do it! The first steps to change

Personally, I link culture change to engagement….improve engagement and a positive workplace culture will follow. When engagement is high, positive attitudes and behaviours at work lead to improved business outcomes in ways that trigger and reinforce one another. This helps counter the interrelated and interlocked nature of resistance to cultural change.

  • Get it right from the start. Recruit for the culture you want…not the culture you have
  • Be clear about your expectations. Give continual feedback about what’s good, what’s bad and how you’ll support staff to deliver.
  • Role-model from the top. If your executive team doesn’t demonstrate your values, no-one else will.
  • Be clear about accountability. Clarity helps to remove noise around decision-making and creates a sense of ownership and responsibility. Ensure each person knows how their work contributes to the “big picture” of the business.
  • Communicate the company direction; especially when change is imminent.
  • Recognise those who contribute to your desired culture. You have someone who keeps your office kitchen clean without being asked? Do something for that person.

Notice anything about the above? Zero cost. Why wouldn’t you give it a shot?

Bare Bones Consulting specialises in tactics and strategies to improve a poor workplace culture or reinforce a positive one already in place. Give us a call for a coffee and see where your business sits across the cultural spectrum. Too busy fixing workplace culture for coffee? Contact us here.

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.