When we talk about aspects of what makes an organization a good place to work, the primary factors most of us take into account are brand value of the organization and compensation paid to employees. Most managers and senior professionals intend to believe that these two elements are sufficient to attract talent to their organizations. However, one of the most important things that we often fail to give due importance to is the work culture, which often plays a deciding role in retaining and binding people to an organization.
Much like character – good or bad -- defines a human being; work culture is what defines an organization. Work culture is an intangible eco-system that makes some places great to work and other places toxic. It might be invisible, yet it is all pervading and reflects clearly in each individual. Essentially, it is a reflection of the values and norms that are followed at a workplace and define its personality. In a nutshell, the ideology of an organization is what constitutes its work culture. It affects or defines the ability of the leadership and employees to relate to each other for the common good of the organization and operate within a mutually agreed and acceptable boundary of cultural values and emotional interface.
It is widely understood that a positive ambience can make or mar your performance, be it school, college or workplace. No matter how talented and smart you are, you can work to the best of your capabilities and creative skills when you are surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource. This is why work culture is so important in bringing out the best from your employees even in adverse circumstances. Negativity not only kills creativity and will to perform but also does not allow an employee to develop a sense of affection and ownership with the organization. Human beings are fundamentally simple and a positive work environment impacts the way they think, act and reflect.
Let’s dissect why it’s important to build a good working culture:
Workplace is where you spend more than one-third of your lives. Naturally, if your employee is happy and content at work, it will reflect in his overall personality and growth as a human being. The collective impact of a good work environment is much more than increased productivity and employee satisfaction. The impact is on the overall personality of people who work for the organization.
Can you be loyal to a workplace if you hate it?
Do your employees wake up every day and look forward to a day of work or do they drag themselves to the workplace counting days to the weekend? Do they feel the same ownership and dedication towards the organization as you do? Only a place that values human resource, treats employees with trust and instills a sense of confidence and cohesion among the workers can achieve the former.
Employee incentives and appraisals might not always be enough to motivate an employee to work for the best outcome for an organization. Sometimes in extremely challenging circumstances when a collective endeavor is required to save the day for the organization, it is the love and affection employees feel towards their workplace that turns out to be a decisive factor. An organization whose employees have a deep sense of loyalty and ownership towards their workplace is an organization that has a long way to go. . An employee who loves his/her organization will spread the goodwill and will be instrumental in attracting good human resource to the organization.
Good work culture is key to retention
A study conducted by Dale Carnegie Training a few years back concluded that an alarming 54 per cent of Indian employees were somewhat dissatisfied with their jobs, sending out a strong signal that organizations need to initiate proactive measures to sustain engagement and improve satisfaction. Contrary to common belief, compensation and appraisals are not the only factors that bind employees to an organization for a longer duration. Whether the employee feels happy and satisfied in his/her work space is another crucial determinant. A dissatisfied employee who feels haggled by the daily questioning and accusations by seniors, and backbiting by colleagues will be the first one to look out for another job opportunity, even if he/she is being compensated well.
Apart from encouraging seniors and supportive colleagues, other factors that make an organization a good place to work include respect for employees’ private space (that is displayed by a policy of not disturbing them on off days unless absolutely urgent), respecting their right to avail leaves, and encouraging them to take up new challenges and opportunities at work. Work culture is important for the organization as it directly impacts the ability to attract and retain talent. A positive workplace is reflected in the positive work relationships which exist at the work place; the concern and genuine care for each other. A positive workplace will have a higher degree of employee engagement - as employees respond positively and actively to organizational initiatives. A negative work place will be reflected in low energy and detached work environment with employees operating in insulated silos.
A good workplace is where employees watch each others' back
Much like a compatible spouse makes your family life happy or dissatisfied, good colleagues make your work life endearing or difficult. While to some degree the behavior of employees towards each other depends upon their individual nature and characteristics, a lot of it is defined by how the organization shapes them up. A new employee who enters an organization and watches a culture of cohesion among workers, where all employees help each other, will automatically imbibe these values in his/her daily life. On the contrary, an organization where back-stabbing and squabbling is the norm, any new employee will adapt to these traits. A good work culture is one which encourages employees to behave like a family and watch each others’ back. This culture can only be built by pursuing ethical role modelling values and walking the talk. The onus lies on the leadership as their behavior gets magnified and replicated many times over. Showcasing and rewarding positive behavior reinforces the intended behavior and directly influences the culture of the workplace.
Good work culture attracts talent
Not only does a good work culture helps retain the organization’s well-trained and experienced human resource, it also helps attract new talent. In today’s connected industry space, it is not difficult to know the internal working environment of any organization. The most vocal and credible ambassadors of the same are current and ex-employees. A happy employee will spread around the word very effectively and be instrumental in attracting talent to the organization. People today are constantly looking for change and new opportunities in search of a happy, satisfied and balanced work life.