Ideas to Improve Workplace Culture

So you’re looking to improve your workplace culture? Look no further! Discover practical strategies for leaders, HR pros, and anyone passionate about creating a better work environment. Let's turn our workplaces into hubs of enthusiasm, innovation and shared purpose. Join us in unlocking the magic of a thriving workplace culture. Let's dive in!

Ideas to improve workplace culture.

Let’s start at the very beginning...

What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture is the unique personality of an organisation, the unwritten rules, values, beliefs, and behaviours that define the environment in which employees work. It's the collective "vibe" that shapes how people interact, make decisions, and carry out their daily tasks. Think of it as the DNA of your workplace, influencing everything from employee morale to overall performance.

We have a whole blog explaining what workplace culture is in more detail, so you can dive into the nitty gritty.

Why Should You Improve Workplace Culture?

There are as many reasons to improve your workplace culture as there are individuals in your organisation! We truly believe that your people are your biggest asset and doing right by them is the biggest and best investment you can make in your organisation.

But here are a few more reasons in case you need them:

  1. Improved Performance

  2. Increased Productivity

  3. Boosted Retention

  4. Easier Recruitment

5. Positive impact on your bottom line

There’s plenty of data and research to back this up, which is why we created our business case for Happiness!

What can be leveraged to improve workplace culture?

If you look online you’ll find thousands of results telling you hundreds of different factors that impact workplace culture.

We simplify things by using a neuroscience-backed methodology that shows us the eight most important areas that influence workplace culture. These are:

  1. Safety - how physically and emotionally safe people feel

  2. Relationships - the kinds of relationships people have with their peers and leadership

  3. Freedom - how accepted people feel

  4. Acknowledgement - how individuals are listened to and valued

  5. Meaning and Purpose - an organisation’s vision and values and how they align

  6. Clarity - how information is shared and disseminated in an organisation

  7. Personal Growth - how individuals are encouraged to grow and flourish

  8. Enablement - the workload people are expected to take on and the resources available to complete this.

If you want to dive deeper into the science behind our model we’ve shared lots more about the neuroscience we use.

Who’s responsible for improving workplace culture?

We believe that ultimately everyone in an organisation should improve their workplace culture together.

While those in HR or Leadership positions should steer the ship, it’s a team activity. Success can only be achieved when everyone is able to input into the project. Understanding how everyone sees your culture and the role they play in upholding it is vital.

We’ve written about who builds organisational culture and what levers they can pull, if you’re looking for a more detailed explanation.

10 ideas for how to improve workplace culture

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to improving your workplace culture. This is because a “good” workplace culture for one person really wouldn’t suit another person. This means improving workplace culture is hard. But not impossible! Read on for our tips…

  1. Understand Your Current Culture
    It’s really important to understand your current culture and what your strengths and weaknesses are. This is where our Cultural Assessment comes into play. It allows you to not only understand how your team sees your culture, but also benchmark this against other organisations.

  2. Find Out What Your People Need And Want
    Your culture needs to work for your people. This means talking to every individual within your organisation and understanding what people want and need. You can then begin to understand what changes can be made to support a culture that will work for your organisation.

  3. Recognise The Importance Of Diversity
    Diversity is a key pillar in every organisation’s workplace culture. It’s important to balance the needs of people of different races, backgrounds, abilities and also a diversity of opinion. This will help you to create a workplace that supports a wide variety of individuals within your organisation.

  4. Take A Multi-Pronged Approach
    Improving one area of your workplace culture won’t have as big of an impact as understanding all eight drivers of workplace culture. Even if you’re not able to improve all of the areas at once, you’ll need to have an understanding of the impact changes in one area might have on another.

  5. Focus on Information Flow
    An area that is often neglected when it comes to organisational culture is communication. It’s really important to share why changes are being made, what’s changing, and when the impacts will be seen. Then you need to listen to your people to ensure that you’re getting the desired results.

  6. Think Holistically
    Imagine you’re trying to hire more diverse staff but don’t have the physical infrastructure in place to support wheelchair users or deaf colleagues once they join. Or you want to improve work-life balance but don’t include a generous holiday benefit within your rewards package. You need to think about cultural improvement holistically including all your policies, your physical environment and so on.

  7. Lead by Example
    If you want to create a workplace culture where openness is encouraged but your leadership team don’t communicate with wider employees, you might struggle. Similarly, leadership will need to model taking holidays, answering emails promptly, making eco-friendly choices or whatever other behaviours and values you want to build into your workplace culture.

  8. Dedicate Resource
    The biggest tip we can give you is that improving workplace culture doesn’t come for free. Ring-fencing time, resources and budget is key to creating lasting change. This will help you to understand what’s feasible and also deliver on the promise of your culture programme.

  9. Share Resources In Multiple Places
    We’ve worked with a lot of organisations to improve their workplace culture. One thing we find time and time again is that people always ask for things that already exist. Sharing benefits, programmes and resources in multiple places at multiple times will improve your team’s understanding of your culture and their ability to uphold their end of the bargain.

  10. Banish Toxic Positivity
    One problem we come across with organisations working to improve their company culture is that they want everyone to be happy all the time. That’s just not possible. It’s really important to understand that not everyone is going to love your culture all the time. Trying to please everyone will confuse your culture. This won’t help deliver results for your organisation or your people.

How to measure improvements in workplace culture

You won’t know whether you’ve improved your workplace culture if you’ve not got a way of measuring your success. Cultural measurement isn’t a one-and-done exercise, so it’s really important to do this on an ongoing basis.

There are a couple of ways we recommend to measure your workplace culture:

  • In-depth Cultural Analysis - this will give you a good way to benchmark your culture and understand improvements. You can then use the outputs from this activity to inform your cultural improvement program.

  • Ongoing Employee Listening - always-on listening will allow you to be much more responsive and understand what impact changes are having in real-time.

Want to learn more about building a thriving workplace culture? Why not download our comprehensive guide?

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Linked to Happiness & Engagement in our neuroscience methodology... learn more

Recommended reading

Culture Playbook

Building a Thriving Culture in a Remote First World

Can You Have a Global Workplace Culture?

About The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.

Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.


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