What is Workplace Culture?

Workplace culture often comes up in HR circles, but it’s one of those terms that can be used in lots of different ways. At The Happiness Index, we have a pretty clear idea of what we mean by workplace culture. So we wanted to share our definition with you.

What is workplace culture?

What DON’T we Mean by Workplace Culture?



For us at THI workplace culture is not:

  • Drinks after work on a Friday

  • Bean bags and fake grass in the communal areas

  • A table tennis set up in reception


But all of these things can be part of a wider workplace culture strategy. Let’s talk about how!


What is Workplace Culture For The Happiness Index?



For us, culture isn’t just top down. It’s really important for you to define a lot of what culture is through your HR policies and leadership practices. But another important aspect is that your people build your culture from the bottom up. The individuals that make up your team will go a long way to defining and building your workplace culture. 


An important thing to remember is that the word culture comes from the word colere, meaning to grow. We love this because not only do we think culture is vital to growing a sustainable organisation, but also we know it’s super important that your culture grows with you. 


Although we encourage codifying your culture in your policies, practices and vision and values, that doesn’t mean they should be unchanging. Instead we encourage you to listen to your team, and align your culture, practices and policies with their needs as well as the changing requirements of your organisation. 


What Does Neuroscience Tell us About Workplace Culture?


Everything we do at The Happiness Index comes back to our Neuroscience model. We have identified 8 key neuroscience themes that lead to happy and engaged employees. Building these into your workplace culture will ensure a culture that works for everyone - from your team to your bottom line. 


When consciously building your workplace culture, it will be important to consider each of the 8 key neuroscience themes in turn. How will you build and maintain safety, relationships, freedom and acknowledgement to help your team be happy? How will you encourage engagement through building meaning and purpose, clarity, personal growth and enablement into your culture? 


Understanding the neuroscience behind how your people think, feel and behave will help you to build a positive workplace culture. 


What Are The Benefits of a Focus on Workplace Culture


We love a stat here at THI, so we thought we’d share a couple of our favourite around the importance of workplace culture. We already know the importance of building a happy and engaged workplace, but here are some bonus facts:


  • 79% of finance leaders said investors want more insight into culture - Accounting Weekly

  • 66% of employees wanted to know about a company’s culture and values above all else when considering changing jobs - LinkedIn

  • 56% of employees say company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction - Glassdoor

  • 82% believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage - Deloitte

  • Receiving a ‘Best Place to Work’ award leads to a 0.75% increase in a company’s stock price - Glassdoor


What Does it Mean to Measure Workplace Culture?


It might feel counterintuitive to try to measure workplace culture. This is because the way lots of people talk about it, it’s an imperceptible delicate organism. However, once you start thinking about culture more concretely - putting policies and vision in place and backing it all with neuroscience - suddenly it’s a lot easier to measure.


That’s where our platform comes in! We allow you to measure each of the neuroscience areas individually, within our Cultural Assessment. With in depth dashboards and benchmarking, you can compare your organisation to others but also to yourself over time. We also enable you to dive deeper into individual neuroscience areas using our Neuroscience Theme surveys, which give you even more data to improve specific areas of your culture. 

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

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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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