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How to build a work culture that your team loves!

I was scrolling through the Instagram when I saw this meme. At first, it was funny and I even smiled, but then the psychologist in me got concerned over the sheer impact toxic culture can have on people’s wellbeing.


And let's face it, we've all seen the memes about toxic work culture. The soul-crushing micromanagement, the endless meetings that could have been emails, the feeling that you're just a cog in a machine. But have you ever stopped to think about how important work culture really is?


We spend a lot of time at work. It's not just where we go to pay the bills; it's a huge part of our lives. And just like any other environment we spend a lot of time in, the culture of our workplace can have a profound impact on us.


But first, what is work culture anyway?


Well, it's not just about free snacks and casual Fridays. It's the system, the unwritten rules, the collective personality of your workplace. It's the air you breathe from 9 to 5 (or let's be real, probably 8 to 6).


A positive work culture is one where people feel respected, valued, and supported.It's a place where people feel comfortable being themselves and where they're encouraged to grow and learn.


Why is culture important? I will give you 3 quick reasons backed by data and research!


Happy workers are productive workers:


An extensive study into happiness and productivity has found that workers are 13% more productive when happy. (University of Oxford, n.d.) Further, the researchers found that happy workers do not work more hours than their discontented colleagues – they are simply more productive within their time at work. (Bellet et al., 2019)


Toxic workplaces can lead to health problems:


Studies like Rasool et al. (2021) proposes that there is a significant negative relationship between toxic work environment and employees’ physical and psychological health, both of which share a strong connection with the work engagement and overall organizational productivity.


Good culture attracts and retains talent:


Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey of 2019 found that over 77% of adults across different countries would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, and 79% would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying.


So, how do you create a positive work culture? Here are some tips:


Virtual Watercooler: Create a virtual space, such as a Slack channel or dedicated video call, where employees can gather for informal conversations, share memes, or discuss non-work-related topics. This fosters connections and strengthens team bonds, especially in remote or hybrid work environments. Donut is great tool you can use to facilitate this.


Weekly Gratitude Emails: Encourage leaders to send out weekly emails highlighting team accomplishments, recognizing individual contributions, and expressing gratitude for hard work. This boosts morale and fosters a culture of appreciation. Some of the tools to facilitate this seamlessly include Letter Loop, Beehiiv and Story Chief.


Give meaning not just Salary: A study by culture.io revealed that the employees priortise these questions over salary- “How will work add meaning to my life”? “How will work make me feel connected to something bigger than myself”? “Will work make me feel whole”? Failing to address this question lead to increased burnout, record-high quit rates, and low engagement numbers. This can be done through clearly articulating the organization's mission, vision, and values and reinforcing it continuously through events. Further, organization’s can help employees understand how their roles contribute to these broader goals through one-to-one sessions or group activities, making their work feel meaningful and impactful.


Create an employee journey: Being intentional about every stage of an employee's journey within your organization is essential for cultivating a robust and enduring culture. From attracting top talent to retaining them, each step should be structured and well articulated that can be clearly measured. Here's a template to guide you: (Culture Partners, n.d.)

● Attract top talent through________________

● Recruit the right talent by _______________

● Successful onboarding is ________________

● Ongoing learning and development is achieved by ____________

● Rewards and recognition will look like_____________

● Progression and performance will be measured with____________

● Retention of a good employee exit looks like ___________


CONCLUSION


If company leaders are serious about improving outcomes, they should start by strengthening their company culture. Being a culture-first leader means creating an environment where people can do their best instead of constantly telling them what to do.


At the end, let’s remember that culture isn't just something written in a handbook—it's created in the small moments, the daily interactions, and the genuine care we show for our teammates. People’s professional journey isn't just about the tasks they complete or the deadlines they meet; it's about the colleagues who become friends, work that becomes projects and managers who become mentors.


If you want to get started with therapy and experience what it is like you can visit www.youremotionalwellbeing.org and start your therapy journey.


REFERENCES


Bellet, C., De Neve, J.-E., & Ward, G. (2019). Does Employee Happiness Have an Impact on Productivity? SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3470734

Happy workers are 13% more productive. University of Oxford. (n.d.). https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2019-10-24-happy-workers-are-13-more-productive

Rasool, S. F., Wang, M., Tang, M., Saeed, A., & Iqbal, J. (2021). How Toxic Workplace Environment Effects the Employee Engagement: The Mediating Role of Organizational Support and Employee Wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, Article 2294. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052294

New survey: Company mission & culture matter more than compensation ... (n.d.). https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/mission-culture-survey/

Partners, C. (n.d.). Uncovering Key Factors That Determine Culture Strength (Research Report). Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://info.culture.io/hubfs/CulturePartners_ResearchSeries_CultureStrength.pdf


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Ever thought about why some offices feel like a never-ending Monday while others are like a fun Friday? In this blog, I will explore the secret sauce to building a work culture where employees are at their best self.


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23% of job seekers said that “company values and culture” has the most influence over whether they decide to accept a job offer (According to 2022 Survey of Job seekers).

In today’s evolving world, companies need to give something more than salary to get the best talent. Wondering what that ‘something’ is? Click on the link in bio.


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“You can have all the right strategies in the world; if you don't have the right culture, you're dead”- Patrick Whitesell

In this blog, I have explored what a positive work culture looks like and actionable tips to make your team fall in love with their work.


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The question that most companies need to ask themselves is “how can I build an environment for people where they can be their best possible self”.

My new blog is for companies asking the right questions.


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