6 Key Aspects of Workplace Culture

How these factors impact your performance

(Image: Thinkstock)

(Image: Thinkstock)

Just like American culture, workplace culture is comprised of key factors that include a shared set of beliefs, customs, values, behavior, and goals that are characteristic of the organization. These factors, if unchecked, can damage brand equity and negatively impact employee performance.

The correlation between employee performance and workplace culture is significant. Why is that?

An employee’s efforts, productivity, quality of life, and ultimate contributions to the bottom line are all directly influenced by workplace culture.

A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that a mere 13% of employees globally are actively engaged; while another 26% are so critically disengaged that their negativity is likely to influence others. A 2013 study conducted by Booz Hamilton revealed that a whopping 96% of organizations surveyed believed that changes in workplace culture were needed. These findings, although grim, suggest an opportunity to improve workplace culture and increase overall commitment, engagement, and positive contributions by employees across the globe.

Want to better understand how workplace culture impacts your performance?

Consider the impact of these key factors:

Bureaucracy. If your organization is governed by bureaucracy, excessive administrative protocols are everywhere. The problem? It’s extremely difficult to get things done. Layers of “red tape” are performance disincentives and encourage procrastination and indifference. Any organization encumbered by bureaucracy should “pierce the stone fence” and create dynamic alternatives for pulling ideas and projects forward.

Opportunities for professional development. Are you a high achiever? Do you want to excel in your current position or perhaps even earn a promotion? You may be out of luck without the right development tools. Organizations that fail to support professional growth are overlooking their biggest asset: human capital. An organization’s overall commitment to excellence should reflect prudent investment in workforce advancement.

Professional mobility. Does your employer provide opportunities to move up the proverbial food chain? If not, and unless you enjoy being where you are until you retire, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” Opportunities for advancement are the cornerstone of a progressive workplace culture that fosters growth.

Open communication. Is the door to communication open? Let’s hope so. Employees need a safe space to express ideas and grievances without judgment or reprisal. If not, disappointment and frustration fester, eventually resulting in arguments, resignations, dismissals, and worse. Employers should make every effort to foster an open, honest, and judgment-free communication zone.

Flexible work arrangements. Are you given some degree of flexibility in how you approach your work schedule? Depending on the kind of work that you do, such arrangements may vary from occasional telecommuting, to comp-time, or flexibility in daily start and end times. The goal is to accommodate work-life balance. Considering the demands on an ever-changing labor force, the need for flexibility is great. Rigid work environments contribute to stress and employee burnout.

Perks. Does your employer provide incentives that contribute to workplace satisfaction? Perks may range from providing healthcare, to free parking and meals, an upgraded physical environment, or interim bonuses. A greater degree of comfort equals less worry over minutia and increased focus on the things that matter most.

Companies concerned with employee performance don’t have to sit idly by. They can re-evaluate “best culture practices” and consider a shift towards “next culture practices”, where a greater ROI on employee satisfaction, productivity, engagement, and increased positive contributions can all be achieved to enhance the bottom line, which necessarily impacts every line. Want to rate your workplace culture? Be proactive and take the quiz here.

Cheers to your performance success!

Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her Website, WordSmithRapport.com.

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