How to build a positive organisational culture

Cheering business people holding many thumbs thumbs up

 “The average person spends approximately 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Assuming 8 hours sleep a night, this equates to 21% of your total waking hours over a 76 year lifespan”.

Just like the stats above show, you spend a fair amount of your time at your workplace so you should make that 21% enjoying yourself. It’s important that you enjoy the environment you work in and equally important, that you love your job. These two things cannot happen without a positive organisational culture. In the corporate world, Human Resources are often the department responsible for fostering a positive organisational culture, however it is doesn’t stop there. Creating a positive organisational culture is everyone’s responsibility. Your manager, your team and your colleague.

So what is organisational culture exactly and how can we ensure it’s positive?

Organisational culture can be defined as the character and personality of your organisation. It’s what makes your organisation unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes.

Let’s look at how you can build a positive organisational culture and why doing so is integral to the success of your business.

  1. People matter

The most important part of any organisation is the people. Attracting the right talent and employing the right people is essential to positive organisational culture. The most successful companies often spend so much time and money on attracting, retaining, and developing people with the right values, cultural fit, and attitude.

Organisations that focus on people create positive organisational cultures effortlessly. Think of organisations like Google, who pride themselves on their creative workplace environments, their free food, health and dental, even haircuts and dry cleaning, on-site gyms, swimming pools and gaming areas.

While Google has plenty of money to play with to build these #workperks for their employees, the key take out is to create a space people look forward to going each day and this can be achieved through the smallest and simplest of ways.

  1. Positive communication

Consistent positive messages can change organisational culture quickly, particularly if employees trust their leaders to bring about the promised changes. Communication is an essential human need. Just like everyday life, when we communicate effectively we build strong, supportive relationships that can thrive in challenging circumstances. Regular and positive communication therefore assists in creating a positive organisational culture.

  1. Feedback loop

One of the most effective ways of building a positive organisational culture is by implementing an employee feedback system, where all employees are able to provide feedback to the organisation’s leadership team. The feedback is heard, acknowledged, and responded to. Two of the most important human needs are to feel heard and understood. Employee feedback systems meet both of these needs quickly and effectively.

  1. Show appreciation

People want to feel appreciated when they come to work. Spending time at work means forgoing time with families and friends, or doing activities that they enjoy. When staff are recognised and appreciated for what they do at work, they are more inclined to feel satisfied at work. They’re more engaged and more motivated to get the work done.

Appreciation can be shown in many ways for example, formally with awards, promotions, pay increases and internal communications. Informally with daily acts of gratitude and appreciation from leaders. Regular and sincere “thank you’s” create positive relationships and cultures within the workplace.

  1. Purpose, Vision and knowing you contribute

Its human nature to seek purpose in life. The workplace is no different. Employees must have a sense of purpose or meaning to the work they do. In an organisation, leaders who understand, engage in, and effectively communicate a shared vision build positive organisational cultures where employees know why they are turning up to work every day, and what their role is in the shared vision. An individual’s purpose is defined and company’s vision is clear.

Contribution is equally important to fostering a positive organisational culture. When people feel they are contributing to a meaningful goal, they feel happier, more positive and satisfied in their jobs.

  1. Have fun and be fun!

Does your workplace involve fun and humour? Employees that spend time laughing and interacting create quality work in a fraction of the time it takes others who were not taking time to laugh and interact with co-workers. Positive emotions tend to increase creativity and innovation and facilitate the development of relationships. When people laugh and joke, they build relationships. Positive workplace relationships promote positive workplace behaviours such as knowledge sharing, informal training, and empathy in times of need.

All in all, going to work needs to be an enjoyable experience. Sure, there are days where we’d rather be at the park, at home watching that sports game or even shopping, but these days should be few and far between. For the majority of the time, you should be looking forward to going to work each morning. If not, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about switching careers.

About the Author: Nicole Schaerer

Nicole Schaerer is Ivy College’s vibrant Social and Content Manager. A young gun with a curious mind, she has over 5 years’ experience in Marketing. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a Diploma of Marketing, she is always looking to learn something new. Nicole has a passion for writing and producing great content while also obsessing over TV shows, celebrities and really cute photos of puppies on Instagram.

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