Shaping your workplace culture

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

Culture is often viewed as something that emerges over time without thought or intention. Leading organisations are now realising that workplace culture plays a key role in the success and sustainability of organisations.  Organisations that give careful attention and thought to shape their desired culture reap many benefits:

Values and behaviours

One of the most significant things you can do to shape your workplace culture is ensure that staff at all levels have input into developing the articulated values for the business and that desired behaviour around these values is clearly understood, enforced and reinforced through leadership role modeling desired behaviour, through communication, feedback, performance appraisals and performance management.  Another important factor is ensuring that organisational policies work in harmony with the values. The ability of an organisation to recognise staffs that behave in line with the values and call up the behaviour of those that don’t i.e. by having the competence to have THOSE difficult conversations is of vital importance to shaping workplace culture.

People really are your greatest asset

People truly are your greatest asset – they are what set you apart from your competitors – treating them like your other valued assets are important to organisational success.

Employees should not be a headcount, but rather the enablers; the engine room that drives innovation, satisfies customers and builds organisational success.


Technology also plays an important role in shaping culture; allowing organisations new ways of working that meet the needs of today’s diverse workforce. Technologies such as cloud computing, collaboration software, and mobile devices, enable new levels of flexibility and control and help people perform at their best.

Working arrangements

The traditional “9-to-5” office model is an outdated, rigid arrangement that serves a limited set of people. In a global economy driven by disparate workers, companies can be far more flexible about where and when people work, allowing HR to find the best talent, regardless of location. When the focus is on results, rather than on the times when people work, everyone wins.

Performance Measurement

Many performance metrics are not designed with people in mind. Take a closer look at what you’re measuring – “what gets measured gets measured”.  Measures can sometimes drive undesirable behaviour and lead to undesirable consequences.  Ensure they align with your values, the kind of culture you wish to shape and your organisational vision and goals.
For example I was talking with a client this week said “management by objective ensures people are focused but it can also prevent people from pitching in and assisting others or getting involved in value adding work or cross functional improvement opportunities as it’s not in their objectives”.

A company prospers when its people prosper. Happier people make better products and provide better services. In turn, they build stronger, more resilient, agile and sustainable organisations. By taking an active role in shaping your desired workplace culture, you can develop a workforce that feels valued, empowered, challenged, and fulfilled.