How to create a positive company culture, according to Gloucestershire's employee expert

While ping pong tables and fancy coffee machines might be fun, it takes more than perks to create a truly positive company culture, says Gloucestershire employee expert, Kelly Tucker.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
What is a positive company culture? Gloucestershire employee expert, Kelly Tucker, shares why there's a bit more to it than ping pong tables and bean bags.

From open communication to providing the benefits that employees actually want, there are lots of ways companies can create a positive culture that doesn't involve bean bags, ping pong tables or nap pods! 

SoGlos speaks to Gloucestershire employee expert, Kelly Tucker, to get her advice on what company culture really means and how both employers and employees can cultivate a positive one in their workplace. 

About the expert - Kelly Tucker, managing director of HR Star

Founder and managing director of HR Star in Cheltenham, Kelly Tucker has worked in the HR industry for almost 20 years. During that time, she has developed a passion for changing perceptions of HR and loves showing businesses how engaged employees lead to success.

HR Star's unique people strategy session means it can really get to know the business and its people, then create a strategy to help it achieve its goals and increase profitability, all while ensuring its employees feel valued and engaged. 

When we say company culture, things like bean bags and ping pong tables spring to mind – but what does company culture actually mean?

Company culture is about creating an environment that helps people thrive. Every company has its own unique culture, dictated by its values, beliefs and practices. Company cultures vary from business to business; some are casual and team-based while others are more formal and hierarchical in structure. A good company culture should be based on shared values that inspire employees to do their best work every day. To create such an environment, employers need to focus on creating a positive atmosphere that fosters creativity and encourages collaboration among team members.

Company culture also includes things like communication methods and decision-making processes; working hours; unwritten rules around behaviour in the workplace, like dress codes or language; decision-making authority; and rewards and recognition systems. All these factors contribute to creating a healthy company culture that promotes productivity as well as employee wellbeing.

It’s important for employers to invest in training their staff so they can better navigate through any challenges they may face at work. This will help them foster stronger relationships with their colleagues which will ultimately make them feel more connected with their job and place of work.

How can you tell if a company has a good culture? Or a bad one?

The signs of an enjoyable workplace really depend on what is important to you. If you value stability and security, then look for companies with long-standing employees or loyalty programs that reward tenure. If team collaboration is your thing, then look for companies with open communication policies and dedicated team-building activities. If creativity is key for you, then try to find organisations that encourage creativity and experimentation. A great sign of any good company culture is when employees seem happy and engaged in their work. Pay attention to how employees interact with each other as well as how they respond when asked questions about their work environment. Do they seem excited?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to identify a bad corporate culture from the outside looking in. However, there are certain signs that should be considered. Pay attention to turnover rates – if people are leaving after only short stints at the company, then there might be something wrong with the environment. Similarly, take note of any rumours floating around - if everyone talks about how stressful or toxic the environment is then chances are it’s true!

And finally, be sure to ask questions during interviews – this will give you an opportunity to get first-hand feedback from current employees without having to commit right away.

What impact does culture have on the day-to-day running of a business?

The culture of a business has an enormous impact on the day-to-day running of the company. It affects how employees interact with each other, how they handle customer service and even how successful the business is overall. A positive corporate culture can increase employee morale, boost productivity, foster creativity and innovation and improve customer service. On the other hand, a negative corporate culture can lead to conflict among employees, poor customer service, low productivity levels and even financial losses for the company.

It’s clear that having a positive corporate culture has many benefits for businesses. Investing time into fostering a positive atmosphere can help you create an organisation where everyone feels safe and respected, leading to better collaboration throughout the company. 

What are the key building blocks for a good company culture?

Creating a positive workplace culture isn’t something that happens overnight – it takes time and dedication from everyone involved in order to build an environment where people feel respected and empowered.

Acknowledging achievements, fostering open communication and encouraging team bonding are all key components for establishing a foundation for success within your organization. With these building blocks in place, you can create an environment where people enjoy coming into work every day.

Here are some key steps to take:

  1. Establish core values: Outlining core values is essential when creating a strong company culture.
  2. Embrace diversity: A diverse team of employees with different backgrounds and points of view can bring fresh ideas to the table that can help drive innovation within your organisation.
  3. Encourage employee development: Investing in employee development shows staff members that you value them and helps build trust within the team.
  4. Foster open communication: Communication is key when it comes to creating an open dialogue between management and staff members which will lead to better collaboration overall with colleagues and customers alike.
  5. Show appreciation: Taking time out of busy schedules to recognise outstanding performance from staff members helps foster positive relationships in the workplace, while also showing appreciation for hard work done throughout the year by individuals or teams who have gone above and beyond their job duties or responsibilities.

Creating a positive company culture doesn’t have to be complicated but it does require effort from both management and employees alike if it’s going to succeed long term.

Can things be turned around if a company identifies that its culture is bad? 

The first step to turning things around is to identify why the culture is bad. A lot of companies think their problems are due to employees not caring or not working hard enough, but usually there are other underlying issues at work. For example, perhaps processes aren’t clear, or goals and expectations aren’t communicated effectively. Once you have identified the root cause of the problem, then you can begin to address it.

Once you know why your company’s culture is bad, you can start developing solutions. This might include introducing new policies and procedures or improving communication between departments. It could also mean implementing new training programmes to ensure everyone in the organisation understands their role and how they contribute to overall success. Additionally, improving morale by providing employees with more recognition or incentives can go a long way towards creating a healthier workplace environment. 

The biggest challenge when trying to turn things around is committing to change and sticking with it over time. It takes dedication from leadership within the company, as well as from everyone else involved, in order for any improvements to be successful and lasting. Everyone needs to buy into the idea that changes need to be made if things are going to improve – and they have to be willing to put in the hard work necessary for those changes to happen.

How can employees make an impact on company culture? Is this something which must come from the top down, or can it come from the ground up?

Employers and employees both have an important role to play in creating company culture. Each individual should strive to embody the values of their workplace. This can range from following dress codes and attendance standards to displaying appropriate behaviour when interacting with colleagues and customers. In essence, the best way for employees to make an impact on company culture is by leading by example.

Open communication between management and employees is key to shaping a positive corporate culture. Employees should feel empowered to provide feedback on their experience and suggest ideas for improvement. It’s also important for employers to listen to their employees’ suggestions and take them into consideration when making decisions about company policies and procedures. This creates trust between management and staff, which in turn leads to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.

No matter what kind of company you work for or what position you hold within it, you have the power to shape the workplace culture, top down and from the ground up.

For anyone currently looking for a new job, are there any red flags to look out for during the interview process or before accepting a position?

Vague job descriptions and interview processes. If you’re reading through a job description and something just feels off or overly vague, it could be a sign of an uncertain business. Pay attention to how many details are included in the job ad. If there are very few details about what the role entails, or if there is no mention of salary or benefits, then this could be cause for concern. Similarly, if you have had an initial phone call with someone from the company but they haven’t followed up with an invitation to an in-person interview or asked any questions about your experience, this should raise alarm bells.

Watch out for unrealistic expectations, too. If you show up at the interview and suddenly realise that the expectations of this organisation are completely unrealistic – for example, working late into the night without pay – then proceed with caution. Interviewers can easily paint an overly rosy picture of their organisation during interviews, so make sure to ask lots of questions so that you're aware of all aspects of the potential role before making any commitment.

When researching companies online, pay attention not only to their mission statement, but also read through employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. If you notice any recurring themes related to workplace environment issues, such as poor management style or toxic work culture, then those are definitely red flags that should give you pause before applying for or accepting any position with them.

With company culture being an ever-evolving thing, how can business leaders keep up with the changes in what their employees need or expect? 

One way that business leaders can keep up with changes in company culture is by understanding what their employees want. It’s important to take the time to listen to employee feedback, as this will give you a better understanding of what they are looking for in terms of job satisfaction. This could include more flexible hours, remote work options, or even better benefits plans. Taking the time to understand what your employees want will help you create a company culture that meets their needs and expectations.

Another way that business leaders can keep up with changes in company culture is by staying informed on the latest trends. Technology and societal shifts are constantly impacting companies and their employees, so it’s important for leaders to be aware of these changes so they can adjust accordingly. By staying informed on current trends, you can make sure that your organisation remains up to date with its policies and practices.

Finally, encouraging open communication within your organisation is key when it comes to staying on top of changes in company culture. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas is essential for any organisation looking to remain competitive long term. Encouraging open communication will also help you gain insight into areas where improvement might be needed, so you can better meet employee expectations going forward. 

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