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Improving workplace culture

The costs of a poor workplace culture should not be underestimated, with low staff retention, engagement and productivity all serious consequences.

Equally, a positive workplace culture can help an organisation stand out from competitors, attracting and retaining the best professionals and delivering outstanding performance.

HR professionals and business leaders joined Charles Fair, founder of Fairplace Consulting and Associate Consultant at Great Place to Work, for a seminar at Robert Walters offices in Covent Garden. This seminar launched Robert Walters latest whitepaper “The Role of Workplace Culture in Recruiting Top Talent”.

“Poor cultural fit and poor working culture are often treated as one and the same, but it’s important to recognise the distinction between the two,” Charles explained.

“Even if a company has an exceptional workplace culture, it is still possible that there will be candidates who come into the organisation who are not a good fit. However, for companies with a strong culture, these situations are much rarer, and the culture allows them to be resolved in a positive way when they occur.”

Charles went on to discuss the key reasons to focus on improving workplace culture as well as the challenges of identifying what constitutes your workplace culture in the first place.

Senior management is crucial to influencing culture

“Many organisations focus on creating a firm set of company values when looking to define their workplace culture,” Charles continued.

“While this is an important step, ensuring that these values are implemented and maintained is the greater challenge. In some ways, workplace culture can be described as ‘the way things are done when no one is looking’”.

Ensuring that these values are embraced by your staff means demonstrating commitment to them at the highest level. If senior managers actively demonstrate the values of the company, this attitude can filter down throughout the organisation.

Poor culture ultimately hurts the bottom line

Robert Walters own research showed that 64% of professionals hated coming into work when they were a poor cultural fit for their employer, while 69% wanted to leave the organisation as soon as possible, impacts that Charles Fair confirmed.

“Mental health and wellbeing of staff can be very closely tied to the culture of an organisation and how employees fit into it,” Charles explained.

“When staff are a poor cultural fit, it is easy for ‘presenteeism’ and ‘absenteeism’ to become the norm, with staff either being present but unproductive, or taking increasing amounts of time off in order to cope with stress.”

“For companies with a more positive culture, we see absenteeism rates drop significantly, with staff remaining productive over the long term.”


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