What workplace culture is
Workplace or organisational culture is often described as “the way we do things around here” and commonly consists of the beliefs, motivations and behaviours of the members of the team or organisation. “
An organisation’s culture is usually longstanding and consistent and driven by its origins, history and values.
It is well accepted that workplace culture has a significant role in an organisation or team’s effectiveness and can affect factors such as morale, staff turnover, performance, wellbeing, engagement and collaboration. The costs of a substandard organisational culture can include bullying, poor employee psychological and physical health, underperformance, time and expense spent on dealing with conflict and complaints, and tolerance of behaviours which are damaging and harmful.
A positive workplace culture on the other hand is characterised by shared beneficial values, norms and ways of interacting, greater resilience, better response to challenges, lower stress levels, higher morale, better reputation and motivation of staff to perform to a higher standard.
Why conduct a workplace culture review
A workplace culture review is designed to gather information to help understand about the way it operates and about the way it functions. Questions are asked about the beliefs, ideologies, language, rituals and stories of the organisation. What leaders do and how they behave, what is taught, what behaviour is rewarded and punished, how resources are allocated and the design and structure of the organisation may all be relevant.
Examples of when a workplace culture review is warranted are:
- where a team has a history of ongoing conflict, division, bullying, drama or incivility
- where there is a pattern of multiple grievances and complaints which are difficult to resolve
- to assist with the integration of teams following restructures or mergers
- where a team’s performance is below expectations
- to check the cultural “health” of a team where high performance is vital
- where two teams cannot collaborate effectively
- where team members are reporting stress, burnout or low wellbeing.
In the analysis:
- strengths and risks of the dominant culture are identified
- insight is provided into systems, values, behaviour, norms, and assumptions in the workplace
- the impact of the culture on key factors such as safety, performance, and ethics is examined
- readiness for and obstacles to change are assessed
- where relevant, the causes contributing to dysfunction are determined.
We then build on the findings of the review to identify issues which should be addressed and make recommendations for interventions which have the best chance of bringing about change or supporting a positive culture.
Our approach may involve:
- employee surveys
- interviews with key employees
- group workshops
- desktop review of policies, procedures and other key documents
Recommended interventions may include coaching, investigation, conflict resolution, leadership interventions, learning and development initiatives, new practices, new policies and procedures, and other evidence-based activities.
Surveys of your staff can provide insight into how they feel about their work and workplace, identify some of the features of the workplace culture and identify areas of risk. You can then decide whether to initiate a workplace culture review or another form of action.
From short and simple pulse surveys for quick snapshots of your workplace right now, to more targeted and detailed approaches, WEIR can issue the survey, gather the data and provide you with a clear report analysing the results. Surveys could provide insight into concerns such as:
- Employee satisfaction and engagement
- Bullying and harassment, or workplace incivility
- Team communication or conflict
- Psychosocial safety
Surveys can be purchased on their own or can form part of a broader intervention such as a workplace culture review. A follow up survey within 6 to 12 months allows you to compare results over time.
We conduct workplace culture reviews and staff surveys nationwide, with staff and offices along the east coast of Australia, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Contact us to speak to a consultant.