04 Oct How to build a positive workculture
A strong work culture that reflects and supports its workers is key to a company’s success. Companies that focus on company culture may create not only a positive work environment; new data has found that those companies are also setting themselves up for long-term success.
As well as impacting the bottom line, companies benefit from lower absenteeism, higher employee retention and morale; which in turn improve productivity and creativity. Smart companies recognise that increased job satisfaction boosts staff motivation to contribute to the overall success of the business.
An advocate for cultivating a positive work culture is SwipeStation’s own Syd Nadim. Syd has pioneered this thinking since the inception of Clock, SwipeStation’s sister company, back in 1997. He holds strong beliefs on what a positive work culture really means and how important it is in a working environment. We caught up with Syd to delve a bit deeper into his perspective on the topic.
Tell us a bit about your thoughts on work culture?
Culture is very difficult to change within an organisation, which has proven to be a challenge and eye-opener for someone like me who likes to generate and implement new ideas into companies. Culture can often get scuppered if it does not gel with the company vision and values. Getting culture as close to right from the start is really important.
Creating culture is a difficult thing, it is about treating people like adults, allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them. Working with people, understanding them and building trust can help build a positive working culture.
>Having good culture I believe is really important; start as you mean to go on. One of the main reasons I think its important is because we spend a lot of our time at work, so we may as well enjoy it, right? Who wants to work in a miserable office, why not make it fun, be professional but still enjoy yourself. Things such as break out spaces help people be creative and think differently.
How have you built your work culture and what have you felt is important to include?
Culture is a social thing, building a good culture, you build good working relationships. One of the challenges I have had to face is people have said to me “Syd you can’t hire friends’, I completely disagree. Yes it can be difficult because you can ruin relationships if things got wrong, but actually the people you work with become friends. Good working relationships build good working culture and that’s something I have really tried to focus on when nurturing the culture within Clock and SwipeStation.
Essentially to build our working culture I started by looking at what other people were doing; good and bad, and tried to develop a culture to suit us. I brought in flexible working, which we have done from day one and includes finishing at 2pm on a Friday. I just thought; would I like that, therefore would everyone else like it? Adapting and evolving policies to make sure they are fair and measurable, trying things out, asking individuals what is important to them, what do they want from their workplace, is key to the success of a working culture. If you have an idea why not give it a go!
Everything grows, including your company, so you need to keep your finger on the pulse, adapt and accommodate your culture to grow with your company.
Do you have any advice for start-ups on how to build a good workplace culture?
You can learn from others and take a certain amount in but as a company you need your own voice and your own culture. My advice for start-ups and generally and companies looking to develop a working culture; it is important to get your own stamp and DNA. Figure out what is important to you as a company and culturally how you want things to plan out. Culture needs to be congruous with all other elements within the company.
Its simple; treat people like grown ups, they will act like grown ups. Trust people and give them responsibility, they will be trustworthy responsible people. Work culture needs flexibility and communication, 9 to 5 is old news… it does not work and it’s not necessary. There is ways technology can help to make working life better; for example working from home when you can, saving money and time on commute is a good thing in my book.
Do you think having a positive working culture has an impact on employee’s overall performance?
Without a doubt, its demonstrable; people who are happier and more motivated, are going to deliver better work and in general be happier healthier people. Average UK sick days in 7 in a year per employee, we have an average of 1.7. That says it all doesn’t it?
Communicate, trust, adapt and listen are the four key words of advice I have to offer when building a culture in a workplace.