- A majority (74%) of U.S. and U.K. employees say workplace culture is important to them, according to a survey by communication platform Speakap, but only 40% reported having a positive work culture at their company. Speakap defined workplace culture as "the sum of a company's values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors and attitudes." The more than 1,000 respondents represented a range of industries.
- Culture appeared to be a magnet for talent in the study: more than half of respondents were willing to go to a competing firm in search of a better culture, and 48% said they'd consider working a 60-hour week in exchange for a better culture.
- At the same time, tech platforms may not be a silver bullet for improving onboarding; only 19% of employees said being invited to join employee communications apps before their first workday would make them feel connected within a company's culture, Speakap said. Respondents identified the most important attributes of a strong culture as respect and fairness (39%), trust and integrity (23%), and teamwork (9%).
Though it has been criticized for being a buzzword and otherwise ill-defined, workplace culture impacts in nearly every aspect of an employee's job, making it crucial for employers to cultivate and maintain an engaging culture. This is supported by a large body of research. One recent study from Eagle Hill Consulting found that 77% of workers believe culture allows them to perform their best work. Employees in a 2018 Betterup report said they were willing to work harder for longer hours — and perhaps take a pay cut — in exchange for more meaningful work.
Employers have several levers to pull in the pursuit of improving culture, but a recurring guiding principle among leaders in the industry is that culture is an alignment of values and action. This process starts at the top of the organization, sources have previously told HR Dive, and is by no means rigid. GoDaddy, for example, faced a total cultural overhaul when elements of its culture got in the way of employees' goals and ambitions.
Culture is also not necessarily a matter of selecting and choosing candidates with the best "fit," and the phrase "culture fit" may even be code for some form of discrimination. Instead of assessing a candidate based on the simple question of whether someone is a fit for the organization, a recruiter might question his or her biases and instead call back to the outward values of the employer. Just because a candidate or employee disagrees with aspects of how the organization conducts its business doesn't mean the employee can't contribute to the organization's success — and by extension, its culture.
Emphasizing the human-centric aspect of work can help to create a healthy culture. Employers can encourage employees by any number of strategies, like helping them support their favorite social causes, investing in their training and development, and recognizing their contributions. HR can also help departments embrace the more light-hearted aspects of their work, and thereby create a brand that draws candidates to the employer's culture.