Creating a Positive Organisational Culture: The Role of Leadership & HR

Workplace culture directly influences the success of a business. A positive workplace culture is characterised by respect and high levels of employee engagement. This has the ability to contribute directly to a culture of high performance, innovation and creativity.

A positive workplace culture also results in lower absenteeism and less staff turnover. This means that high performing and valued staff are less likely to leave the organisation – keeping knowledge and skill within the business and reducing turnover costs.

So how is a positive workplace culture created in an organisation?

Culture is created through process and the documentation of process including policy, procedures and by unspoken customs.

The culture of any organisation is set and maintained by the organisation’s leaders. Hence leaders at all levels within the organisation (particularly at Senior Executive level) must be very aware of the organisation’s desired culture.  This includes the organisation’s values, vision and mission (and how these concepts can be mirrored and delivered in a concrete, observable fashion through behaviour, performance and framed by policy), and the strategies that have been determined and agreed upon in order to achieve a positive workplace culture.

What can leaders do?

It is extremely important that all leaders are aware of their accountability and responsibility for contributing to the building of workplace culture. Through their actions, words, behaviours, communication and performance – they must model what is expected from all staff and be prepared to ‘set the tone for how things are done’ in the organisation.

It is incumbent upon every manager to be aware of the behaviour and performance of each direct report to ensure that they are also contributing to the expected workplace culture.

Managers also need to be prepared to recognise and acknowledge behaviours and performance (and therefore the staff) who positively contribute to the desired organisational culture and counsel staff where their behaviours and/or performance negatively impact on workplace culture.

So what are the foundation pillars for achieving a positive organisational culture?  I’ll talk more about the foundation pillars, leadership, communication and policy in my next post.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.