A Quick Tip to Change a Negative Work Culture

A Quick Tip to Change a Negative Work Culture

Employees are the lifeblood of your organization. Therefore happy workers are more productive workers. But what makes an employee happy?

The work must be fulfilling but more importantly the environment (not just physical, but overall) must be conducive to an employee wanting to get the work done. After all, even if an employee is passionate about their job duties, if the culture is not there, the employee will dread coming to work and their productivity goes out the window.

“The thing I have learned at IBM is that culture is everything.” Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former IBM CEO

Culture Is Everything

The Gallup State Of The Global Workplace Report 2013 states that the vast majority of employees worldwide report an overall negative experience at work. Let that sink in for a moment.

Now granted there are lots of different types of jobs out there. Some not so good. No pain, no gain, right? Well not necessarily. Even entry-level positions can be made more enjoyable if there is a positive work culture that acts as the basis for the organization.

But why is it so important? In the study Happiness and Productivity by Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr Eugenio Proto and Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that

“Happiness makes people more productive at work. Economists carried out a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. In the laboratory, they found happiness made people around 12% more productive.”

By tying an actual percentage to a performance increase then the business case for a positive work culture becomes more significant. However, it shouldn’t be a simple case of numbers. A negative work culture should be something every organization should work to eliminate because culture (positive or negative) has a bi-directional flow. This means that work culture isn’t simply something that trickles from the top-down or spreading from a dissatisfied group of front line employees. It is something that comes from and needs to be addressed at all levels.

What Negative Work Culture Leads To

You can’t avoid work culture. You certainly know when you’re around it, you can feel it from the moment you enter the workplace. Something just doesn’t feel quite “right”. Getting a grasp on it can be a more difficult task.

A great place to start is to work on reversing the following negative trends:

  1. Lack of morals from leaders – Very simple: if your workers don’t respect you and decisions you make (in good times and in not-so-good times), they won’t stay and they will be looking for the quickest exit.
  2. Hypercompetitiveness – An organization and its employees need to be competitive to thrive. However, in negative hypercompetitive work culture this could lead to employees actively undermining the efforts of others in order to be successful.
  3. Absence Of Discipline – If poorly performing employees are allowed to remain on board, this sends the message to the other employees that no one really cares. This leads to employees underperforming.
  4. Lack of Clarity – In strong organizational cultures,  workers know what management expects of them and how their performance is measured. Furthermore they know the positive and negative consequences of failing to meet goals.
  5. Low employee engagement – A recent Gallup poll of 142 countries found that worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged at work. The bottom line is that in a negative work culture only one in eight are fully involved in and enthusiastic about their jobs.

Not only is a negative work culture something that affects employee performance, from a higher-level perspective it makes work something that is simply not fun to do. While it is work, employees should never pause and sigh as they enter the front doors.

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