How to Create a Gold Standard Workplace Culture That Encourages High Performers

Business leaders are increasingly beginning to recognise that company culture has an important role to play when it comes to organisational success and driving retention of talent.

Culture is more than making somewhere a pleasant place to work. It’s the values, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes that underpin a business, and then ensuring employees are on board and aligned with this.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and making significant culture shifts is arguably one of the most difficult challenges that leadership face, yet the results are incredibly powerful.

Whether a business is aiming for Investors in People (IiP) Gold accreditation or just taking its first steps in positive culture change, Head of Culture & Engagement at Westfield Health, Kate Firth, shares the five key things that can help successfully facilitate culture change.

  1. Purpose and direction

It’s important to give all employees visibility on how their role fits into the bigger picture so they understand why their work matters.

Defining a strong, clear mission statement in dialogue with employees gives the opportunity to link back to this sense of purpose when talking about objectives, linking short-term tasks with long-term vision.

When employees feel a personal connection with the company’s vision and goals, leaders will start to see a more engaged and committed workforce.

  1. Collaboration

Regardless of role, organisation or level, a sense of collaboration is key to a business’s success. Engagement becomes stronger when employees feel that they have an active voice in shaping and delivering strategy, so it is important that everybody in an organisation has a voice and, more importantly, knows it is being heard.

By actively seeking feedback and asking the right questions, employers can get to the bottom of what’s working and what’s not. This feedback can then be used to drive change through workshops or training sessions.

  1. A healthy working environment

Creating a working environment where employees can be creative and have fun is an important way to build a positive workplace culture.

Promoting open, honest conversations helps to create a more positive environment where it’s safe for employees to fail and, rather than fearing the worst, employees can learn from failures to build future successes.

Managers should use open and honest communication at work, meaning that feedback is welcomed and taken on board.

Employees also need to have room for development. Encouraging staff to learn and further develop their skills enables them to contribute more successfully and contributes to their sense of purpose.

  1. A data-driven approach

It’s important for leaders to understand the impact that gathering data to inform their people practices has on business performance. Employee engagement surveys are effective ways to tell employers what is happening on a quantitative level, but they won’t reveal the ‘why’.

To improve company culture and achieve Gold accreditation from IiP, both business leaders and managers need to demonstrate an evidence-based approach and delve deeper on an individual level. This can be achieved through team meetings, self-assessments and 1:1 chats to get qualitative insight that’ll provide the why, making the next steps clearer.

  1. An authentic vision

All too often, cultural change and employee engagement are seen as a responsibility that sits with HR, however it belongs to everybody in an organisation, especially business leaders.

Positive attitudes in the workplace are the direct result of effective leadership. In order to create gold-standard culture, it’s crucial for employers to recognise the role they play. Not only will positivity filter down to employees, it will impact the future of the organisation. Visible support from senior leaders also creates the psychological permissions for employees to mirror those behaviours and helps ensure initiatives are sustained.

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