The importance of workplace culture - HR team and policies are not enough

Toxic workplaces have been making the news in recent weeks. If we could rewind the clock and assess workplace practices in these organisations prior to an escalation, we anticipate that an audit of policies and procedures would have shown what we would all expect: a suite of policies setting out fair processes with the odd training session – but is this enough?

Put simply – No(!). 

Companies need to ensure that they adequately invest into Culture Programmes. Programmes should equip People Leaders at all levels to deal with day to day matters in an appropriate and prompt manner, but also highlight what is and is not appropriate, outlining what is expected in terms of workplace culture. Whilst one might argue that common sense prevails, it is often the case that there are varying levels and perceptions of 'common sense'.

What is a toxic work culture?

Common themes we often hear:

  • Excessive stress          
  • High turnover of employees      
  • Gossip
  • Lack of communication 
  • Unethical         
  • Cut-throat
  • No trust between colleagues     
  • Cronyism         
  • Disrespectful
  • Non-inclusive   
  • Fear of retribution         
  • Lack of confidence in leadership

How many of these would be a concern in your organisation?  Most of us can relate, at the very least, to some of the factors listed above. 

Investing in a positive workplace culture

Many companies would readily admit that there is a growing need to invest in continually developing a positive workplace culture.  As seen in many recent examples, unrest in a work environment can escalate at a rapid pace, often at the busiest of times.

We regularly advise employers and defend claims where it is apparent that there is a disconnect between what a company thinks is happening at ground level versus the reality of the situation. Behaviours like workplace banter can be a challenge in many organisations but with the right coaching and support, these behaviours can be 'nipped in the bud' before escalation.

Of course, it is always a challenge to source budget for such programmes. Success is sadly measured by the non-escalation of matters – which is so hard to quantify.  Successful strategic leaders accept this and see the benefits of developing positive inclusive behaviours and culture in place across all levels of an organisation.

How we can help

Our bespoke management development training programmes, tailored to the needs of your business, can help to transform your culture and provide managers with the tools they need to not only manage their teams and reduce risk, but to also bring out the best of your talent. A business is nothing without its people. We have extensive experience of working with companies to enable their talent to reach their full potential as well as bringing about genuine cultural change. 

Our programmes are practical, unique and enjoyable. Please contact Joanne Boyle if you would like to explore further.