If we unpack this report, we can draw two conclusions: the first is that
organizations recognize that establishing the right culture is important
as it can result in reduced spending on recruitment and increased
productivity. The second is that companies struggle to find the right
way to invest in culture. Spending money doesn’t guarantee you the right
culture for your organization.
But creating or changing workplace culture is not about spending on
recruitment (though that is a factor). It’s not about doing one-off
things like an annual survey, or artificially boosting morale through
parties multiple times a year. It’s not even about bringing in an
outside consultant to “fix” things.
Creating a culture is about consistency.
Consistency is important in the actions of leadership and in messaging.
Once a culture has been defined leaders then need to encourage the right
behavior with the right actions. For example, if an organization’s
senior leaders preach wellbeing, then drive hard projects and hard
deadlines with overwhelming force, it’s not consistent. There’s a
disconnect between the idea of culture and the experience of it.
It’s a common thing that workplaces see these days. The Gartner report also suggests
that 69% of employees do not believe in their organization’s
definition of their own workplace culture. This doesn’t mean that we
can’t have deadlines (every business would fail if that were the case).
It just means that more has to be done about bridging the gap between
the idea of culture and the experience of it.
There are a few things your company needs to do to close the gap between
idea and reality:
Define your workplace culture
In order to improve and maintain a culture, senior leaders need to take
the time to define what a good culture will actually look like in your
company (not what business school textbooks or the latest hot trend
says). It means taking the time to understand the people in your
organization, and the culture that is already in place, before trying to
fix anything. When you have a clear understanding of where you want to
go, then you can set up processes that support everyone in the
organization to consistently put it into practice.
How Friday Pulse Can Help You
At Friday we’ve made a study of what makes good and bad cultures. If
you’re looking for how to improve your culture, then we suggest thinking
about it in terms of being positive and productive. Based on our
extensive research, we’ve found that there are Five Ways to
Happiness in the Workplace. This evidence-based guide is a very good starting
framework for a positive culture.
Consistency, consistency, consistency
Good culture is built on good practices at all levels of the
organization. It can’t be done with one-off surveys, or the occasional
office party. It takes regular, honest conversations between teams and
How Do You Change Workplace Culture? Start at the Team Level
Changing culture starts with the team level and works up. A common
mistake that senior leaders often make is thinking that their
organization has just one culture — one that they can define from the
top. This is true to a degree, and leaders need to have a vision of
where they want their organization to go. However, our data has shown
that a company’s culture is made of lots of micro-cultures. Every team
faces different challenges and reacts differently to them partly because
of circumstance but also due to the unique mix of personalities in the
Happy teams are the foundation of every successful work culture. In
order to build these teams, team leaders need to have authentic and
honest conversations with their team members on a regular basis. Here at
Friday, we suggest teams take the time every week to recognize each
other’s successes and achievements as well as appreciating the support
they give each other. Too often in a fast-moving world of work we move
on to the next task without reflecting on our achievements and giving
recognition where it is due.
Just as important as celebrating successes is giving teams the chance to
voice any concerns or frustrations they may have. If these are caught
early enough, these problems can be addressed straight away without
giving it time to fester into resentment. Again, this is the power of
consistency — regular conversations prevent resentment.
These conversations don’t even have to be that long — just 15 to 20
minutes each week can pay huge dividends. In our research, we’ve found
that a small increase in team happiness can lead to a 17% reduction
in staff turnover and a 7% increase in productivity. Just these two
tangible benefits translate into an immediate 6X return on
Those types of benefits don’t come from a one-off training or a day
survey. No one leaves those things thinking, “Wow, all the problems I
have with my team have disappeared.” It’s consistency and persistency
that gives you the ability to address the problems that teams face.
Because while taking the time to listen and have conversations with
teams is not hard, it does take time for a relationship of trust to
At Friday, we believe that culture can be a force of good in the
workplace. It can lift people up and empower them to reach their
potential and be productive. The foundations of a good culture are built
on happy high-performing teams — a place where people work well
together. Like any office environment there are ups and downs, but good
teams are able to bounce back quickly from any setbacks.