16 August 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Organisations must do more to engage with their people and meet their personal expectations if they want a positive work culture, highlights a research white paper by HR and payroll supplier MHR.
Company Culture: Don't Just Throw Money at The Issue explores the experience of UK employees and their thoughts about their employers.
Based on findings from a survey of 1,174 UK employees by YouGov on behalf of MHR, the paper reveals that 49 per cent of employees believe that the portrayed public image of the company they work for matches the actual experience of working there.
The research shows that employees are generally happy with the culture at their workplace, with 70 per cent of people agreeing their company's ethos is well communicated to staff, and 61 per cent saying they would feel comfortable speaking to their manager if they felt the company wasn't delivering on its aims.
But the comments from respondents also show that many staff are fed up, with poor cultures leaving them angry, disengaged and unmotivated in their roles.
When asked how well their company's values are communicated, a number of respondents said that values are poorly communicated, always changing, confusing and meaningless. Respondents also described a lack of trust in their employers and managers not living by the values themselves.
In contrast, the study has shown how positive cultures are inspiring employees, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) saying they are given the flexibility and support to do their job, and many citing the freedom to work from home, flexible working, feeling trusted and having understanding managers as reasons for their satisfaction.
Asimina Stamatiou, employee engagement expert at MHR and author of the white paper, says: "Creating a positive working culture is a valuable asset for any business because it leads to a more engaged, productive and loyal workforce who are less likely to leave the business.
"Employees' views on company culture, however, show that somewhere between the boardroom and the front line the message has got lost. When asked about their company's culture, many employees commented on communication and training, which indicates that organisations are aware of its importance, but very few focused on the atmosphere, direction and experience of working at the business, key elements that really define a culture. This shows that company culture is still widely misunderstood in workplaces across the country.
Stamatiou added: "No longer is employee job satisfaction just about the pay cheque. Instead, organisations must focus on their people, investing the time to regularly engage with them to understand their expectations and put in place initiatives and benefits which meet their changing personal needs and improve their working lives while supporting this with efficient management processes and leadership from managers who live and breathe their values."