Workplace culture – a matter of corporate mindset


In light of the rapid evolution of our working world, workplace culture is becoming more and more important. What does this mean and how can companies benefit from it?

Workplace culture is multifaceted

What makes an employer unique is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours, all making up the workplace culture. A positive workplace culture attracts talent, promotes dedication, and influences employee morale, satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. What works well and has meaning for one company does not necessarily have to do so for another. The values a company stands for, lives by and embodies – in other words, the way things are done – vary greatly, not only between different companies, but also within the same organisation. Every company's workplace culture is therefore individual, as it is shaped by different people.

Advantages of a good workplace culture

Positive workplace culture creates a pleasant working atmosphere, supports the employees' well-being and motivates them, thus strengthening team building and teamwork. It also helps to give employees a feeling that they are allowed to voice their opinions and ask questions, creating a sense of connection. A company renowned for its positive work environment will also be more popular with job applicants.

According to a McKinsey survey, a positive workplace culture also has an impact on companies' rate of return, which is 60 % higher for companies with a culture in the top quarter of the companies surveyed (as measured by McKinsey's Organizational Health Index) than for companies that are at the average level and 200 % higher compared to companies in the bottom quarter.

In addition, a study by Deloitte notably found that 94 % of managers and 88 % of employees consider a strong workplace culture to be essential for business success.

How does corporate philosophy affect workplace culture?

Establishing a stable corporate philosophy that employees can identify with creates a constant and positive workplace culture. It is important to establish shared values such as respect, fairness and empathy. It is crucial to convey that each individual is relevant to the company. This is ensured in particular through communication, which should be open and honest ("emotional openness"). This is the only way to provide psychological security.

What influence does the working environment have?

Opportunities for social interaction, such as drinking coffee together in the mornings, team excursions, providing daily and/or weekly newspapers, etc. support employee well-being. The creation of a safe and positive working atmosphere is a key issue, especially with regard to physical, mental and emotional health. Offering sports activities in particular has a positive effect on the staff's state of health. Rewards and recognition, for example by celebrating work anniversaries, company parties/excursions, etc., also ensure a more relaxed and, above all, appreciative working relationship.

Workplace culture involves a culture of feedback

Positive and negative feedback for work done enables employees to improve their performance and be committed to completing tasks for the company. This must be mutual feedback aimed at finding out how individual employees are perceived by colleagues and superiors. This way, employees can reflect on their own behaviour and adjust it if necessary. However, this requires mutual respect, fairness and safety to be given a high priority, ensuring that everyone can give sincere, honest feedback without hesitation. Especially in teamwork, feedback is a crucial tool for strengthening employees' sense of belonging and successfully pursuing common goals.

What role do leaders play in creating a workplace culture?

Leaders act as role models for employees and interpersonal interaction as well as work dynamics. If a leader acts in a certain way, team members often adapt to their behaviour. Leaders thus exemplify the company's organisation, structure and work ethic. If the behaviour of the leader clearly reflects these values, the employees can follow them. The type of leadership must therefore be based on the company's current values and evolve with them.

The future importance and development of workplace culture

The working environment is influenced by the increasing interconnections between countries around the world, by social norms and values, and also ideals that are subject to change over time. In today's world, where traditional places of work, and with them human contact points, are increasingly disappearing, the greatest challenge is to create a sense of personal closeness.

Many offices are at least partially vacant. IT platforms such as Teams and Zoom seem essential for communicative collaboration. Despite the flexibility created by this, in-person collaboration and creating a sense of belonging are also becoming more difficult due to the growing amount of digital work. Against this background, it is becoming increasingly important to make on-site workplaces particularly attractive so that employees are motivated to work in the office premises and exchange ideas with their colleagues there.

Another reason why the term "workplace culture" is becoming increasingly relevant is the ageing society coupled with the challenge of the shortage of skilled workers and labourers. It is therefore up to the company to create incentives for the older generation to work longer. This is the only way to counteract the ongoing and upcoming shortage of workers. Issues like flexible working hours will then become all the more relevant in this context.