Articles by Smart Recruit Online

Want a more productive team? Then invest in culture

Company culture and strategy affecting performance and recruitment

By Annie Button

Do you think that your Monday morning motivational speech is just what your team needs to smash their productivity targets?

You may be adept at delivering inspirational messages, but if the rest of your business culture isn’t so positive, you may be wasting your breath.

If you are puzzling over the productivity of your team, you may want to take a closer look at your business culture.

According to a recent report by Breathe HR, poor workplace culture is costing the economy £23.6 billion each year in lost productivity.

In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at what positive culture is and put the spotlight on the things you can do right now to improve culture and build a more productive team.

Positive business culture – what it is and what it’s not

There isn’t one defining feature of company culture. Culture encompasses many different aspects of a business, from the beliefs and values of its founders to the everyday interactions between management and staff. Every company will have its own unique elements of culture that differentiates it from other businesses.

Culture is the lifeblood or the glue of the company. It’s a complex network of values, beliefs and behaviours. Company culture isn’t things. Fruit bowls and football tables are nice surface level perks, and while they may be a part of the culture, they aren’t it. The best way to see company culture is as an ecosystem. It needs nurturing to survive and flourish.

There are good and bad cultures and it’s no surprise that businesses with a positive culture tend to have more engaged staff and better employee productivity. In a pulse survey by The Alternative Board, 86 per cent of entrepreneurs believe company culture helps productivity. Without question, company culture has a significant impact on engagement and productivity.

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5 things you can introduce now to build a more productive team

 When it comes to culture, there are lots of things you can do to improve the engagement and productivity of your people. Here are 5 things you can do to increase the productivity of your team.

1. Implement team building activities

Most people thrive in a cooperative working environment involving interaction and support. Groups tend to be more than a sum of their individual parts. A shift in mentality towards working together as a team can have a significant impact on productivity levels. You don’t want a bunch of individuals working on their own projects.

Team building activities are a great way to foster team spirit and collaboration. Team bonding helps employees get to know each other better and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Activities can range from the simple everyday quick wins to professionally organised team building days, such as these group activities and challenges.

2. Ditch micromanaging, encourage autonomy

Most employees find it difficult to deal with a micromanaging boss. A working environment based on a lack of trust isn’t good for employee morale and it isn’t good for productivity. It is widely agreed by psychologists and HR experts that the best way to inspire and motivate your staff is to give them more autonomy and ownership over their work. A recent study from the University of Melbourne found that giving employees autonomy over their work results in higher performance levels and greater loyalty towards their employer.

3. Practise gratitude and show appreciation

A simple thank you goes a long way and can have a significant impact on job satisfaction, engagement, integration and employee retention. Feeling valued in the workplace plays an important role in productivity. There are lots of benefits of gratitude in the workplace, and outcomes change when managers focus on what was done well.

Performance coach Robin Sharma says “Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world.”

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4. Embrace a growth mindset

The term ‘growth mindset’ was coined by author and Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck and her colleagues 30 years ago. Growth mindset is based upon the view that skills and abilities can be developed through a commitment to learning. When students or workers believe they can get smarter, then they put in the extra effort to achieve.

According to online business magazine, Smart Business, growth mindset inspires productivity and creativity. A productive team needs a growth mindset. Training addresses weaknesses and ensures consistency, while personal development builds confidence in employees to take greater risks and challenge themselves. Upskilling also leads to innovation. A robust training and development programme improves employee’ satisfaction, productivity and retention.

5. Be flexible

Employees who are given the flexibility to manage a better work-life balance are usually more productive. In a survey of over 1,000 UK full and part-time employees by Canada Life Group Insurance, 77 per cent of employees who are offered flexible working say it improves their productivity.

The research by Canada Life found that UK productivity is being severely affected by stress and anxiety, with an estimated 9.7 million people saying they feel stressed or anxious because of high workloads and a pressure to perform. The survey found that office workers suffer more stress than those who work from home. Flexible working helps to reduce stress in employees and has a positive impact on productivity.

About the author

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, Recruitment and career development’.

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