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Good workplace culture can be critical for success

Susan Katz

Good workplace culture has always played a role in a company’s hiring, growth and success. Now, though, this culture is even more critical.

“Right now it is particularly important to have a good culture because retention has become so critical because organizations are having such a difficult time hiring good talent,” said Susan Katz, CEO of Susan Katz Advantage business coaching. “… There are a lot of people resigning. Employees have a lot more choices both salary-wise and culture-wise.”

Katz notes a big reason why employees stay with an organization is because of the culture.

“You can make all the money in the world and if you are not in a good environment, you are likely to go someplace else.”
Shaney Pendleton, All Walks of Life‘s COO, observes a workplace culture guides the temperament of an organization including whether or not people come to work excited and eager to perform.

“Having an excellent culture amongst the staff at all levels — how they view management, how they view each other, the work that they are doing — it impacts everything,” she said.

Eileen Levitt, founder and CEO of The HR Team, notes having a good workplace culture is important but understanding your culture is also vital.

“I may think one culture is bad and you may think another culture is awesome,” she said. “You need a good culture to be successful regardless but how do you define culture?”

She has known companies to pay 20% above market rate and employees worked there because they were making more money.

Others had pay below-market but offered flexibility which was important to those employees for their career.

Eileen Levitt

Levitt says she often has companies telling her they have no culture which is not true. “They don’t know what it is,” she said. “They don’t understand and appreciate what their culture is. They think there isn’t a culture but there always is a culture. The question then is why don’t you know what your employees perceive it to be because, trust me, they think there is something.”

If companies are looking to strengthen their cultures, Katz believes employees must get aligned with their work.

She gives the example of a writer taking on an accounting job. The employee will most likely not be good at the position because it is not their strength so they will probably not stay there so it is important to put a person in a job suited for them.

She notes employees need to feel the term HUAA — Heard, Understood, and Appreciated. The most important aspects to employees at some top-performing companies include knowing what is expected of them in their jobs and having the tools/resources to get their work done.

“Mostly people want to come to work and do a good job,” Katz said.

Having an open-door policy at every level with the ability for everyone to interact can help strengthen a company’s culture, according to Pendleton. Consistency in messaging is also critical.

Remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic has made creating strong cultures more difficult. Some offices have moved to a hybrid model where employees come in for a few days and then work remotely for the remainder of the week. Katz notes those spontaneous gatherings at the coffee machine or popping into someone’s office for a quick chat are getting lost.

“Creating spontaneous connections in a remote environment can be challenging and can be done with some intentional effort,” she said.

She suggests structuring some virtual meetings that start by asking employees random questions about their favorite food or what they did over the weekend. This allows folks to connect in a more spontaneous way remotely.

Women Who Lead This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Women Who Lead: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Women Who Lead (formerly Path to Excellence) magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Women Who Lead.