The evolution of the modern workplace has been an undertaking that has been decades in the making. Businesses are moving away from the traditional hierarchical structure, instead opting to give employees more autonomy to take risks that will pay off for the client and organization in the short and long-term future.

The recent changes to the modern workforce culture have urged C-suite executives to adjust how they conceptualize their company culture. Since only 12% of executives believe that their companies are driving the “right culture,” we can see that there is a definite disconnect between how modern workplace cultures are currently structured and how they must be built to sustain business in the future. Without further ado, let’s dive into just how the modern workplace culture is changing and how your organization can survive the shift and effectively improve your company culture in the process.

Workplace Culture

Many companies have been outspoken in wanting to squeeze as many hours out of their salaried employees as possible. These high-performance cultures offer attractive salary packages, but maintain high expectations and low job security.

These cultures put all the emphasis into the final product, not putting any consideration into how it was created, who it was created by, and how many man hours it took to create it. Many founders and CEOs in these types of cultures end up glorifying workers who can consistently work 70-80 hours per week...that is, until those same workers burn out, quit, and it requires two people to replace them to sustain their efforts. This workplace culture addiction to being busy is not sustainable and does your workplace culture a major disservice in the long-term.

The positive is that it seems that this type of toxic workplace culture is starting to shift with 94% of executives and 88% of employees in firm belief that a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. In short, employees want to feel valued for the work that they do, and executives want to find ways that engage and motivate employees to stick around for a while.

To do this, your company’s workplace culture shouldn’t be the aspect of your organization that is simply written off because it can’t be quantified in terms of profit and ROI. It should be developed and tweaked to ensure that it leads to more satisfied and productive employees with the ultimate result of increasing the company profitability.

Collaborative Workspaces

Researchers recently concluded that once employees were situated in a collaborative workspace, their personal social interactions decreased by 70%, while the number of emails increased by anywhere between 20 to 50%. These numbers may be pleasing to see for a C-suite executive driven by the goal of increasing employee productivity, but in reality, the numbers show that this type of work environment is ultimately leading to a toxic workplace culture. Finding a balance between a collaborative and private workplace environment will help your employees become more comfortable, productive, and (most importantly) happy.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Working collaboratively isn’t all bad news, but there is a growing shift in employee appreciation for the occasional need to work alone. Flexible work arrangements are a solution for companies looking to accommodate their employee’s personal commitments into their work schedule, thus allowing them to strike a better work-life balance in the long-term. Flexible remote work arrangements take this one concept one step further and can help companies save on fixed costs and allow them to optimize their office space and reduce their utility bills.

More companies are flocking towards this option lately with 43% of American workers currently working remotely (a 4% increase in 4 years), and with 31% of workers spending more than 80% of their time working remotely (a 7% increase in 4 years). Even with these flexible work arrangements, 71% of global employees surveyed recently agreed that their professional life currently interferes with their personal life. 72% of global employees from the same survey said that they would happily work four days or less per week if their salary remained the same.

Organizational Culture

Many startups come out of the gate with a harsh organizational culture that immediately pits a plethora of small internal teams against each other in political infighting (every team for itself) merely to continue operating at the current pace. This type of organizational culture is not sustainable.

Organizing your company’s hierarchy to accommodate the flow of information from the top down allows you to have more control, but you should still look to your teams in the trenches for key insights into client communications. This reorganization of company hierarchies allows your organization the opportunity to drive its company culture in an inclusive format while still functioning within the parameters of its underlying mission statement.

Many companies, once they begin growing at a rapid pace, lose sight of their original mission statement to focus on championing the political infighting that they feel creates more competition and thus, more chances for increases to their workforce productivity. Maintaining a flexible, yet rigid mission statement that can handle an organizational culture shift will allow a company to continue evolving with each future shift in organizational productivity trends.

Executives must remain focused on their current company mission to ensure that any future messages they communicate to their employees are in line with the structure of their organizational culture. To ensure positive employee engagement, executives should focus on communicating organizational needs in a tone that focuses on sensitivity, openness, and curiosity, rather than ultimate authority.

Company Culture Ideas

Organizations that don’t invest in their own employees are doing their business a disservice in the long-run. Investing in employees and having them rally around a value-centered culture dedicated to fulfilling a common mission is the key part of the formula companies must adopt to elevate their productivity and ultimately increase their profitability. If bootstrapped firms don’t have the time or budget to afford training programs for their teams, they need to get creative with their internal training programs.

The first idea that comes to mind is to develop an internal mentorship program to pass on business, career, organizational and professional knowledge. This type of program would present employees who may be feeling stagnant in their professional development within the organization the motivation to continue configuring the future strategic direction for the company.

Company mentorship programs have been slowly shifting away from the traditional style of solely professional knowledge transfer from senior managers to junior level employees. Modern mentorship programs involve a trusted relationship between both parties where personal and professional growth occurs simultaneously.

This type of modern mentorship program was implemented at Sun Microsystems and researchers found that after seven years, the company’s employee retention rates climbed 69% for the mentors and 72% for the mentees. This increase in retention rates allowed the organization to save roughly $6.7 billion in avoided staff turnover and replacement costs during that seven-year period.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, a staggering 47% of professionals say that they are proud to work for their current company due to its positive culture that allows them to be themselves. To implement the necessary changes to develop a positive company culture, executive leadership must spearhead the transition in a way that ensures the company’s employees benefit in the long-term.

Whether these changes are driven via technological innovations or advancements in flexible work arrangements, executives can utilize these ideas to improve company culture and stay sustainable and profitable in the future.

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