Workplace Culture – what does it really mean?
By Sally Marwe
(People & Culture Manager)
My personal interpretation; workplace culture is an intangible, collective feeling within an organisation, guided by policies, values and internal processes that contributes to overall employee happiness, performance and retention. A healthy workplace culture breeds positivity, productivity, engagement, loyalty and wellness. For an organisation with an unhealthy culture, the opposite can be true.
I’m so excited to be able to share my insight on this topic, but before we get to the nuts and bolts, here’s a little bit about me and where my passion for workplace culture comes from!
A little about me…
I grew up in Adelaide, eldest of 4 children. From as early as I can remember, I always had in interest in helping people and learning about what made them tick. After school, I studied Psychology for a short while but soon deferred Uni to work and travel. The independence that came with working full-time quickly took hold and rather than returning to study, it sparked an interest in small business that I was eager to pursue. Shortly after turning 21, I quit my job and went into business with my mum. Our little fashion boutique grew quite quickly and the business itself evolved A LOT over what was to be an amazing (character building) 11 years. This is where I learned the importance of company culture and how much a happy, thriving team can impact a business. In fact, it is THE KEY to a successful business. In 2017, I followed my partner to Melbourne where I undertook some external study in Management and Leadership, worked in interior design, and continued to work remotely on the business in Adelaide. A new chapter was imminent. In 2018, we closed the doors on the boutique and within a few months, I’d landed my ideal job at Revita as Team Experience Coordinator. I was OVER THE MOON! Quite literally, as one door closed, another opened, and I couldn’t have felt more aligned with the role itself.
As Revita evolved and integrated with W&L (to become the great HCA Allied Health we all know and love), so did the need to expand our vision for ‘team experience’! Damned if we were going to let the expansion of our workforce compromise our mission to ensure only the highest level of support for our AHPs. Alas.. in early 2020, the People & Culture Team was born!
The mission of our People & Culture Team is to cultivate collectiveness, engagement, wellbeing and empowerment in the workplace – all with the ultimate goal of achieving a great workplace culture.
There are many ways to achieve a great workplace culture. Specifics may vary slightly between industries. For the tech giants of the world it may include indoor adult playgrounds with arcade games and napping pods. In healthcare, our approach is focused more on personal connection and unwavering support. At the crux of it, we all share the same belief that a great culture can be founded on the basis of 6 Key Factors.
The way that we communicate in the workplace and when we are representing the workplace. This includes the tone, language, and methods used to communicate as well as the frequency of communication. Effective communication should always be clear, regular and respectful.
- Policies and Internal Processes
The rules that outline entitlements, behavioural norms (what is acceptable/not acceptable) and measures in place to ensure equality, ethics, compliance, safety, inclusivity and opportunity in the workplace. E.g. HR/operational/clinical policies, recruitment, gold standard credentialing, on-boarding, flexible scheduling, multi-layered support, training, professional development and pathways to leadership.
Healthy relationships between colleagues as well as with clients and consumers (in our case, the recipients of our healthcare services). Camaraderie between colleagues makes for an enjoyable working environment, builds trust and personal connection. Social catch ups, PD events and regular team meetings are a great way to facilitate this. Relationships built with our healthcare recipients and their families make for meaningful work and a sense of community.
Providing employees with clear direction, support and a sense of purpose. Authentic advocacy of company values and ideologies. Inspiring leadership can keep employees engaged, confident and empowered to do their best work. It also cultivates a sense of pride within the organisation.
- Recognition & Reward
Acknowledging milestones and showing appreciation for great efforts and accomplishments. A simple ‘thank you’, ‘Happy Birthday’, complimentary coffee/lunch, or award nomination are lovely ways to show employees they are valued and recognised. All of which we facilitate at HCA Allied Health.
Showing genuine care for the physical, emotional and financial well-being of employees. This includes an all-encompassing focus on work-life balance, safety, fair remuneration, flexibility, access to personal assistance resources, ongoing support and check-ins from management or other members of the team.
With recent events like bushfires and COVID-19 having impacted the way we see things, the way we live and the way we work, the importance of workplace culture has never been more prevalent.
In times of adversity, we’re given an opportunity to focus on the meaningful things and band together as a community to keep spirits high. In healthcare, it’s a time to remember what important work we’re doing, practice kindness, self-care and continue to check-in with each other regularly.
If anything, the changing landscape has made our drive for an amazing workplace culture stronger than ever.
If you’ve made it to the end, thank you so much for reading!
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes and one that’s certainly part of our ethos at HCA Allied Health..
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford.
Until next time,