How to create a positive workplace culture

As the world of work and business continues to change; attracting, retaining and developing the right employees is vital for business success, and given that many teams are now working in a hybrid way – how can businesses create those dream workplaces?

Positive culture – positive employees?

A positive company culture is no longer seen as a desirable element, it is now seen as a essential. With so many changes happening, it is increasingly important to consider how employees are managed and developed.

Creating a positive culture is no longer about free fruit Tuesdays, the annual pay increase or the Christmas bonus, whilst they may be lovely gestures, but they are simply not enough to hold the levels of engagement expected by businesses, nor is it proven to achieve employee loyalty. As the world of work has changed and as different generations are now working together, employees are all driven by different things and the desirable elements that employees seek when selecting an employer are flexibility, meaningful work and autonomy, creating a sense of balance within their daily lives.

Another workplace fad?

It is easy to view culture as a fad, but having regular conversations about conflict at work with my clients, I can say first hand that I do not believe that it is a fad and can be backed up with evidence. A recent survey suggested that a third of jobseekers would reject their dream job if the business culture was a negative one.

The role of HR

HR are often seen as the drivers behind workplace cultures, but it is in fact everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the working environment is a happier place to be. One of the strongest engagement tools that can be used is line managers. They know their people better than anyone and they are then enabled to not only manage their employees effectively, but they are in a position where they can win hearts and minds. Additionally, they can provide a view to senior management in order to obtain support and put employee wellbeing as a priority. It is important to keep in mind that this doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a great deal of trust from senior management and from the employees, so the people in the middle need to be able to use their knowledge and skills to influence at both sides. With this in mind, it takes consistent efforts and investment, which is sadly not often seen an a business priority, but if these elements are in place, this can help to create a positive working environment for everybody.


Let’s face it, the fundamentals of any employment relationship are based upon trust. Trust can be a great opportunity, it has the ability to bring people from the unknown to the familiar. A great example of this is retailer Amazon, I’m sure we’ll all agree that it is pretty much a part of our every day lives, but in fact, it has taken many years of building trust with its customers, creating its reputation of reliability and convenience. Over the next few years, we will certainly experience significant changes and without trust, this can create a toxic culture within which energy that could be spent on productivity is actually spent on office politics, which I’m sure you’ll agree is time, money and energy wasted which could be better spent elsewhere.

By definition trust is also a confident relationship with the unknown, it enables us to feel comfortable with the unfamiliar. Being vulnerable is at the heart of trust and that is why it is incredibly damaging and hurtful when it breaks down.


The authenticity of business leaders, accountability, ethical working practices, empowerment, fair management all have an important part to play in promoting a positive culture. By creating an environment within which employees feel empowered and working with purpose increase productivity and get employees working to their full potential. Additionally, it isn’t a secret that a key to attracting and retaining the best talent is by giving employees purpose and making them feel valued. By being transparent and starting with small actions, this can be a great starting point to creating a positive culture.

One size does NOT fit all!

There is no one size fits all when it comes to effective leadership, however, there are many ways to encourage a positive culture through the workplace. By being open minded, line managers are able to identify the expectations and needs of employees, they can then tailor their approach to their employees. If managers are responsive to the changing environments and combine this with a flexible approach, this can enable effective management of negative behaviours quickly and establish new ways of working. Again trust has an important part to play as the new ways of working are established, this may include delegation of tasks which many people are generally uncomfortable with.


Management and leadership skills are difficult to find and should never be taken for granted, training and ongoing support through initiatives such as mentoring enable managers to become successful leaders. If organisations fail to support managers appropriately, they risk setting them up for a fall especially in cases of promotion, the employee may be great at what they do, but are they then promoted for that fact into a role beyond the scope of their capability? By investing in development, this can avoid this common mistake made by too many employers.

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