The importance of a great workplace culture

Group of business persons handshake in the office

Before joining LAT, this year I graduated from University with a first-class – one of my proudest achievements. One of the main skills that university taught me is how to manage and organise my time. You mostly have to set your own schedule, with most days only consisting of two or three hours of classes. Outside of class, you are free to do what you want – whether that be sleeping, socialising, or studying. Some even chose to sleep rather than go to class – something you definitely can’t do at work! With such a lack of structure, there never seemed to be a clear culture. It wasn’t until I started a job that I saw the important role that culture plays in the workplace.

Alongside my studies, I worked in the HR Department at a large organisation’s head office. Here it was a close-knit team who made me feel really welcome, even though I didn’t know what I was doing at first. The culture was very team-focused, getting the work done together and making sure everything was done accurately and on time.

At LAT I was nervous to take on my first permanent full-time role and wondered what the culture would be like. The team is like a little family; we work really hard when the pressure is on, but always make sure to keep morale up with jokes and chatting about all sorts of things. I was made to feel welcome and part of the team immediately, and feel like I belong already.

There are many studies to support that a positive organisational culture has many benefits, such as higher productivity, high retention rates, and lower absenteeism. I can certainly advocate that working in engaging and positive environments is extremely motivating. Equally, I have also experienced jobs where the culture was quite the opposite – these were not places where employees wanted to stay long-term and therefore there was much less motivation to work hard.

Many organisations spend oodles of time, money and energy on defining visions, values and behaviours, then writing them all down, pinning them up on the wall, publishing brochures and training people in how things SHOULD be done… an organisation’s culture is the reality.

Culture means different things to different people. There are lots of academic papers written about the subject. In simple terms though, it’s about how it is around here, how we do things. It is about the language we use and the way we interact with each other. It is set by the leaders and will be followed, especially if it is a positive culture. I believe we have that at LAT and I am enjoying contributing to the positive environment, and bringing more new people into the organisation to build on the success.