Why is 2022 The Year of Workplace Culture?

5 min

It seems that the entire workforce is hopeful that 2022 will be ‘The Year of Workplace Culture’ – whether this shift has been termed the great re-structure, great re-design, or great re-think, each carries the same memo; the companies who will succeed will be the ones who put their employee’s needs first.  

But what is causing the urgency to focus on workplace culture? And what exactly needs to change in the world of work for it to be great?

The current workplace climate

Employers are currently struggling to attract and retain top talent 

Last year numerous reports recognised an emerging trend: ‘The Great Resignation’ as the next big workplace disruptor. According to a report by Microsoft named: ‘The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work’, the taste of flexibility through remote-centric work would likely cause many to resist going back to their physical office full-time if their workplace did not offer more flexibility, and they were bang on the money.  

As people were given the opportunity to re-imagine their relationship with work, they realised they did not want to go back to the way it was before. This re-imagined world is one where companies put their people first by recognising their priorities.

 Employees have newfound power  

As people are realising that they deserve more, companies who have not adapted have struggled to keep talent. Top talent is hard to both find and keep – it takes a lot of time and money, and the great resignation is far from over. It is now a candidate’s market and with this newfound power, people are urging and pushing companies with substandard company cultures to offer them much more.

The companies that have adapted are thriving 

The leaders who listened to the wake-up calls have initiated and adapted to new working norms. From hybrid working arrangements, championing diversity, investments in creative technologies that allow people to connect and collaborate, to creating enhanced offline employee experiences – those who embraced the change are seeing the benefits of increased productivity and morale, and lower turnover. These companies are the ones who are winning.

How can 2022 be your year of workplace culture? 

Companies can avoid ‘The Great Resignation’ by creating dynamic, and positive (and trusting), workplace cultures. If you are not sure where to start, HappyHQ has selected five key culture goals that you can focus on to ensure you are not left behind.  

1.    Ask people what they want, then act on it
The essence of workplace culture is different for every company, but one thing remains the same for all – leaders must put people at the heart of all decision-making by asking them what they want.  

Like any random experiment, the results of letting company culture shape without insight can be catastrophic. Especially in remote-centric times, how can companies know where to plan and focus their attention without listening to people first? And before you listen, make sure you plan to ask the right questions. It takes much more than asking people how ‘engaged’ they are in their work.

2.    Offer flexibility   

With adaptability high on the agenda, the companies that offer WFH or WFA options are attracting a wider skillset and talent pool, which would have otherwise, been overlooked. And while every employer has diverse needs numerous studies show that UK workers would like more flexibility, such as The Work Trend Index by Microsoft. 

For flexibility to work, the traditional 9-5pm needs to be re-imagined by giving people the autonomy to choose how to work around their home life. People will thrive more if they have a proper distinction between ‘work time’ and ‘personal time,’ so make sure you encourage healthy work habits to create positive experiences, such as the right to disconnect to avoid ‘digital presenteeism.’

3.    Place importance on company purpose   

People want more meaning from their job than just a good payslip and it has never been more important for companies to create job purpose. Defining what you stand for does not need to be related to creating positive environmental or social impact (although those who do will have an advantage).

At the very least, define your company’s purpose (why you exist beyond profit) so everyone’s jobs role and goals can be devoted to something much bigger that their day-to-day tasks.

4.    Create opportunities to connect  

We do our best work when we feel a genuine sense of connection. In fact, quality, genuine relationships in the workplace have been scientifically proven to positively impact overall success of the company, as people are more likely to actively share ideas, problem-solve, and overcome obstacles together.

To feel a sense of connection it takes trust, pride, respect, strong work ethic, and lots of fun and laughter for this to happen. The inconsequential (and often random) interactions with colleagues, are in fact what bonds relationships and builds tight-knitted teams.

Without a physical space for these informal collisions to happen organically, it becomes even more important to create opportunities for people to come together in a virtual setting – so create lots of opportunities for people to connect to feel re-charged, energised and refreshed.

5.    Positive leaders

The leaders who make people the happiest, most productive and enable people to reach their true potential are those who lead with trust, empathy, and kindness. Positive leaders are also self-aware, inspiring, collaborative, and inclusive.

What separates the good from the great are the leaders who ignite a sense of shared purpose to create positive change. They ensure the company’s vision is clearly understood amongst teams and create initiatives so that people feel engaged in the company’s mission.

They must also welcome feedback as a means for constant improvement.

In summary, when it comes to workplace culture, we really cannot tell people how they should feel, instead, we must cultivate an environment that listens, plans, and adapts by listening to everyone’s perceptions, feedback, and ideas on ways your company culture can improve.

If you are already doing all these things, remember, all change must be ingrained within a company’s unique culture, values, and purpose.  Happy people are extremely important for the survival and performance of any company, and people deserve much better from their place of work.

At HappyHQ we are on a mission to create happy workplaces. We work with companies who truly care about their team and want to create the happiest culture they can. To find out how we create happy cultures, contact the team to find out – we would love to chat.  

Finally, if you would like to feel energised, empowered, and inspired to create a positive impact at work, HappyHQ hub is filled with lots of best-practice, tips, case studies, and advice from experts to help get you there.

Get in touch with one of the team to find out more.

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