Government agencies are no different from private sector businesses when it comes to benefitting from a positive culture. Improving your workplace culture can reduce friction among employees, lower stress, promote knowledge sharing and improve employee health. It can also improve retention and decrease absenteeism. The bottom line: good organizational culture creates employees who achieve better results and in turn, have greater job satisfaction.
An organization’s culture is the shared behaviours, beliefs and values carried out and supported by the agency. It’s especially important when multiple generations are working together—despite their differences—to achieve a common goal. For ways to improve your workplace culture, keep reading.
Obtaining a positive public sector culture
- Hire for cultural fit: Turnover due to poor cultural fit costs organizations 50 to 60 percent of the replaced employee’s salary, so keeping employees is vital. Start early by assessing for a cultural match during the interview. Good questions include: What type of environment do you thrive in? Why do you want to work here? And, what is it about our culture that attracts you to this position?
- Create and promote a shared vision: Employees may appreciate knowing how their individual contributions help the agency and those it serves. Create a vision for your department that outlines where the agency is going and how each employee can help get there. Share your vision in your company handbook and by imprinting it on banners and mouse pads.
- Provide feedback and opportunity for growth: Change is good for organizational culture. Offer feedback—on the good and the bad—and make sure to ask for feedback, too. Provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills and develop themselves professionally.
- Be flexible: Increasingly, organizations are improving organizational culture by building a work/life balance into it. Consider offering employees flexible schedules, job sharing opportunities or the chance to work from home. Provide the support employees need to get the job done, such as remote email access, servers and other helpful applications.
- Show employees the love: Be sure your culture is one associated with gratitude. Don’t wait for annual reviews—show employees their contributions are noticed early and often. Reward jobs well done with verbal recognition, handwritten notes of thanks or small tokens of appreciation—logo’d desk caddies, Media Loungers or ear buds make nice gifts.
A good organizational culture is good for business. Begin improving your organizational culture by hiring for a cultural fit, sharing your vision, providing feedback and growth opportunities, being flexible and letting employees know they’re appreciated. For more on the topic, check out our Company Culture Blue Paper.
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