What Is Workplace Culture and How To Build a Positive One

What Is Workplace Culture and How To Build a Positive One
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 15 December, 2023

When it comes to any workplace organization, workplace culture acts as the heart that pulses through every facet of the business. It's the personality of a company. It shapes how employees interact with each other and their work.  

This is why having a positive workplace culture can have a tremendous impact on employee morale, engagement, and productivity. It creates a sense of belonging and allows employees to thrive. It can even contribute to the organization's success. 

Once you understand company culture, you can then work towards building a positive workplace culture. We'll provide practical tips and strategies to help you cultivate the ideal positive environment. Here's what we'll cover:  

What is company culture? 

Team working together

Company culture is part of workplace culture that includes the values, behaviors, and expectations that define the work environment. It also includes how people interact and work toward the company's vision and mission.  

A healthy company culture in the workplace helps create a positive atmosphere. It encourages employee engagement and commitment. This can contribute to the organization's overall success and reputation. 

Organizational culture is even bigger than company culture. It includes everything that affects employees' behavior, such as their values, beliefs, and rules. On the other hand, workplace culture is a part of organizational culture. However, the workplace culture definition focuses more on how people act and feel in their work environment. It's all about the everyday interactions and experiences of the employees there. 

Various elements help shape workplace culture, including:  

  • leadership style 
  • communication practices 
  • recognition and reward systems 
  • physical work environment 
  • work-life balance 

Leaders play a crucial role as they set the tone for values and decision-making. Communication done through leaders impacts information flow and employee connection to company goals. Other factors to consider include recognition and rewards, as this affects motivation and contributes to a culture of appreciation. Overall, supporting work-life balance through the best policies contributes to a positive overall culture. 

Company culture types 

Workplace culture is different for many organizations. Business professors Robert E. Quinn and Kim Cameron define four main types of company culture

  • Adhocracy culture: This is a creative and fast-paced environment that values innovation.  
  • Clan culture: This collaborative culture thrives on teamwork and values each employee's input. 
  • Hierarchy culture: This structured work environment follows established roles and processes. 
  • Market culture: This goal-oriented work culture focuses on achieving targets and attaining objectives. 

The culture of each company is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are other factors that can affect your workplace culture. For example, your organization's size can affect your success with any of these culture types. Other items that may affect your culture include structure and objectives. That's why taking a step back and understanding your company's culture is important.  

Why is it important to build a positive company culture? 

Employees like to feel a strong connection with their co-workers. They want to understand what their company stands for. In other words, they want a happy and positive work environment that supports them and their needs.  

A positive work environment happens when people have meaningful jobs. They talk openly with each other and share important values. When a worker becomes a part of this great work atmosphere, they usually don't want to leave. Introducing new hires to this culture often helps companies get and keep the best employees.  

A positive work environment changes and grows based on what the workers need and think. It can also help fix problems that may make the work environment not so great, as a positive work environment encourages open discussions. When these solutions are in place, employees can do their jobs better and enjoy their work. 

Elements of workplace culture 

Leaders and managers can improve staff behavior by making smart decisions. You'll find putting effort into important elements of workplace culture can help. Done right, leaders can create a friendly and welcoming environment that keeps talented people around. As a leader, here's what you can do to improve work culture: 

  • Promote teamwork and collaboration. It can encourage a sense of unity and cooperation among employees.  
  • Give recognition and rewards to boost morale and motivation.  
  • Ensure alignment between the company's language, values, and actions to create consistency. This builds trust and confidence in the organization.  
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits. This shows appreciation for employees, enhancing their job satisfaction. 
  • Encourage a healthy work-life balance to promote well-being and reduce stress. 
  • Treat staff with compassion and respect. This creates a supportive and respectful atmosphere.  
  • Build a diverse and inclusive workforce. This results in a varied mix of viewpoints that sparks creativity and contributes to a positive workplace atmosphere. 

Examples of great workplace cultures 

A happy work environment is when everyone enjoys their job and works well together, leading them to stay for a long time. That happens when everyone shares values and goals. Here are five good workplace culture examples that companies can learn from. 

Task-oriented culture 

Some companies focus on getting tasks done efficiently. Team members work hard and enjoy the thrill of success. To build this culture, make sure there are good processes in place. Let employees show they can be efficient, and give them clear tasks and deadlines. 

Results-driven culture 

In this culture, the company sets clear goals that everyone can see. Team members report on how their work contributes to these goals. Celebrate when goals are met and be transparent about progress. This keeps everyone motivated. 

Connected culture 

In a connected culture, employees feel accepted and valued. Team members care about each other, and leaders focus on good communication. This keeps employees happy and engaged. Consider team-building activities to help build these connections, even if people work from home. 

Innovative culture 

An innovative culture inspires new and creative ideas. The company encourages out-of-the-box thinking and sees failure as a learning opportunity. To strengthen this culture, set aside a day for new ideas. Encourage employees to share and reward the most creative suggestions. 

Fun-at-work culture 

A good workplace is also a fun place. There's a positive atmosphere, and people enjoy their work. To nurture this kind of culture, celebrate achievements. Schedule fun team-building activities, and let employees display their unique personalities. 

Examples of negative workplace cultures  

Leaders can learn a lot from bad company culture. Knowing the signs of a toxic culture and how to change it can help prevent or fix a poor work environment. Here are some warning signs. 

High employee turnover  

When many good employees leave a company, it may mean the work atmosphere isn't good. To prevent this, try helping your team with proper training, tools, and chances to grow. High employee turnover is expensive and hurts the whole organization. 

Lack of communication 

Teamwork and success need good communication. A manager that doesn't encourage working together may encounter problems. Team members might even quit over time. 

Poor work-life balance  

It's not good when people have to work a lot without breaks. Employers may think it helps boost productivity but hurts their employees' morale. In turn, this can actually have a negative effect on their productivity. 

Not rewarding excellent workers 

Employees may leave if a company doesn't pay or reward its best workers. Saying good things isn't enough. Leaders need to show they appreciate good work. Try using incentives or other tangible rewards. 

Poor management styles 

An ineffective or poor management style can affect the organization negatively. Signs that a manager isn't effective include people leaving and unhappy team members. Employees should feel comfortable talking to managers about workplace concerns. 

How to build your company culture 

Team positive bonding

Having a strong company culture is important for business success. Let's break down the steps for building or changing workplace culture. 

Define your values 

Start by figuring out what values are important to your company. That includes how people treat each other and what the work expectations are. Gather your leadership team and decide on the values you want to be the heart of your company culture. Examples of these are sustainability, respect, transparency, kindness, equality, and innovation.  

Set goals 

Just like you set goals for your business, you can do the same for your company culture. Consider your values and how you want to apply them. If diversity is important, set goals like ensuring an inclusive workplace. If work-life balance is key, set a goal for every employee to take some time off each year. Having clear objectives helps turn your cultural ideas into action. 

Ask your team 

Your employees are the ones living and breathing the company culture every day. So ask them what they want. Send out surveys, get feedback, and learn what they like and what could be better.  

Make a plan 

Think about how to bring your culture into everyday work. For example, give time off for cultural holidays to create an inclusive environment. Your company culture is all about how people experience work every day. Plan how to make it part of your daily work life. 

How to sustain a positive work culture 

Creating a positive workplace culture is fantastic, but it's equally important to sustain it. Here are some tips for keeping that positivity alive. 

Leadership commitment 

  • As a leader, show a positive attitude. It sets the tone for the workplace. 
  • Keep everyone informed about the company's values and goals. Leaders should communicate and reinforce the importance of a positive work culture. 

Employee involvement 

  • Create channels for employees to share their thoughts and ideas. This involvement fosters a sense of belonging and shows that their opinions matter. 
  • Acknowledge and celebrate achievements, both big and small. Recognizing hard work boosts morale and encourages a positive environment. 

Continuous improvement 

  • Stay open to change and be willing to adapt. A strong culture evolves with the needs and dynamics of the team. 
  • Provide opportunities for skill development and personal growth. Investing in your employees helps them feel valued and supported. It can foster a positive working environment. 


Understanding workplace culture enables you to shape a workplace that aligns with your organization's beliefs and improves your team's performance. Whether you're already working on your company culture or starting fresh, know that your actions make a positive difference. So, let's all join together in keeping our workplace vibes positive and encouraging. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

  1. Can positive company culture lead to increased productivity? 
    Yes, a strong workplace culture can boost output. When employees feel motivated, supported, and engaged, they work more efficiently and creatively. This can lead to increased productivity
  2. How does positive workplace culture affect employee turnover rates? 
    ⁠A great company culture often reduces employee turnover rates. Employees who enjoy their work environment, feel valued, and connect to the company's values are more likely to stay. This leads to lower turnover. 
  3. What are the benefits of a positive company culture? 
    ⁠Healthy cultures have many benefits. It improves employee morale, productivity, and collaboration. It also lowers turnover rates and encourages creativity and innovation. An organization with a positive culture can also attract top employees. 
  4. How does workplace culture affect employees? 
    ⁠Workplace culture influences employees' attitudes, behaviors, and job satisfaction. A positive culture fosters a sense of belonging, motivation, positive feeling, and overall well-being. A negative culture can lead to stress in the workplace. It can also lead to dissatisfaction and decreased productivity. 
  5. Why is leadership commitment important in building a positive workplace culture? 
    ⁠Leadership commitment is crucial to building a positive workplace culture because leaders set the tone for the entire organization. Leaders who show commitment to positive values and behaviors establish a lasting company culture. Employees are more likely to follow suit when leadership promotes a positive culture. 
  6. What is the difference between organizational culture vs. workplace culture? 
    ⁠Organizational culture is bigger than workplace culture. It includes employees' beliefs and values. It also includes the practices and processes in place that define the organization. Workplace culture is part of organizational culture. It's how employees interact with each other and behave in their work environment. 

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