Warm, Enjoyable or Competitive: What do we really think of our workplaces?
Work is work, right? Wrong.
No two workplaces are exactly the same, and as many of us will already know, the culture and people in a workplace can make a huge difference to how you feel at work and how the company operates.
So, what do employees REALLY think of their workplaces?
To find out, Perkbox conducted a study of 2,000 employed Britons to see how people would choose to describe the culture in their workplace, and how this differs or remains similar across different industries.
Firstly, the respondents were segmented into 5 different industries:
- Legal and Finance
- Services (including Marketing; Leisure; HR; and Hospitality)
- Energy and Manufacturing
- Other Sectors
17 different terms were then listed that might be used to describe a workplace culture, including terms such as inventive, creative and open-minded. Respondents were asked to pick the three that they felt best described their place of work.
We take a look at the top four most popular answers below.
Happy to be here – the most common ways to describe places of work are positive
Thinking of traditional industries, such as Law or Accountancy, stereotypes of these workplace cultures might come to mind. You may imagine competitive, deadline-oriented and high-pressure cultures – that’s why it’s so positive to see that such stereotypes are wrong, based on the opinions of people who actually work within them.
The number one way that those in Healthcare (31%), Legal and Finance (29%) and Service (28%) industries describe their workplaces is ‘welcoming’.
We all know that it can be intimidating to start a new job, work with a new team or switch roles, so ensuring you have a ‘welcoming’ culture is of great importance – and thankfully, it seems to be one that most companies are nailing.
Introducing initiatives such as ‘buddy’ schemes for new starters is a brilliant way to help newcomers settle in much faster. It helps to have someone to show new joiners the ropes, introduce them to both colleagues and managers and answer any questions. A welcoming culture should also reduce employee turnover.
The second most common term was ‘collaborative’ – most popular amongst Legal and Finance (27%) and Service (27%) industries.
A Stanford study found that the mere perception of collaborative working on a task can supercharge performance. Those who worked collaboratively, worked 64% longer than solitary peers, whilst also reporting higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels, and a higher success rate – showing that workplaces with this culture are on to a winner.
To find out more, Perkbox also partnered with SEMrush, the online marketing suite, to examine online trends in relation to ‘workplace culture’, looking at data from August 2016 to July 2019.
The findings from this data highlighted that the search term ‘communication in the workplace’ currently stands at a high 543 monthly searches on average, and has been rising in recent months. This positively links with a collaborative culture, showing that people are looking into how best to communicate with those around them, perhaps to gain even stronger results from collaborations, or possibly to make processes run more smoothly.
As opposed to the other industries, the most popular answer with those working in the Energy and Manufacturing industry was ‘predictable’, with 27% choosing this as how they would describe their place of work.
As the survey revealed that this was one of the most popular answers across all industries – it begged the question, is a ‘predictable’ workplace culture, positive or negative?
To answer this question, in a piece called ‘The Power of Predictability’, Harvard Business Review describe ‘By having a culture of predictability, employees know that if they make sacrifices today, they can be confident that they will be rewarded tomorrow.... without predictability, people will not only be too scared to take risks but to take any action at all.’ Meaning that whilst a culture that is ‘predictable’ may sound like it could limit creativity and innovation, the underlying culture may, in fact, enable more to act in this way.
‘Safe’ also reached a top spot – most popular amongst those in the Legal and Finance industry and Healthcare, with 24% of employees in both these industries using this as a way they would describe their workplace.
Creating a culture where employees feel safe to be themselves, and safe to speak and share thoughts, is vital.
Unfortunately, looking into the online search trends in relation to feeling safe at work, the searches for ‘workplace bullying’ have, sadly, remained consistently high, with 7983 monthly searches on average. Whilst it’s positive that ‘safe’ was found to be one of the most popular answers, an ongoing effort must be made to ensure that every single person in the workplace feels this way. With so many searching online around workplace bullying, this may highlight that even more needs to be done when it comes to awareness and education in the workplace.
So, how would you describe your workplace?
Take a look at the least popular ways that Brits would choose to describe their workplaces here.