The role of organisational culture for productivity

A quick summary:

  • Why is productivity important in the workplace? 📖
  • The impacts of a toxic work environment on productivity ☢️
  • Techniques to build more effective and efficient teams ✅
  • Improving workplace productivity with Heka 💚

One thing a lot of leaders fail to achieve is long-lasting employee productivity. The kind of productivity that takes a business from okay to great. In this piece, we’re going to explore the impact a positive work environment has on workplace productivity. 

We’ve done all the heavy lifting, so you as a leader can get back to what matters most. We’ll start by looking at why toxic work environments just don’t work, and how they are hindering employee productivity. Then, we’ll examine the various techniques used by the biggest in business to foster positive workplace culture. 

Why is productivity important?

Before we dive into the techniques you can employ to build a positive work environment and enhance productivity, let’s first look at why it’s important. To begin with, productivity is our ability to focus on what matters most; to carry out a range of tasks, duties and responsibilities to push progress forward. 

When we are our most productive, we work both effectively and efficiently. As a leader, this is very much the pinnacle of a great workforce - a characteristic you should strive to build into your team. 

So, there you have it! If you’re wondering “why is productivity important?” it’s to take your business, team or operation to the next level. What’s more, around 810,000 UK businesses were opened in the fiscal year ending 2021. That’s considered the highest number of launches on record! 

This means that businesses have to work productively or they face falling into the business abyss, as new competitors spring up across the country. 

How a toxic work culture impacts productivity

Although we all want to know how to transform productivity in the workplace, it’s important we acknowledge what doesn’t work. This can help us counteract any red flags of weak workplace culture and poor work performance. 

In fact, in one study, 38% of employees say they decrease the quality of their work in a toxic work environment. 

So, how can we be sure our workforce is working productively if we don’t know what to avoid when it comes to workplace culture?

Poor leadership style

Having a great leadership team is essential to both team success and business objectives. In most cases, a lot of toxic work environments can be corrected with better leadership and management. 

A surprisingly large amount of leaders haven’t received adequate training in people management, and thus see their teams fall apart left, right and centre.  

In the workplace, poor leadership looks like the following: 

  • Employees feel unheard, ignored or neglected by their managers
  • Leaders shoot down the ideas of others and refuse to collaborate
  • Favouritism is evident throughout the company
  • Leaders abuse their power and bully other employees

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you can imagine the negative implications these behaviours have on employee productivity. Of course, people are less likely to work to their best when their ideas and thoughts aren’t valued. 

Similarly, when employees are going through problems in life, they are less likely to speak up when they feel their thoughts and feelings are ignored or ridiculed. 

High employee turnover

Turnover is part and parcel of business. It’s sometimes impossible to completely do away with any level of turnover, as people leave for all kinds of reasons. However, high employee turnover is a different problem altogether. 

In some cases, employees don’t leave without making their feelings heard - even if they have felt ignored throughout the duration of their employment. Their days are numbered, and they will often talk to other employees about why they are departing. This obviously impacts your business reputation and poses a threat to other employees

When thinking about workplace productivity, this behaviour can have a huge influence on both turnover and organisational culture. When we are consumers, we rely heavily on reviews of a product or service. The same can be said with certain jobs and employers; enough negative feedback and our opinions can be swayed. 

You must ensure you are treating your employees (departing or not) with respect. Building a great workplace culture can minimise employee turnover, but also ensure you’re not leaving on a bad note with some employees. 

Rumours have the power to turn your best talent into unproductive and harmful employees. Don’t retaliate… fix your company’s culture issues, and these things with fix themselves. 

Ineffective team-wide communication 

Finally, let’s look at ineffective communication. We all know that a positive work environment and a productive workforce are built on several things: effective communication is one of those. 

This point is especially important if a large segment of your workforce operates remotely. Working from home brought with it a host of problems, one being how to work together from a distance. Luckily, modern technology presents a range of tools and software to make this possible.

Whether remote or not, a lack of communication can cause productivity to suffer tremendously. We rely on communication to discuss ideas, issues, and ways to solve them. It is one of the most important facets of productivity and collaboration. 

If your team feel they are not able to communicate with one another, or managers simply don’t make the effort to catch up with employees, there could be huge room for improving productivity. 

Improving productivity in the workplace

Now we’re aware of various characteristics that diminish productivity in a toxic workplace environment, let’s take a look at ways to improve it. 

Encourage a culture of learning

It’s no secret that we all want to progress in life. We want fresh challenges and ways to improve our skills. It won’t come as any surprise that this also applies to your workforce. To enhance productivity and build a positive organisational culture, encourage a culture of learning. 

Support employees in the quest for learning and development opportunities. When people learn new skills and strategies, they are better prepared for new challenges and problems to solve. This of course can benefit your business just as much as an employee’s personal growth.

Build a transparent workplace culture

Company culture is a funny thing. It can be hard to get right, but easy to get wrong. With the right know-how, leaders can build a robust organisational culture that is destined for success.

What you should also practice is building a transparent culture. Emphasise the culture, policies, expectations and more - don’t let people fall victim to breaking rules they don’t know about. 

When people understand what is expected, they can align their productivity, work ethic and style of collaboration with others in harmony.

Strengthen team-wide communication 

Going back to a point made above, it’s important you strengthen communication if it is failing you. As we’ve already learnt, communication is how we collaborate, problem-solve and work together in the best possible way. 

Poor communication doesn’t just have to be performance-related. A breakdown in catchups and check-ins on how people are doing can also hinder productivity. If employees feel stressed or suffer from anxiety and depression, yet can’t speak up, expect weakened productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.

Consider using things like Slack, Monday, Trello, and any other task management and communication tools. Modern technology is there to use and make the most of - plus, many of these applications are free of charge!

Be realistic with goal setting and expectations


We’ve mentioned a lot about ‘expectations’ here, but your goals and ambitions have to be realistic. If your team feel their KPIs are completely out-of-reach, ask yourself why? Are you expecting too much from your team? In some cases, perhaps not. Yet, if multiple team members are struggling to reach their goals, it could mean something.

When we set out expectations extremely high, we are destined to fail. Each and every one of us often does this, failing to realise that goals need to be realistic and achievable… to be achieved.

Speak with your team to find out what goals they reasonably believe they can achieve. This way, you are working together and not dictating expectations. If your team member suggests goals that just don’t align with your expectations, find ways to support them, not shoot them down. 

Improving productivity in the workplace with Heka

There you have it! You now understand why toxic workplace environments can hinder employee productivity and what techniques you must improve to create a super workforce! Before you go, let’s take a look at how Heka can help transform your business into a healthier, happier workplace and improve productivity. 

Our employee benefits platform has been built with one thing in mind: your team members! We’ve built a wellbeing platform with thousands of experiences to choose from. Whether that’s online therapy, expert financial advice, language learning, sports and fitness or even axe-throwing. 

We understand that personal wellbeing is… personal. It is entirely down to you as an individual how you define wellbeing, and our benefits platform reflects this! 

If you’d like to find out more about Heka, and the kind of benefits it can have on your workforce, get in touch today by speaking with our wellbeing experts!

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