Striking the right tone: getting your organisational values and culture in shape
In the last of our three-part series exploring the findings of IOSH’s recent survey into how people are feeling at work, we take a look at what they told us about organisational values and cultures.
What the results told us
The survey respondents were given a series of statements and asked which ones applied to them. The following results give the percentage of respondents who said the statements did apply to them.
- 47% - I understand the values and the goals of the organisation and think they fit with my own outlook
- 62% - I give my best when I am at work, and sometimes give more than I have even been asked to
- 52% - I feel a sense of loyalty to my employer and would prefer to continue working for them rather than finding work elsewhere
- 64% - There are people within my organisation who are always on hand to help me if I want or need it
- 51% - Whether it comes from my co-workers, my line manager, senior management or a combination of all three, I feel supported by them
- 51% - I feel appreciated by people within my organisation for who I am and for the work I do
- 38% - Individuals’ work practices, dedication and outputs are acknowledged via both informal and formal means, while their individual needs are always accounted for
- 61% - I have meaningful and healthy relationships with my colleagues
- 49% - At work, I feel a sense of connectedness with people. I feel that people care for me, and there are people whom I care for
Managers and leaders
- 64% - Employees throughout the organisation are able to form positive, supportive and equitable relationships among both their peers and senior management
- 62% - These relationships are enhanced because of a culture of fairness, inclusivity and recognition supporting them
- 57% - Employees feel a sense of belonging and connection to each other, and also to the values and the identity of the organisation
IOSH Thought Leadership Manager Dr Chris Davis gives his view on the findings.
It feels to me that the final part of this series of reflections should be encouraging and provide readers with a way to take something positive from these findings.
On the surface, though, the figures included above don’t make for comfortable reading: only around half of workers reported loyalty to their employers, with the other half presumably considering moving elsewhere; even fewer workers reported that their dedication and outputs were sufficiently recognised at work; and many managers and C-Suite Execs (around one in four) acknowledge that the conditions in their organisations are unable to support more equitable and inclusive relationships, worker feelings of belonging, and so on.
Nevertheless, another of the more outwardly alarming findings of the survey actually provides one of the more actionable takeaways from it. Fewer than half of all respondents to the survey suggested that they understood or related to the values and goals of their organisation. And while this is concerning, it helps to contextualise many of the other findings in the survey because it gives a good indication of the esteem in which workers hold the organisations they work for.
If we assume that the values of an organisation guide the choices that employees make, then it would be reasonable to suggest that workers who do not understand or relate to values may feel somewhat disillusioned with their work in a general sense.
There is no quick fix to this, but the power of clear, people-centred values is unquestionable – especially for OSH professionals, for whom values and principles are front and centre. In this respect, let’s be positive and see the opportunity here for OSH professionals to champion values such as prevention, care, and wellbeing in a way that workers can really get behind.
By doing so, they will be playing a part – and an important one at that – in re-engaging workers who urgently need to feel part of their organisations.
What employers can do
As part of its Catch the Wave drive, IOSH has developed a series of bite-sized e-learning courses.
Among these is the ‘Overarching’ course, which is aimed at understanding the broad organisational factors that influence the delivery and effectiveness of safety and health activities.
Find out more about this and other courses on our dedicated webpage here.
Check out part one of our series here. Part two can be found here.
You can read our news release on the worker survey here.
About the survey
In October 2022, IOSH commissioned BF Media to survey workers, line managers and senior leaders on how people were feeling at work. Responses were received from 2,152 workers and 992 managers (714 line managers and 278 senior leaders), all of whom were based in the UK and worked for companies with five or more employees.