The key to turning bad culture around

Businesses with high staff absenteeism levels are being urged to address their business culture, as research shows sick leave is costing the economy millions of dollars each year. Here are some ideas for how to improve your workplace environment.

According to a Direct Health Solutions survey, every sick day taken by an employee costs a business around $385 and as one in 40 workers take sick leave each day, this figure adds up.

The link between high absenteeism and poor business culture is well recognised, so Dynamic Business spoke to Red Scout founder and culture expert Simone Pedersen about what it takes to build a workplace employees love being in.

Good business culture is vital to not just cut down sick days, but also to boost profitability and ensure the business maintains its competitive edge.

“The culture of a business attracts the best people. If a company has a reputation for a great work environment it will attract the good talent, and those are the people who drive a business – and ultimately this will put you ahead of your competitors,” she said.

Pedersen believes business culture flows down the chain of command, which means the way a leader operates a business has a strong influence on the workplace.

“A leader needs to be someone who is visionary, whether it is a small or large business. Also, a good business strategy needs to be put into place and they need to be able to implement this effectively.”

Also vital, is for managers to be able to relate to and work with different people such as those in different levels – whether they be frontline staff or senior managers.

Turning bad culture on its head

Pedersen speaks from personal experience when it comes to changing the culture of a business. She once worked for a company that failed to achieve its objectives due largely to the fact its employees were left uninspired by management.

“Through a change of leadership and management, within three years that culture was flipped on its head – and it is one of the most dynamic retail companies globally now,” she said.

The culture turnaround came about after the company brought in a new president who was dynamic and inspiring, resulting in a change of attitude amongst employees.

“She had a real strategy and vision for the business which was passed on to the senior management team and so on,” Pedersen said.

“She spoke about her vision with so much energy that we all took it on and interpreted it within our different departments. We were really inspired to pass it on to our team and it went on,” she added.

The entrepreneur admits that it did take a few years to see results, though.

“It isn’t something that can be done overnight but it is possible,” she said.

Simone Pedersen is speaking at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Business Series, which will be held in September. Click here for more details

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