What is “workplace culture” and why is it important? The term is relatively new, and it encompasses several elements. Essentially, it refers to the atmosphere of the workplace. It is the look, the feel and the vibe on the sales floor, in the office, behind the front desk or in the dining room of a restaurant. It affects the attitude of your employees and is reflected back at you by customers.

A negative culture at work results in dissatisfied employees, poor performance, higher turnover and, ultimately, unhappy customers.

Creating a positive environment will translate into increased revenue. Make your place of work somewhere customers and employees want to return, not a source of resentment, bad service and fear. Nobody wants to work (or shop) in a stressful environment, so it’s important to understand that building a successful workplace culture starts at the top of the food chain.

The trickle-down effect

The culture of the workplace starts at the top, trickling down from owner to management, and then to hourly workers. Hourly workers are the people your customers associate with your brand, so their importance to your business cannot be overstated.

For some businesses, a workplace culture built on a rigid style of management is the rule, while others have a more flexible and creative vibe. Both types of workplace culture can work; it’s really about the attitude and professionalism of you and your team, so hiring people who fit into the culture is key.

Improving workplace culture increases business

Workplace culture needs to be communicated to your employees from day one. Take a moment and observe your team. Do they look pleased to be there? Are they helpful and attentive to each other and your customers?

Re-examine your company’s mission statement and get feedback from your employees about how to enhance your corporate culture. Happy employees attract happy customers by providing better service and value, and creating a cheery and productive environment translates into bigger profits. Here are a few ways to improve your workplace culture:

Hire the right people: Do you run a tight ship? Then be sure to hire employees craving structure, as certain people thrive on knowing what to expect day in and day out. However, if the atmosphere at your company is more free- flowing and innovative, hire creative people who perform best within a looser structure and have a “think outside of the box” mentality.

Communicate: Keep the lines of communication open. Knowing what is happening within your team is key to maintaining a healthy work environment. After all, how can you build a positive culture unless you know what is and isn’t working? Be sure to speak with both authority and compassion in your day-to-day dealings.

Show you care: Being mindful of your employees, the products or services you sell and the customers who buy them will go a long way toward creating a healthy workplace culture. Be genuine, and appreciate the entire spectrum of experiences on the job. Your enthusiasm will inspire your team to work harder and cultivate happier customer experiences. Set the tone with your actions and words.

Business thrives in productive cultures that encourage associates to be their best. Stand head and shoulders above your competition by making your company a great place to work – your customers will love you for it.