The importance of work culture in a post-pandemic world

Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or for worse.

Simon Sinek

According to a recent Glassdoor poll, workplace culture is the single most important factor for employee satisfaction. It topped the poll of workers in the UK, USA, Canada and France (and came second in Germany.) It was seen as being more important than the performance of senior leadership, career opportunities, and yes, even compensation and benefits. But looking beyond the buzzword, what IS workplace culture, and why, in a post-Covid world, is it still the first thing potential employees look for?

What dictates workplace culture?

Leadership and management

Every employee affects a company’s culture, but none more so than its upper management. 97% of executives polled by Society for Human Resource Management agreed their actions have a direct impact on workplace culture.

Leaders set the tone: are mistakes cause for punishment, or an opportunity to learn? Is wellbeing something the company is passionate about, or an annoying checkbox that has to be ticked? A leader’s reaction to challenges will trickle down, informing every level of a business.


‘Company policy’ involves a lot more than dress code, or when to take a lunch break. The best policies set out a company’s overarching goals, and detail how each and every member of staff can work towards them. They help to foster an inclusive workplace, one of mutual respect and ethical behaviour.

The office itself

Is your office back to its busy old self, post pandemic, or are most people still working remotely? Do you have a common-room, or canteen, where people can meet to discuss ideas and workloads? Is each room open-plan, or are your employees closed off in little cubicles? There’s no right or wrong here – each business will find a set-up that works for them. But these are big decisions that affect more than just floor-plans; they inform your entire workplace culture.


Why is workplace culture so important?

In short, workplace culture is important for companies because it’s important for their employees. It feeds into every aspect of their work life, from knowing what they’re working towards, to their work-life balance.

Your employees become advocates

When your culture resonates with employees, they’ll want to shout from the rooftops about how great their employer is. By establishing goals that your workers believe in, and showing them how their day-to-day contributions move the company closer to those goals, you’ll help your workforce to become invested in the company. And invested employees make for great advocates, both internally and externally.

Team, team, team!

A strong culture, supported by a clear purpose, is one of the most effective ways to transform your company into a single, united team. A clear culture, laid out for all to see, will unite people in every department. People who might share very little in common personally will be able to come together, to work towards a goal they all believe in.

The ROI can be incredible

Talk of teamwork and engaged employees is all well and good, but how does all of this actually affect a company’s bottom line? According to a study by Harvard Business professor John Kotter, the impact is enormous. The study found companies that valued culture:


  • 750%

    Increased profits by 750%

  • 2x

    Doubled their customer satisfaction

  • 4x

    Increased revenue four times faster

…versus companies that didn’t value culture. Involve your employees in a robust, high-performance culture and, it seems, your bottom line will be rewarded.

It’ll make you stand out

Peter Ashworth has this to say about workplace culture: “It is like a fingerprint, it may be similar to others, but is uniquely distinct to your business. Everything else (products, strategies, marketing, even innovations) can be replicated, but the only truly unique identifiers are the values and norms of the organization – its culture, or personality.”

By establishing a clear, identifiable culture, your business will stand out to prospective employees, customers and investors. It is, as Ashworth says, your only truly unique identifier.

The wellbeing factor

Workers who think their company is looking after their wellbeing are 81% less likely to search for a new job in the next 12 months. Whether your wellbeing programme involves flexible working, mindfulness classes, or something else entirely, workers that feel cared for are much more likely to be invested in their jobs.

How The WOW! Awards can help

Over 20 years ago, we set out to uncover the personal, human stories at the heart of every business. To celebrate the little moments of human gold, and champion the companies that foster an inclusive, rewarding workplace. In 2022, we believe that mission is more relevant than ever.

The WOW! Awards are:

  • Engaging. Recognising your employees’ hard work cultivates a healthy, rewarding company culture.
  • Inclusive. We’re the only recognition programme on the market that’s judged independently, so we don’t suffer from hidden internal bias.
  • Supportive. At a time when employee wellbeing is all-important, The WOW! Awards help individuals to feel truly valued by customers and employees alike.
  • Motivational. We read every single submission, from customers and employees alike, so good work never goes unrecognised.