Human resources professionals, managers and employees have very different opinions about workplace culture, according to findings of a new study from The Workforce Institute.

The study (The Workforce Institute at Kronos and WorkplaceTrends Employee Engagement Lifecycle Series: Who’s the Boss of Workplace Culture?) asked participants who they believe drives the culture, what’s important to creating a great one and what can destroy workplace culture.

When asked who at their organization most defines workplace culture, HR professionals, managers and employees each felt they were most important:

  • About one-third of HR professionals said that the head of HR defines the culture, while only 10 percent of managers and 3 percent of employees agreed.
  • 26 percent of managers said their executive team defines the culture, while only 11 percent of HR professionals and 9 percent of employees felt the same.
  • 29 percent of employees said employees define workplace culture, with only 9 percent of HR professionals and 13 percent of managers agreeing.
  • 28 percent of employees said they felt that no one defines the workplace culture.

Other survey highlights:

  • Employees listed their top three most important attributes of workplace culture as “pay” (50 percent), “coworkers who respect and support one another” (42 percent) and “work-life balance” (40 percent). In contrast, only 25 percent of HR professionals and 29 percent of managers thought pay would be a top concern, instead choosing “managers and executives leading by example” and a “shared mission and values.”
  • When asked how they strengthen workplace culture, HR professionals and managers listed “training and development” (72 percent and 61 percent, respectively) and “getting feedback from employees and acting on it” (45 percent and 46 percent) as the top strategies.
  • HR professionals and managers said that “a high-stress environment” and “company growth” were most likely to ruin workplace culture, while employees chose “not having enough staff to support goals,” “unhappy/disengaged workers who poison the well,” and “poor employee/manager relationships.”

More than 1,800 U.S. adults responded to the online questionnaire and were segmented into three different survey groups: HR professionals (601 respondents); people managers (604 respondents); and full-time, nonmanaging employees (602 respondents).

Source: Kronos Incorporated