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Happiness in the Workplace

By Donna Cotleanu-Vassallo | HR Specialist Consultant

If you ask your staff members what factorsHappiness in the Workplace would determine their happiness in the workplace – their answers would vary. These would be dependent on their belief system and priorities in their life. It is important not to get lost in the translation and take all factors into consideration, otherwise you will get overwhelmed and ignore them completely. However, be mindful that work productivity would increase when you have a venue full of staff members who are happy to turn up every day to do their jobs – so it pays to implement some changes along the way.

What is Organisational Culture and why is it important?  Organisational Culture are shared assumptions that guide what happens in a pub or club by defining appropriate behaviours for various situations. It represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of organisational members and is a product of factors such as:

  • history
  • product
  • market
  • technology
  • strategy
  • type of employees
  • management style
  • national culture

It also includes the venue’s vision and values, norms, systems, assumptions, beliefs and habits. Bear in mind that culture can change overtime, especially when staff turnover occurs frequently. This may have some impacts on the day-to-day operation of the venue, and your staff members’ level of happiness.

According to Charles Handy (Irish philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management), there are four types of organisational culture:

  1. Power Culture
    Concentrated power among a small group and its control is radiating from its center like a web. Power cultures need only a few rules and little bureaucracy but swift in decisions can ensue.
  2. Role Culture
    Power derives from the personal position and rarely from an expert power. Control is made by procedures, strict position descriptions and authority definitions with consistent systems and is very predictable.
  3. Task Culture
    Teams are formed to solve particular problems, where people are highly skilled and specialised in their own area of expertise.
  4. Person Culture
    Power formed where all individuals believe themselves superior to the venue, which can become difficult for such venues to continue to operate since the concept of an organisation suggests that a group of like-minded people pursue organisational goals. However, some professional partnerships operate well in this culture, because each person brings a particular expertise and clientele to the firm.

Whether we realise it or not, every venue has a culture.  Which culture do you think applies to your venue?  You may have one type of culture that applies to the venue as a whole, and different cultures yet again that apply to different teams / departments. This may be driven more by the founder or owner of the venue, the managers, or each Department’s Managers and/or team members.  There is no right or wrong when it comes to the organisational culture, but the danger lays where certain behavior which may have been seen ‘normal’ three decades ago but has become unlawful in recent times.

Yes, we are talking about workplace bullying.

Workplace Bullying is now covered (from 1st January 2014) under the Fair Work Act as unlawful conduct, and any worker (which includes employees, contractors, subcontractors, outworkers, apprentices, trainees and students gaining work experience as well as volunteers) will have access to the laws if the worker believes that he or she has been bullied at work.  As you are all aware, a worker is bullied at work if an individual or a group of individuals repeatedly behave unreasonably towards a worker and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying behaviour may involve, for example, any of the following types of behaviour:

  • aggressive or intimidating conduct
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • spreading malicious rumours
  • teasing, practical jokes or ‘initiation ceremonies’
  • exclusion from work-related events
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level
  • displaying offensive material
  • pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner.

Remember that in order for it to be bullying, the behaviour must be repeated and unreasonable and must create a risk to health and safety. Staff members may often misconstrue management action as bullying and harassment, so it is beneficial to understand what the differences are between the two.

Reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner does not constitute bullying.

Reasonable management action may include:

  • performance management processes
  • disciplinary action for misconduct
  • informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance or inappropriate work behaviour
  • asking a worker to perform reasonable duties in keeping with their job
  • maintaining reasonable workplace goals and standards.

However, these actions must be conducted in a reasonable manner. If they are not, they could still be bullying.

When Culture and Workplace Bullying Collides

The key to changing organisational culture and the way a venue is to do business, is to give understanding. This also means understanding and accepting that some individuals may have been a strong player that contributes to the company’s profitability, however their conduct needs to improve (which may include attending more training in various areas such as communication, leadership amongst other things) in order to achieve a healthier workplace.

For assistance in assessing your organisational culture, staff or performance issues or to increase your human capital’s productivity overall, please contact DWS Hospitality Specialists.

‘Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.’ – Tony Robbins

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