MORE than 87 per cent of the workforce are “unengaged” from their jobs, even though engaged workplaces are more profitable, an event heard.

The message came at a forum at which businesses were urged to consider what kind of workplace culture they had.

Joy Bruce, managing director of Collaborate Recruitment in Poole, cited Gallup research suggesting that only 13 per cent of workers were engaged with their jobs, although companies with an engaged workforce were 21 per cent more profitable.

“When companies have poor culture, 48 per cent of employees start looking for a job,” she said.

“Who wants to go to work and not be happy? All of us go to work to be part of something bigger, something meaningful, and understand how our role contributes to the organisation’s success.”

She urged employers to assess their culture and reflect on the story about that culture they were telling to prospective staff.

“It’s not something we stop and think about. We allow it to develop and once it’s developed it’s very difficult to change that culture,” she said.

“If you don’t have the right culture, you’re not going to be achieving those strategic aims. If you don’t have the right people in your workplace and if you don’t have the right ambassadors, it’s not going to be easy to achieve what you want to achieve.”

The event, It’s a Cultural Thing, at Bournemouth’s Orchid Hotel, brought together advice on recruitment, human resources and employment law.

Janell White, managing director of Bournemouth-based Trinity HR, told guests: “Whether you define it or not, culture exists. It’s a living, breathing thing that keeps evolving. It determines how work gets done, whether projects are successful or not, and ultimately who fits in and who doesn’t – and it determines the mood or the vibe or the energy of the organisation.”

She added: “Culture should really combine a shared belief and core company values that are really role-modelled by the senior leadership team and emphasised and introduced and communicated at all levels of the organisation.

“So many businesses take it for granted and allow culture to evolve without giving it much thought.”

Employment lawyer Amy Cousineau Massey, of Woodstock Legal Services in Poole, dealt with the culture of workplace “banter”.

She said the number of employment tribunals involving banter had risen 45 per cent in a year, to 97 in 2021.

She said banter could constitute harassment if it was unwanted, caused offence and was related to a legally protected characteristic.

“When it leaves your mouth, it’s banter – when it lands on somebody else’s ears, it’s harassment,” she added.