While two-fifths (42 per cent) of U.S. employees believe the culture at their workplace has improved over the past two years, 23 per cent believe it has declined, according to a survey by software company Quantum Workplace.

The survey, which polled more than 32,000 employees, found 35 per cent said the culture at their workplace has changed dramatically over the last two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees in remote and hybrid work arrangements were more likely to say their company’s culture has improved, while onsite employees were more likely to say their company culture has declined.

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Employees who said their culture has improved over the last two years were more likely to be highly engaged (81 per cent) than employees who said it has declined (28 per cent) and two-thirds (66 per cent) of executives said they believe culture is more important than an organization’s business strategy or operation model.

A majority (83 per cent) of respondents said company leaders are most responsible for shaping organizational culture, followed by managers (75 per cent) and human resources/individual contributors (57 per cent).

Respondents felt culture is strongly represented by their organizations’ mission or values statement (54 per cent), recognition and celebrations (53 per cent) and approach to employee performance (50 per cent). Only 28 per cent of employees indicated they felt culture most strongly in the physical workspace.

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“With the rise of remote and hybrid work, teamed with a tight labor market where there are millions more job openings than unemployed people to fill them, executives are understandably concerned about their company cultures,” said Shane McFeely, lead researcher at Quantum Workplace, in a press release.