Workplace culture reflects the shared values, attributes, and characteristics of an organization and refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a company and its employees. Culture reflects the way an organization’s people interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make. A culture will naturally form within every organization and, if not cultivated, sometimes can form to the detriment of the business. Allowing negative behaviors and toxic attitudes contributes to an unfavorable work experience for employees and diminish productivity.
Being intentional about promoting company core values and culture initiatives creates a positive work culture that inspires people and helps the organization thrive. Elements of company culture encompass a variety of components, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals. Here are five areas to focus on:
- Promote the company mission, vision, and objectives
Leaders of the organization must be vigilant in messaging their mission and vision. Having posters in the workplace, mission statements in email signature lines, and monthly reminders from the leaders of the organization all reinforce what the mission is and that it matters and should be the focus for all.
- Define and communicate core values for the organization
Similarly, leaders exhibiting behavior consistent with the core values is a way to model for all others in the workplace. Messaging about the values and demonstrating their importance cultivates the culture. Ensure that all leaders and managers communicate the values regularly. Accept and respect feedback from employees, consider it to be indicative that employees care so much about the organization and its success that they are trying to help make it better.
- Identify and share expectations for how workers treat one another
Implement clear expectations for workforce behavior and have a clear system of discipline for misconduct and behavior inconsistent with core values. At least once a year host company-wide town hall to review policy guidelines (anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, etc.). Reward people for nurturing the positive culture and publicize their behavior as an example for others. Clearly communicate recourse for employees who do not feel well treated by others.
- Encourage open communication, transparency, and respect
All employees should be encouraged to be in communication and know who to communicate to if they experience unfavorable treatment. Have managers or supervisors address disrespectful behavior and resolve disputes quickly. Doing so will create a positive work culture where employees feel heard and valued. Consider implementing an internal newsletter to share critical information with the organization, promote cultural values and expectations, celebrate individuals who contribute to positive culture.
- Honor diversity and be inclusive
Diversity lives not just along dimensions of race, nationality, age, and gender, but also job types, educational background, and others. Promoting diversity awareness and defining inclusive behavior matters in creating and sustaining a positive culture. Humans are naturally social beings and companies can add to positivity by encouraging the opportunity for employees to get to know each other outside regular work experiences. Work to foster meaningful relationships between employees that could include organizing company-wide potlucks during lunch hours or other events that are nominated by employees to cultivate inclusion and positivity in the workplace.
Pam Jackson, PhD
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