Aspects of Workplace Culture Part 2

Our series on workplace culture continues this week as we finish our discussion of the factors that contribute to the interpersonal dynamic of your company.   Last time out, we cited the importance of three distinct aspects of workplace culture:  the physical environment, the character of your people, and communication.  

This week, you’ll discover three more critical aspects of workplace culture. Just like last  week, we’ll be presenting these factors in isolation, as though they were distinct from one another.  But it’s important to bear in mind that this is for convenience only; there is actually a great deal of overlap between all the areas of work culture that we’ll be discussing.

Shared Value System

While there will always be key differences in the value systems of your individual staff members, it’s critical that there be a substantial intersection between them.  The first step toward establishing common ground is becoming familiar with the values that are already important to your individual staff members.  

This is possible even if your team is very large; in this case, the department heads that work under top management people can glean at least a general sense of these individual values and report on them appropriately.  Once you’ve achieved a basic understanding of what motivates your staff, you can take action to connect them to your company vision.  

Here’s how to begin making this crucial connection.  First, make sure that your company’s values are spelled out explicitly. You can do this by conveying these values directly to your staff and making sure that individual staffers are familiar with your firm’s mission statement.  Of course, this communication also entails that you keep everyone informed of any changes in your agenda, even if they’re only applicable for specific projects.  

Deepening the connection between individual and company is one of the most essential and effective ways to motivate employees and foster a productive work environment.

Management Style

The connection between workplace culture and management style should be apparent, but a brief discussion of this fundamental relationship will deepen your understanding of it.  The first requirement is that your individual managers reflect on how they treat your staff frequently.  In this way, they can modify their style whenever the need arises.  

The concept of management style might be the most important aspect of your workplace culture.  This is because everything within your office dynamic flows from how your managers treat and communicate with their employees.  Whether they know it or not, the members of your staff are constantly looking to your managers for direction and will typically mirror their behavior to one extent or another.  

By behaving in a way that communicates positivity and a sense of your company’s mission, managers can exert a powerful influence on their staff’s work habits and the way they treat one another. To sum up, here are the basic elements of this process:

  • Ensure that your managers understand their management style and adapt accordingly
  • Educate these managers on the behaviors that reflect your company’s mission
  • Monitor the degree to which your staff embodies your mission statement in their daily work and address any problem areas.  

Purposefulness in the Workplace

A shared sense of purpose is critical to a supportive workplace culture.  It’s a universal human trait that people need meaning in their lives that goes beyond salary.  They need to sense a connection between themselves, their co-workers, and their company in general.  Just as importantly, people work best when they know they’re making a difference in something bigger than themselves.  

As you’ve probably noticed, the key to a sense of purpose in the workplace is interconnectedness.  It’s essential that you keep this in mind as you go about developing the best environment for your employees.  Toward this end, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the role of collaboration in your company or department?  Is collaboration encouraged or emphasized?  Do your staff members collaborate spontaneously, or must they be ‘forced into it?’
  • Is your staff aware of the short and long term effects of their work?  
  • Do your individual staff members understand how their daily efforts affect their co-workers?  
  • Does management discuss the ways in which their employees work connect to the company’s larger vision?  

By answering these questions thoroughly, you’ll achieve a deeper understanding of how purposefulness currently functions in your company.  And armed with this understanding, you’ll become more intentional about conveying a sense of purpose to your staff.

Conclusion

Remember that workplace culture is a complex and constantly evolving concept.  This means that it’s virtually impossible to encapsulate all of its vital elements in a few paragraphs.  In other words, our list of workplace culture elements is not exhaustive.  The six aspects we’ve mentioned are only a beginning.  Fortunately, they’re an excellent place to start on the path towards a workplace culture that satisfies both your staff’s and your company’s goals.

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