Culture is a recent wave of study and focus in the workforce, but culture has always affected business progression and quality. Leaders who prioritize workplace culture development are seeing results in increasing stock prices, employee retention, and work ethics. Every organization has a culture; some are created with intentionality, while others are left to develop on their own.
Culture is the behaviors, habits, and social patterns that are rewarded, accepted and rejected.
“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”–Doug Conant, Campbell Soup
One of the questions we ask clients is, “If someone were to walk around your organization watching people work and the interaction between people, especially between leaders and followers, what would they conclude about the culture?” The answer to this question is a moment of truth—it’s a reality check.
Proactive leadership is focusing on workplace culture development through three categories: Top Down, Bottom Up, and Intermediary Approaches. The three-pronged approach develops viability and effectiveness in the company.
Top Down: Identify Strategies and Connecting Behaviors
Designating a specific role or a position for workplace culture development is mandatory to create consistency in cultural development within a company. Consistency with key leaders of the business, create a simple outline of the company and asking yourself, “What are key strategies we can implement to impact workplace culture?” After strategy identification, creating a small list of correlated behaviors on which the designated ‘Culture Manager’ can base culture enhancing initiatives. Keep this stage simple, companies are simplifying to implement desired behaviors without confusion.
Workplace culture should not reinvent the company, but rather foster expansion.
8 Key Workplace Culture Behaviors Companies Utilize:
- Thoughtful: mutual trust and loyalty. “My Heart Is In The Work” – Carnegie-Mellon University
- Purpose: idealistic and driven by leadership. “Don’t be evil” – Google
- Learning: creativity and expansion, focus beyond the company. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Disney
- Enjoyment: cheerful and spirited. “Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.” -Zappos
- Results: merit system and united by the drive to succeed. “Quality is job one.” -Ford
- Authority: leaders emphasize confidence and strength. “Who dares wins” -U.K. Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment
- Safety: planning-oriented and predictable. “Transparency starts as a mindset change.”– Kevan Lee, Content Crafter, Buffer
- Order: respect leadership and follow the rules. “One Vision. One Firm.” – Law and Attorney Office
Bottom Up: Execution of Behavior Is Adaptive
In Bottom Up, the Culture Manager cultivates the development of desired behaviors. Each branch of the company will see the behaviors applied differently.
An accountant in a caring workplace culture will value reaching goals and details to develop a simple and understandable balance sheet for management. An account manager may e-mail a client to express care and concern over issues important to the client. Both clearly display the behavior of caring but adapted to their field of work. Within each sector, raise up key culture leaders to instill values in the department.
Intermediary: Communicating, Hiring, and Promoting
The workplace culture impacts who will stay and who will go. If employees cannot align themselves with the desired way of working and culture, they often leave. In fact, in the book, The Seven Hidden Reasons People Leave, two of the seven reasons people voluntarily leave are: The job or workplace not living up to expectations and mismatch between job and person.
Communications and hiring is a key culture builder. Human Resources is the glue between the layers of the organization by handling the daily conflicts and building interdepartmental relations, as seen in the video created by Bamboo’s HR department.
Job turnover in high company culture is 13.9% and in low company culture it is 48.4% because culture is the everyday relational connection between coworkers, customers, and leadership. The Culture Manager will work closely with HR to hire employees that align with desired behaviors and promote people who clearly exemplify the desired workplace culture behaviors
How would the employees in your organization describe culture? To what extent has your leadership defined the desired culture? What steps are you intentionally taking to enhance your work culture?
For the Faith-Based: 1 Corinthians 12:20-27 ESV
“As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”