Shaping The Workplace Culture

Why we should actively cultivate our workplace culture and not just leave it to management, or worse: chance.

I have been thinking about our culture, our values here at Fusemachines for the last two days. And it has felt like looking at the syllabus, for the first time, a day before the exam.

It occurred to me that in the nearly 8 months I’ve been here, I hadn’t really thought about what we have here: the culture, the environment of this place. I had always assumed it was only the concern of the executives. That it was their job to think about those things. That it wasn’t my job.

I was wrong.

Because

a) We spend 38% of our waking hours (assuming 7 hours of daily sleep) at work. That’s a lot of time. Moreover, the values and the behavioral norms of our workplace spill over into our homes, our weekends, into all aspects of our lives which is inevitable because we carry our workplace culture with us. They have tremendous influence over us.

And b) We dictate what our culture is, what it should be. Every one of us. Because the culture at a company is not the ping pong tables, the cafeterias, the computers. The culture at a company is its people. Simple as that.

These two points taken together mean we have a wonderful opportunity to influence what influences us. It’s like getting to grade our own papers!

We should do that. We (everyone) should think about the company values and more importantly which among them resonate with us the most and that we would like to work on/contribute towards.

For me, it’s three things:

i) A learning culture: Where it’s okay to know nothing but not okay to keep knowing nothing. A culture that promotes a growth mindset. And where knowledge sharing happens by default.

ii) Striving for better communication: Because that is the cornerstone of successful teams, and it is what helps us understand each other, build trust and healthy relationships.

iii) An emphasis on a positive proactive approach: In contrast to a reactive approach.

These three are already in place here but I am yet to internalize them even though they are the things I most care about. I know nothing (much), I can be socially awkward (which hinders my communications) and by god I’m prone to holing up in my cocoon, only reacting, doing nothing of my own initiation.

That is what needs to change. And that is why I stand here. Because even though my palms are sweaty knees weak arms are heavy, there’s this inner me who wants to overpower the nervous, reactive me and work on these three things. Proactively. Starting with proactively learning to communicate, proactively being the change I want to see.

What is the change you want to see, and be? What company values resonate with you the most, that you’re passionate about?

Please do think about it and work to make sure those values are present here, infused in our workplace culture.

Because what we have here (the atmosphere, the values we live by, the culture), all of this: you are the one who shapes it — and in turn, it shapes you.


This was a talk I gave at an internal program. Or at least it was supposed to be a talk until I managed to screw up so hard that it was simply disrespectful to the audience.

Time to reassess and learn.