Defining Workplace Culture
Defining Workplace Culture
Saying you have a Workplace Culture is one thing, but defining it is entirely different. Every office setting or work environment has a certain culture about it. The narrative here is actually setting and defining the culture versus allowing the culture to be created on its own. Understanding the difference is absolutely HUGE in any business. You want to define your culture and not let your culture define you.
Have you previously or are you currently working in an environment that is guilty of having a culture defined on its own? There are many of these cultures out there, such as ones that can be described as “uptight,” “boys clubs,” “workhorses,” or “robots.”
If you have experience in an environment like that, you could probably also say that you “didn’t sign up for that.” Those are examples of businesses or companies that lack the initiative to decide what type of culture they wanted to have.
There was no plan put into action, and these companies you’re all too familiar with do not achieve a culture, but more importantly, obtain it.
How Do You Define the Culture of the Workplace?
So….how do you go about defining the type of Workplace Culture that you want to have for your company? There are a few easy steps you should take first. These will lead you down the path to establishing this very important piece for any growing or established business. That process starts with a few questions.
1. What is the current culture like?
2. What are the specific qualifications your employees must have to work at your company?
3. What do your current employees value the most out of the workplace?
It’s extremely important to understand what your current culture is. Do you have a culture that is extremely professional and requires employees to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk as well?
Doctors’ offices, law firms, and accounting firms may have an environment that requires the utmost level of professionalism in appearance, as well as duty.
That type of business or company has to make sure that they maintain that and their culture has to speak to those types of potential employees. Ensure that current employees never waiver from a necessity of a particular field. In this type of workplace, you may want a culture that allows employees to entertain or wow potential customers versus a fun environment.
Those types of fields might also command a vast education with Masters Degrees or specific MBA requirements. Other fields, such as Digital Agencies and Marketing Firms, are slightly more laid back and creative in nature. You may not require immense schooling, but insightful creativity and the ability to think outside the box. With requirements like that, you can focus more on a candidate’s ability and less on their outward appearance and education.
Whether you are a new business or an existing business, you have at least a handful of employees that you value greatly and hope to never lose. These employees are your lifeline to creating and maintaining that desired culture. You need to speak with them at length and actually listen to what they have to say. Ask them a few questions:
1. What do they like must about the office setting now?
2. What would they love to see added?
3. What is the one thing they would change if they could?
You might be surprised at what they say or what they value over something you feel is the selling or focal point of your workplace culture.
At 1SEO.com Digital Agency, we uncovered that our employees valued having lunch provided in the office over having a pool table. Our employees enjoy having an open floor setting and a ton of snacks to break up the monotony of the day. Having fully paid benefits is valued more over having additional days off during the year.
Without taking that initial audit of what our employees were feeling we would just have continued building onto our “Office Playground.” Every office dynamic is different, and no two companies are the same, no matter how closely related or comparable they may be.
Forming Your Culture Plan
Now that you have taken the time to uncover what your valued employees want and don’t want in the office environment, you can build a culture based on maintaining the happiness and well-being of both your business and your employees.
Remember, “Happy employees are productive employees.” You have to now make sure you clearly define the culture for both current and prospective employees. Your culture plan should include some of, if not all of the following:
· Office Environment — ex: Cubicles, Office, Open Floor Plan
· Benefits — ex: Medical/Dental Plans, Retirement
· PTO — ex: Sick Time, Vacation Time, Paid Holidays
· Food Benefits — ex: Snacks, Paid Lunches, Cafeteria
· Culture Specific Add-Ons — ex: Pool Tables, Team Building, Recognition Plans
· Customer Experience — How do you want employees treating/interacting with clients and/or customers.
I know that is a lot to consider about your culture, but if done correctly, you only have to do this once.
Workplace culture isn’t about one puzzle piece, it’s about all the tiny components that make up who you are as an organization. If it is not clearly defined, you are not able to maintain it and you most certainly won’t be able to relay it to potential employees in order to be successful.
A very significant portion of your interview process should be dedicated to discussing the culture of your business. Candidates need to know what they can be expected to uphold upon entering into a professional contract with you.
Workplace Culture Done Right Affects Everyone
Not every workplace culture fits for every individual. Some candidates are not comfortable working in an open floor plan. Others do not like the isolation of a single office setting.
Certain individuals truly value taking a Ping Pong break at lunch while another set of individuals prefer the solitude of their cubicle. Some businesses need the mentality of “shaking hands and kissing babies” when customers walk in the door. Other don’t require their employees to interact at all.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to workplace culture, there is simply the culture that fits your organization and the culture that doesn’t. Having the right workplace culture reduces your employee turnover by allowing them to be happy and invested because they truly believe in what your company stands for.
Let’s face it, we all want to work for or with someone they can truly stand behind. When done right, your culture will define who you are, who you want around you, and who you want to do work for. When done right, Workplace Culture affects everyone.