When you think of a good workplace culture, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Is it the "bring your dog to work day" or do you imagine employees sitting in a bean bag and working or employees eating pizza on their desk while happily chatting with their colleagues.
Even if these aspects are a part of the company's culture, they are not the only factor that determines a healthy workplace culture. Company culture is not just about the perks and Benefits of the organisation nor the vision and mission statement of the company.
It is so much more than that. It is about making its essence Human Centric.
“One misconception about highly successful cultures is that they are happy, lighthearted places. This is mostly not the case. They are energized and engaged, but at their core their members are oriented less around achieving happiness than around solving hard problems together. This task involves many moments of high-candor feedback, uncomfortable truth-telling, when they confront the gap between where the group is, and where it ought to be.” - Daniel Coyle (The Culture Code)
Company culture is set in the early days
A company's culture is usually shaped in the earlier years of starting the company. One mistake leaders usually make is that they do not pay enough attention to the company culture in the earlier days and then once the company grows beyond a certain number they start taking efforts to develop a healthy workplace culture.
This does not work most of the time for two reasons. One, the company culture is already set by the way things are done in the workplace and people are used to the set processes in the company.
Two, you attract the people in your company who share the same mindset to be a culture-fit. After a few years of establishment and once the team of employees has grown up to a certain number, it becomes very difficult to change or revamp the company culture because you have already hired people with the same mindset as the previous culture. It usually is a difficult task to get everyone on board and create a cultural shift within an organisation.
The culture of an organisation is formed mostly during the early years of establishment where it mostly depends on the leader's values and their approach. They hire the like-minded people they would like to work with and they in turn hire those who they find efficient. During the earlier stages, if enough attention is not paid to defining and building the ideal company culture, its essence could be easily lost in the process.
Company culture is reflected in every day actions at the organisations
“While successful culture can look and feel like magic, the truth is that it’s not. Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something you do.”- Daniel Coyle
Company culture is reflected in the day-to-day life of the employees. It is about the things they do everyday. Culture is not set by the vision and mission statement that fails to manifest itself in the daily life of people who work at the organisation.
Leaders who prioritize the well-being and growth of their employees and foster open communication and positive relationships can create a positive and supportive company culture. Conversely, leaders who prioritize profits over people, or who engage in behaviors such as micromanaging, favoritism, or bullying, can create a negative and toxic work environment.
Effective leadership involves setting clear expectations and goals, providing support and resources, and empowering employees to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Leaders who model these behaviors can create a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration, which can lead to higher employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity.
Culture is really about how people feel about their workplace, about their supervisors, colleagues. It is also composed of various positive behaviors that employees and colleagues around them engage in every day. Behaviors that encourage trust, collaboration, creativity, autonomy and team bonding.
Leaders play a crucial role in shaping company culture, and effective leadership involves setting clear expectations, providing support and resources, and empowering employees to take ownership of their work. Creating a positive workplace culture is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process that requires a commitment to continuous improvement and adaptation to make each iteration more and more human-centric.
We also recommend you to watch this interview with Gijs (Gys) Hillmann on How to Lead in a Global Multicultural World. Gijs is the founder of CultureBeatz - an organizational and cultural diversity thinktank.
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