What is Workplace Culture and What Does it Mean for My Business?
The term “Workplace Culture” has become a big buzz word lately yet many business owners and professionals struggle to clearly define what it means. Some people tie workplace culture to diversity and inclusion, while others describe it as cohesiveness and effective employee relationships. Through my studies and work as a Corporate Behavioral Specialist, I am learning that there really isn’t a wrong way to define it, rather it has different meanings for different people. If you google workplace culture, you will find it is defined as the environment that surrounds you at work all the time. It is a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes. However, culture is not something that you can see, except through its physical manifestations in your workplace. In many ways, culture is like personality. In a person, the personality is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person’s behavior.
An organization’s culture is made up of all of the life experiences each employee brings to the organization. Culture is especially influenced by the organization’s founder, executives, and other managerial staff because of their roles in decision making and strategic direction. Still, every employee has an impact on the culture that is developed at work.
Things to Keep in Mind
Workplace culture is typically not at the forefront of the minds of business owners, and usually it is not something that is discussed…. unless there are issues or barriers that are affecting the day-to-day business or your overall profitability. Here are a few aspects about culture that are important to keep in mind:
• Culture is learned
• People Shape Culture
• Culture is a collection of words, silence, action and inaction-if you want to change culture you need to change the things you do and don’t do, and change the things you discuss and don’t discuss
• Culture can be changed but must be a collective approach
Culture starts with PEOPLE…. NOT processes
Since workplace culture is somewhat difficult to define, it is important to be aware of some of the signs and symptoms that may occur as a result of a weak workplace culture:
• Loss of productivity
• High Turnover-Retention Issues
• Inclusion Issues
• Missed Deadlines/Missed Quotas
• Micro Management
• Low Employee Engagement
• Lack of Empathy in Employees
• Poor Internal Communication
• Negative Company Reputation/Negative Reviews
• Negative Cliques and Gossipers
• Dictator Managers
• Lack of Process/Weak Leadership
What Can Employers Do
If your business is experiencing any of these physical manifestations, it could mean your company suffers from a weak workplace culture. Just having one of these issues can create long term disruption in both your productivity you’re your profitability. Although improving workplace culture isn’t easy to do, setting the right intention and taking a companywide collective approach can create positive change. The biggest obstacle for businesses is being able to objectively identify the symptoms when they arise and addressing them proactively, to avoid a ripple effect throughout your business. A proactive approach will save you money and resources, protect your business from potential lawsuits, and protect your company reputation. Having a focused intention is the first step to addressing culture, and by setting that intention you can then begin to address the symptoms.
About the Author
Taryn Abrahams, a corporate behavioral specialist and human interaction expert, helps companies implement behavioral best practices to improve workplace interpersonal relations and holistically strengthen corporate culture. Leveraging her experience as a psychotherapist, Taryn’s innovative suite of workshops is designed to enhance employee morale, foster collaborative and productive workplace environments, and nurture employee loyalty and ambassadorship.
Her clinical background and behavioral mind-set provide deep insight that fosters an improvement in interpersonal relations. Taking her work beyond a check-the-box compliance and HR focus, Taryn’s interactive workshops, consulting services, and ongoing support help companies create long-term sustainable change. This translates directly to increased productivity, revenue growth, and a solid marketplace reputation.
About Empower Behavioral Services, LLC
Empower Behavioral Services is a full-service consulting and training company focused on helping businesses strengthen interpersonal relations. Through the company’s innovative consulting and training workshops, corporate teams, managers, and human resource executives are educated and empowered to manage and lead with confidence, determination, understanding, and finesse. Workshops cover a variety of areas, including diversity training, communications training, and unconscious bias training, with a focus on authentic employee interactions. These customized workshops and individual sessions are designed for team members, managers, and executives who need to build and optimize interpersonal workplace skills and learn strategies for conflict resolution skills, enhancing collaboration and increasing overall productivity. Whether an organization is focused on preventing harassment or improving communication, the Empower Behavioral Services workshops address socio-behavioral issues and provide the education, strategy, and tools that foster collaborative work environments and/or address negative behaviors before they get out of hand.
EBS Mission: To bring out the best in management and staff so that everyone feels respected, valued, and protected