Office Culture: A Deal-Maker or Deal-Breaker (Part 1 of 2)

Mar 4, 2019 | Millennials, work

By 2020, Millennials will comprise more than one third of adult Americans and 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, according to Forbes. This shift in the workforce brings with it a shift in office culture.

Culture is what sets your business apart and what makes it unique, forming a combination of the following: values, beliefs, interactions, traditions, and behaviors. Expectations for both large and small organizations have changed in terms of what makes up a positive office culture. Culture can make or break an office setting, recruiting efforts, and even your organization’s online brand. Office culture is the root of your organization.

What Makes Up Culture?

Leadership – The way your organization’s leaders communicate and interact with employees, what they communicate, their vision, what they celebrate and recognize, their expectations, their decision-making process, their trustworthiness, and the beliefs and perceptions they reinforce.

Management – How your organization is managed–the systems, processes, structure, hierarchy, and goals. How managers empower employees, support and interact with them, and encourage them to make decisions also falls under this category.

Workplace Practices and Policies- These include HR practices related to recruiting, selection and onboarding, salary and benefits, recognition and rewards, professional development, performance management and promotions, employee wellness, and work/life balance (Vacations, sick leave, etc.) Policies can include all of the above, in addition to employee attendance and scheduling, dress code and code of conduct.

Communications – The way in which communication occurs in your workplace. More specifically, the type and frequency of interactions and communications between leaders and employees, managers and employees, and the level of transparency in sharing information and making decisions.

The People you Hire — E.g., Each person’s personalities, values, beliefs, skill sets, experiences, and day-to-day behaviors. This also includes the types of interactions that occur between employees (collaborative versus confrontational, supportive versus non-supportive, social versus task-oriented, etc.).

Mission, Vision, and Values – Arguably one of the most important pieces of your culture. The clarity of your organization’s mission, vision, and values and whether they honestly reflect the beliefs and philosophies of your organization, how inspiring they are to your employees, and the extent to which the mission, vision, and values are stable, widely communicated, and continuously emphasized.

When all these pieces form the workplace culture organically instead of having specific guidelines in place, it’s risky for many organizations. Part two of this series will offer some strategies to help define–or refine–your workplace culture.

This article was originally featured in the March 2019 issues of Townelaker and Around Woodstock magazine. Click the links to read the issues online!

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