Developing a Notable and Upstanding Office Culture

Notable company culture takes work, intentionality, and vision to create and maintain. This article will provide guidance to get you started.

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Today’s professional climate is characterized by fierce competition for resources, consumer attention, and talent. This environment makes both strong performance within your company and an appealing working experience for your workforce vital to the success of your business. One of the best measures you can take to ensure both of these conditions is developing a strong office culture. However, notable company culture takes work, intentionality, and vision to create and maintain. This article will provide guidance to get you started.

What is Office Culture?

Simply put, office culture refers to a “collection of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that make up the regular atmosphere in a work environment.” The culture of a working environment describes and informs the way interactions happen. It also reflects how authority is exerted and organized, how expectations for performance and behavior are communicated and enforced, and more. Culture is hard to pin down into a set of precise measurements. Rather, it describes the feel of a working environment as well as its “code of conduct,” both implicit and explicit

The Importance of a Strong Office Culture in Your Workplace

Office culture is important to any work environment because everything that happens within a company or business is couched within it. In other words, an organization’s culture influences how effective (or ineffective) every interaction or action will be in achieving its purpose. A company with a strong office culture will be able to quickly correct ineffective action, communicate more clearly and effectively amongst all its factions, work through challenges, and align expectations and vision more effectively amongst all stakeholders. Conversely, companies that do not invest in building healthy cultures will experience myriad challenges that could ultimately prove detrimental or even fatal.

Elements Involved in Building Office Culture

To build a strong working culture for your organization, it’s important to know what elements you have available to you. Culture isn’t a physical object you can create or place in your office space. It’s the living, breathing, ever-changing dynamic that reflects and informs how your team interacts. Working on your office culture is like learning how to work with the wind. Just like windmills and weathervanes, we can employ tools to inform and affect aspects of our company culture to invest meaningfully in making it stronger:

Build for Inclusion. Diverse workplaces consistently outperform their counterparts across a range of metrics and studies. Diversity takes many forms. It requires intentionality, a range of voices, and time and effort to understand the work experiences of those that are different from yourself. Organizations that invest in the diversity of their workforces create a culture in which a wide variety of people can thrive and contribute. Those organizations benefit by fostering stronger problem-solving, a greater range of perspectives and insights, and more robust interpersonal skills amongst the entire team.

Communication is Key. Communication is the conduit through which everything else that happens within your organization passes. Instruction, expectations, feedback, problem-solving, conflict resolution, vision, and more are all communicated. Taking time to develop effective communication practice amongst all members of your organization, starting with yourself, can be one of the most effective and important contributions you can make to the health and effectiveness of your company.

Encourage Entrepreneurial Spirit. An entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t just benefit those starting their own businesses. Entrepreneurship refers more broadly to a mindset that solves problems with creative, thoughtful, innovative solutions. Entrepreneurial thinking is fostered and enhanced by the two elements above, and should be intentionally encouraged within your workforce. This can be reinforced in a number of ways, including offering training, rewarding or recognizing innovative solutions, and empowering your employees to solve their own problems. When diversity and strong communication practice characterize your team, encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to solving problems and executing responsibilities can catalyze incredible performance and forward motion for your organization as a whole.

Where to Start?

So how to start? Whether your organization is newly incorporated or long established, if your business relies on more than one person to conduct its operations, it can benefit from investing effort into developing a strong office culture. There are plenty of resources available that can help point you in the right direction and provide a framework with which to start. The three elements above can be a starting rubric when evaluating your organization’s culture.

Take some time to honestly evaluate your company through those three lenses. Is your team diverse across a range of demographics and dimensions? Does your leadership, management, and organization as a whole demonstrate clear and honest communication? Do your employees or team members actively engage in problem solving in their respective domains? If any of these answers are no, why is that? Assessing your organization’s office culture can also be aided by identifying warning signs associated with unhealthy culture. Taking stock of your current culture should include honestly acknowledging any symptoms of weak culture. These often look like weak or ineffective communication, low employee morale, backstabbing or gossip, or resentment between team members or divisions. Observing these realities should prompt immediate action to repair organizational culture and introduce better organizational practice.

A final word of advice: don’t address your office culture in a silo. If you notice aspects of your culture that you believe should be strengthened or changed, or if you would like to invest your time and energy into building a culture that will last, involve your team in envisioning and creating a plan for building your office culture. Your team is ultimately responsible for embodying culture and carrying it forward. Investing your organization’s effort and time into creating notable office culture will not go to waste.

Author Bio

Abby Thompson has worked as a young adult education consultant for the past six years. Her passion is to teach future generations about diversity, equity, and inclusion and the impact they can have on business success.
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