As employees begin talking about returning to the office under the “new normal”, leaders should take an opportunity to re-asses the work culture.
Simply put, work culture is an agreed code of conduct which is unique to every organization. This code impacts team dynamics, work relationships, and the energy employees project externally to customers and stakeholders.
The pandemic, and its ongoing repercussions, has put every work culture through a rigorous test. Even if your organization had a great culture to begin with, it is worthwhile revisiting it and look for ways to strengthen it further.
A healthy work culture consists of four components: purpose, values & beliefs, safety and balance. Leaders need to look at these components when revamping a work culture.
This is the reason for the existence of the organization; and no, the answer should not be “to make profit”. But rather, how does the work we do make a difference in people’s lives, in our communities and/or industry? How can we make a meaningful impact?
An organization’s purpose is in their mission statement. It should be accessible to all employees, customers, stakeholders and the public.
2. Values & Beliefs:
These are a set of conditions the organization adopts to deliver on its purpose. They include expectations, norms, trade-offs as well as non-negotiables that drive employee behavior.
Values and beliefs are what organizations like to put on their walls and online presence. Employees should live by these values inside and outside the organization.
A healthy work culture provides safety, both physical and psychological. Physical safety include: safe work premises, access to safe operating tools and safe working conditions.
Psychological safety requires much more effort to ensure; but can be summarized in one question: “do employees feel comfortable voicing whatever is on their mind?”. If the answer is yes, then you know you have aced it!
Every organization has policies and procedures that govern how work is performed. These guidelines are necessary, but should not block creativity and potential opportunities.
Too much control can create paralysis, and too little create chaos. A balanced culture gives autonomy, and fosters innovation while maintaining ethical business conduct.
These four components drive the culture design and give an organization its niche. Together, they form the reason customers choose to do business with an organization, and talented candidates want to work in its unique ecosystem.
It is not easy to mold a culture that delivers the best results. That is why leaders must commit to run periodic health checks on culture, close any gaps and ensure every employee is on-board. It is part of a leader’s role.