“Intention implies constant application of effort, time, and focus. Culture happens by intention because that effort, time, and focus is going to lead to this longer-term goal.” —Tim Yeomans, Executive Vice President at FiredUp!
Great workplace culture has a lot of moving parts, including positive relationships, systems that serve, and shared ownership and accountability to name a few. But none of those aspects of work culture just come into being on their own. It takes time and energy to create and maintain these cultural cornerstones.
Leaders at the beginning of a journey to transform their own work culture must ask themselves, “Do my teams actually care about all these things that are going to take so much time and effort to develop?”
Answering that question demands a thorough understanding of what exactly work culture is and how it benefits teams. Once leaders understand those benefits, they can work backward to formulate a work culture plan that reflects the needs of its organization and teams.
Core Components of Workplace Culture
Every organization is a little bit different. It’s obvious that the work environment at a bank is going to be different from that of a major league baseball team. Despite those differences, the core components of a great workplace culture remain the same. People want to feel supported, engaged, responsible and recognized.
As leaders think about their own workplace culture, they should think of ways to ensure each of these core components are met.
- Engaged teams — Team members should be focused on their tasks and interested in their work, both because it has meaning and because they feel particularly well-suited for it.
- Enjoyable office environment — Everyone is more productive when they like where they work. You don’t need slides between floors but creating a workplace that is fun to be at goes a long way to preventing burnout and getting the most out of your teams.
- Celebrated wins — Reflecting on achievement is often half the fun of accomplishing a big goal. Teams should be encouraged to always celebrate their wins because it motivates them toward achieving their goals.
- Supportive team members — An organization’s most valuable resource is it’s people. When those people work together, the result is always greater than the sum of its parts.
- Shared ownership — People want to feel a sense of responsibility and accountability, which is why everyone should feel that they have partial ownership of the tasks they are assigned.
- Recognition for contributions — When hard work goes unnoticed repeatedly, it’s a recipe for poor productivity, weak retention, and poor focus.
- Clear communication — Clear communication is a critical component of any effective team, especially in today’s environment when digital connections are so much more common.
What Do Team Members Care About?
It’s clear workplace culture is a complex and multifaceted idea. But when creating and maintaining great culture is embedded into the way teams interact with each other and their work, most people will rarely think about the actual components. Instead, they’ll simply enjoy their work and be motivated to do as good a job as possible.
Your teams aren’t likely to think about creating great culture any more than they think about how you pay for utilities or manage your janitorial staff. What they will care about, however, is the net effect that comes from working in a place that embodies exceptional culture.
When people enjoy where they work, are supported by others, feel a sense of shared ownership, and work alongside systems that serve their needs, lots of great stuff happens. Productivity improves, engagement goes up, retention increases, and businesses thrive.
Building to that point isn’t quick or easy but it’s always possible. To get started, leaders need to think about what’s most important to them and then work backward to come up with the processes, systems, and structures that support those values. Culture comes when those things align and all team members enjoy the benefits of that alignment
Start working on your culture today by downloading our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Company Culture…Starting with Yourself
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.