Organizational culture is one of the most important tools we have as leaders to strengthen the cohesiveness and effectiveness of our workplaces. An excellent work environment is a huge differentiator to attract and retain the best talent and to transform our current talent into organizational champions and attract new potential applicants. However, as much as we might like, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to improving the culture in our workplaces. Continue reading to unpack the concept of organizational culture and how to improve it.
What Is Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture is shaped over time based on the combined characteristics of shared values, consistent leadership and processes. These characteristics include the beliefs, principles, and behaviors that serve as the basis for how team members treat one another as well as the people they serve.
Organizational culture is typically manifested through a blend of rapport and work styles, team collaboration, working hours, and dedication to the organization's mission. It is also highly affected by the leaders behavior to staff inside of the organization, hiring processes, onboarding, benefits, and more
For Millennials and GenZ, organizational culture is often what attracts and retains top talent. And since younger workers are placing greater importance on a healthy organizational culture, it’s clear to see why we place an emphasis on its importance.
Here are three tips we can use to create desirable workplace cultures.
1. Evaluate Our Organizational Culture
Let’s start by performing an objective assessment of our organizational culture. Observe the way that our team members act in the workplace. Pay attention to how they collaborate with one another and work volunteer leaders, philanthropists, and of course with the people we serve. What common work attitudes and habits are prevalent? And who are the key influencers?
Then, list out the strengths and challenges.
From the strengths, determine if there are ways to build on them even further. For example, if staff appreciated working from home through the pandemic, how we can extend options to work remotely now that COVID appears to be lessening?
From the challenges, take each one and mark it down as Point A. Then, as leaders let’s determine what Point B looks like. Set Point B as a goal, and create a plan to get from Point A to Point B. For instance, if we see new team members struggling with how things work, we need to explore strategies to improve the onboarding process.
2. Cultivate a Growth Mindset with Educational Training Opportunities
Cultivate a culture of learning and a growth mindset in your organization. For instance, thought leader and psychology professor Carol Dweck highlights how to transition from a fixed mindset to cultivating a growth mindset during a Stanford University lecture. As we know, it is essential to provide fellow leaders and team members with opportunities for continued education to develop both general and institutional knowledge.
Give them the chance to develop their practical skills through various training programs, such as Coursera. This site is a prominent online resource for professional development and gives people of all ages the opportunity to deepen skills with classes, certificates, and degrees online from Ivy League and other universities and learn from top companies. Over time, employees will have more knowledge and expertise. In a nutshell, let’s set them up for success.
Our professionals will be more motivated to perform well at work if we are genuinely interested in their growth and development.
We as staff and leaders gain a lot from building authentic and meaningful connections. We can help spark more of these by infusing our work with team building activities into already existing meetings. Gather a team of professionals and have them take the lead on designing activities that people will love. What would it look like for 10 minutes of the weekly staff meeting to include opportunities to express gratitude to one another for work well done? Or celebrate one another’s birthdays and work anniversaries each month with 15 minutes of creative self-care and toasts? Maybe it's time for quarterly service work together to socialize while living out the value of helping others. And finally, offer skill building like effective conflict resolution practices that are equally as vital to forming trust and teamwork.
Of course, workplace bonds must uphold professionalism. Nonetheless, integrating relational opportunities builds a stronger team fabric that both requires and models empathy, communication, curiosity, and trust — all of which are building blocks for a thriving organizational culture.
There is never a one-size-fits-all solution to improving our workplace cultures. Contact me to discover customized effective ways to create a strong work environment. This is an opportunity to positively influence the nature of your organization and its long-term success.
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