Company Culture

Culture: Doing it Right

Free popcorn every afternoon – 100% medical coverage – daily trivia games – helicopter rides at the holiday party – lunches – 401K % matching – every other Friday off – free life coaching – concert tickets – dinners – gift cards…

The list could go on and on, but does that make for a good work culture? The answer is… well, no one really knows. You can research it on the internet and a million articles will pop up claiming to know what makes a good work culture. You can think you have a fantastic culture, and then you have a rogue employee who steals all your information and goes to work for your competitor, or an employee who is not performing well but asks for a raise and to only work parttime. The truth is, you will never be able to please all the people all the time – not in business and not in life. All you can do is to constantly ask yourself, what can I do to make the lives of my people better? Will a shuffleboard table make their life better? In and of itself, no. But having an impromptu afternoon game with the CEO where you casually talk about life, work, and your dog, can have a big impact. It can make you feel valued, heard and that the person you work with actually cares about you as a person. It also helps take the pressure off the constant 24/7 work culture. It shows that there is a need for a break during the day – a need to step away, breathe and let your mind relax for a bit – a need to laugh.

Culture is not a one-size-fits-all 75% off Poncho Rack (which would be my dream because I love a poncho and a bargain). It is a delicate dance between a blanket culture and a personalized culture. In all these articles you read, no one talks about the personalized culture. They talk about all the things that the company does as a whole, but what about the little things? What about knowing your people so well, you pick up on the little changes in their expression that lets you know something is not right. This part of culture falls to the leaders and fellow workers. Culture is not something that can be handed down. It is something that must be felt and once that feeling takes hold, it is something that every person in the organization lives. In a perfect world, that is how it would work. Every person would be so in tune with each other that everyone would feel included, heard, and valued.

Culture is ever evolving and all the while, you wonder if you are doing it right. Make sure your values as a company are known, understood, and respected. Do the best you can for your employees and their families, and – always – lead with your heart.

Michelle Zientek
Gander Group Culture Builder

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