Workplace Culture is the way we do things around here – and it makes a feeling that impacts on business performance, compliance, reputation and staff engagement.
I recall round the turn of the century I was doing a briefing (as a consultant) for a tiny team of executives from a professional firm. We were debating building fantastic workplace culture what actually is workplace bullying. Most of the senior team were getting passionately mixed up in discussion. A female executive who had been not passionately involved and obviously quite annoyed about the full time it absolutely was taking to go over this kind of’ineffectual’matter stood up and blurted’Actually all I do want to know is how far I could go before we call it bullying ‘. No unreasonable question but perhaps it absolutely was the lack of thought and sarcastic tone in the delivery that drove me to react (and quite unprofessionally I could add)’Well how far do you want to go?’ I replied. Unsurprisingly she responded:’Well that’s what we are paying you to share with us Stephen Bell-HR Expert!’ Suddenly I was caught in the battle. There were some smirks, giggles and’oh yeahs’from 1 or 2 of the ten executives that were sitting round the table. Most of a sudden I had been hit at once by’the way we do things around here.’
This was, in reality, an opportunity for the Regional Director to stand up and point out the organisational values. This was an opportunity for the HR executive to create a speech about making this an engaging workplace for folks and the lines must certanly be drawn by the worth of our values. And then I, Stephen Bell (HR Expert!) could recite the definitions outlined in local OH&S guidelines. None of this happened. I did lamely recite the values probably with a quarter the conviction the Regional Director could have and encouraged them to turn to page 20 in their manuals where they could find the area definition of workplace bullying.
The Regional Director and HR Director remained relatively silent; the discussion lasted another 20 minutes before we all cordially shook hands and splintered off in our different directions to lead our completely different lives. I left with a specific feeling about that organisation -‘Arrogant, undefined about behaviour and culture, aggressive and rudderless, lacking leadership.’ Perhaps unfair judgements, but real and powerful feelings for me. And if’that moment’was indicative of the leadership behaviours,’arrogant, undefined about behaviour and culture, aggressive and lacking leadership’become justifiable descriptions of the workplace culture. And in’that moment’it was really what was not said by the Regional Director and HR Director which was more powerful than what was really spoken by the girl executive.
I also left that session with a resolve to never walk into a training session about workplace bullying and culture without’my actors ‘. Yes those actor friends of mine ensure people could see what we mean by’on the line’rather than discussing it. It absolutely was also then that I decided that iHR Australia and iHR Asia would start concentrating on assisting organisations to properly define their workplace cultures in order that leaders could properly articulate that which was meant by way of a desirable, compliant and productive workplace culture that attracts the sort of people we want. Moreover my actors will give them the opportunity to observe they act every single day has a direct affect culture and subsequently on performance, compliance, reputation and staff engagement.
Defining workplace culture or the way we do things around listed here is an interesting process. It is all about creating statements that align to organisational values but are more active. The workplace culture statement is definitely an indicator of the pattern of behaviours you want to see. As an example a workplace culture statement arising from the often articulated workplace value’Respect’might be’We tune in to and analyse the professional views of others ‘,’We tune in to ideas and views from those around us or’We don’t personally attack individuals when giving them professional feedback ‘. When developing’culture statements’may very well not cover every behaviour for each probable situation, however, you leave leaders and employees within the organisation in without doubt what the’indicative behaviours’of the organisations workplace culture are.
In general, organisations that are taking the time to clearly articulate what the workplace culture should look like are in reality becoming strategic about workplace culture. Meaning recognising that workplace culture can be quite a driving factor in achieving organisational goals. They realise that culture can drive a selection of important components of the organisation. To be able to explain the’business’impacts of a good, bad or indifferent workplace culture I have identified three key workplace culture aspects of impact. Simply I am saying that workplace culture impacts on:
Organisation, team and individual performance;
Brand perception for current and future employees, customers, stakeholders and business partners;
Compliance, particularly the organisations power to conform to policies and regulations.
Within my forthcoming articles I will explain precisely why I think workplace culture must certanly be part of the strategic agenda for organisations aiming for sustainable success.
In 2009 as we start to emerge from the economic recession brought upon predominantly by an industry, and subsequently, workplace cultures where in actuality the unacceptable often became acceptable it’s interesting to ask ourselves where business cultures will discover themselves in 2010.
Excited the danger is that leaders will feel compelled to immerse their organisations in practices that reduce risk and drive a conservative rigour that, will consequently, stifle workplace cultures once labelled innovative, responsive and entrepreneurial.
Founding director and CEO of iHR Australia and iHR Asia, Stephen Bell is definitely an entrepreneur, business leader and renowned facilitator. Under his leadership, iHR Australia has established a different client base including government to a lot more than 2000 multi nationals, large corporates, Start Ups/Greenfields and Not-for-Profit organisations across Australia and Asia.