Our Values are Our Culture
In our modern world of work, the term “workplace culture” has become something of a buzz phrase, not entirely dissimilar to food marketers capitalizing on terms like “GMO/Antibiotic-free.” Behind the veneer might lurk well-placed intentions, but how do we know for sure? Like with food marketing, anyone can claim an emphasis on health and transparency, but not everyone delivers.
Author Tim Stevens of Fast Company identifies several characteristics synonymous with healthy cultures. Among these is low turnover—something perhaps easily detectable now in the wake of the Great Resignation/Reshuffle. Organizations might profess caring about workplace culture, but if their turnover is even vaguely reminiscent of a revolving door, be wary of false advertising.
Workplace culture is arguably more important now than ever before. Insufferable management, inflexible expectations, and overall toxicity are usually found in those organizations and positions with the most vacancies, as evidenced by The Counter, a nonprofit food industry journal. But the problem of workplace culture also persists in the esteemed healthcare industry, wherein workers are often dragged through a gauntlet of burnout similar to that of the restaurant industry.
A review of workplace culture in healthcare by Frontiers in Public Health determined that this strenuous culture could be revived by benevolent focus on areas including stress management, scheduling, and communication. Ultimately, do these not echo the sentiments that sparked the Great Resignation? A newfound demand for work-life balance, flexibility, and healthy communication?
In this TED Talk, Michael C. Bush, CEO of consulting firm Great Place to Work, describes how workplace culture can be drastically improved by active listening. Everyone wants to be heard. We want to know that our voices are important—that our values are important. In recent years, we’ve seen employee protests at Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others over a battle of values.
Culture is a living thing—it is sustained not just by those at the top, but by those experiencing it every day at every level. How we exercise flexibility with staff shapes that culture. How we interact with our colleagues contributes to that culture.
At its heart, workplace culture is an expression of compassion. How compassionate leadership is to one another and to staff defines the culture at the top. How compassionate team members are to one another and to clients further extends a culture worthy of pride.
“Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or for worse.”
– Simon Sinek
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