Mindfulness in the workplace
It seems Americans are spending more time at work than ever before. In fact, one recent study suggests the U.S. is one of the most overworked countries in the world. If it’s true, then, now more than ever, creating a positive organizational culture for employees is extremely important.
Many discussions about organizational culture circulate on the Internet. There, you’ll find countless articles touting the importance of organizational culture and strategies to develop one from authors in The New York Times and Forbes as well as on blogs by HR “consultants.” Apparently, there’s no shortage of opinions on what will and won’t work.
Though, when it all boils down, a company’s culture should be simple: Represent a personality that plays a huge role in recruiting and retaining talent as well as contributing to a healthy work environment. Sure, there are other important factors in play such as employee compensation, location and opportunity for advancement. But, honestly, would any of this matter if the company you worked or interviewed for projected a nebulous or negative image?
Since the Web offers so much in the way of opinions and tips to create the best company cultures, we decided to toss our hat into the ring, too. So here are a few thoughts on what we believe are the hallmarks of strong organizational culture and leadership to keep it going.
Organizational culture and leadership starts at the top
Google co-founder Larry Page:
A large part of an organization’s culture is defined by its CEO and leadership team. Zappos company culture and Google company culture are a few organizational examples that mimic their founders’ philosophies of “don’t just talk a big game; play it.”
When asked about the company’s organizational culture, Google co-founder Larry Page was once quoted as saying, “We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun elements. I don’t know if other companies care as much about those things as we do.”
The quote reveals a lot about Page and his idea of what effective leadership and organizational culture should be—namely, fun and against the grain. It’s no wonder why Google is not only one of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world, but also one of the most coveted employers.
Leadership principles and organizational culture
It’s important for leaders to understand how the company is perceived within its workforce. After all, current and former employees will likely influence the company’s future one in some way.
Management, including those at the executive level, should check in with employees at all positions. When employees know they have a voice with leadership, it helps build confidence in the staff’s belief of the organization’s values. Managers should check in regularly with employees, allow them to voice their concerns—good or bad—and proper attention should be given to foster ideas and resolve conflict.
Strive to be one of the best places to work
According to a recent Gallup poll, close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent, and those with a best friend at work are also seven times more likely to engage fully in their job. It might seem counter-productive to hear a lot of chitchat throughout the day, but fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable being themselves, making friends and asking for help will build company loyalty and boost productivity.
Being supportive of inter-office friendships helps build relationships that strengthen a teamwork mentality. Plus, it makes for a more comfortable and desirable work environment that contributes to job satisfaction and employee retention.
Also, company culture has a huge impact on recruitment. Once again, look no further than Google to prove this point. They were featured at No. 1 in Forbes Best Places to Work in 2015.
As of 2014, the tech giant made Fortune’s 100 Best Companies list no less than eight times—five of which at No. 1. This best places to work survey included 257 firms worldwide and more than 252,000 employees polled with questions related to their attitudes about management’s credibility, job satisfaction and camaraderie, among other things.