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By David Officen, proCFO

How is your workplace’ culture? When was the last time you looked forward to going to work? This is something that many of us struggle with at some point. For instance, there could be a disconnect between the culture with which we identified when first hired and the culture of the current workplace. When this disconnect becomes stronger (and eventually it will happen), we consider leaving the organisation. We want to go to a workplace where we find that sense of belonging again, but we’re keenly aware that the grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. It’s really a question of whether our current managers take the time to understand what the culture feels like for most workers and whether they take actions based on that knowledge.

How Managers Gauge the Workplace Culture

We love it when we can publish pieces on the blog that benefit organisations of every kind. This is even more gratifying when it relates to how we run our company. That’s why we thought it would be beneficial to consider how managers demonstrate understanding of their organisational culture. A recent Forbes.com post on how managers build efficient teams inspired us. We know that managers must start with clear goals. They must also be good communicators, regularly seeking input from their team members. Deep Patel wrote: “Strong team leaders value communication above all else. According to the Harvard Business Review, communication is the biggest predictor of team success, so you must take steps to promote open communication between team members throughout the implementation of your action steps.” 

The opposite of this advice is also true. If you aren’t operating in a manner that ensures every team member knows what their goals are and how members will implement them, chances are that not everyone feels they belong to the team.

What to Do Now 

We encourage readers to ensure that they work for an organisation in which leaders are aware of the culture and are actively working to improve it. Anything less than this scenario will lead to a higher turnover rate of employees. Nobody wants to work for many years at a company where they don’t feel valued by the culture. It doesn’t matter if you are a manager, a team leader, or a support employee. You can speak up about things that need to change in the culture or you can accept the culture as it is. You always have the option to go work somewhere else. Patel explains that strong leaders are always “assessing what needs to change.” If you can help the current leader of your unit or team understand what needs to change, then the culture has hope for improvement.

Don’t Give Up

If you and your coworkers (albeit leaders and support staff) fear change, then the workplace culture will not evolve to the point where it meets your needs. We recommend that employees work together to assess what can be improved and then to tackle the problems one at a time. Patel describes this as “Assess, Experiment, Improve.” If something isn’t working and you try something new, then it has a chance of upsetting the workplace culture enough to produce a different environment. If the first thing that you try doesn’t work, take the bull by the horns and adopt another solution.

Shake Things Up

When you want to shake things up, enlist help from workers throughout the culture. We mean getting both executive and grassroots support. People who join change processes value their membership in the organisation, they want to belong, and they won’t settle for the status quo. Things look different if enough people take action.

What kind of organisation do you want to belong to? We hope that it is one where you look forward to going to work each day.

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