The whole works Starts Utilizing Workplace Culture!

Workplace Culture is just how we do things around here – and it creates a feeling that impacts on business performance, compliance, reputation and staff engagement.

From the across the turn of the century I was carrying out a briefing (as a consultant) for a small team of executives from a specialist firm. We were debating¬†building fantastic workplace culture¬†what actually is workplace bullying. All the senior team were getting passionately active in the discussion. Women executive who was simply not so passionately involved and obviously quite annoyed about the time it absolutely was taking to talk about this kind of’ineffectual’matter stood up and blurted’Actually all I want to know is how far I can go before we call it bullying ‘. Not an unreasonable question but perhaps it absolutely was the possible 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 wish to go?’ I replied. And in addition she responded:’Well that’s what we are paying you to inform us Stephen Bell-HR Expert!’ Suddenly I was caught in the battle. There have been some smirks, giggles and’oh yeahs’from a couple of of the ten executives that have been sitting across the table. Most of an immediate I was being hit directly by’just how we do things around here.’

This is, in fact, an chance for the Regional Director to stand up and point out the organisational values. This is an chance for the HR executive to make a speech about causeing the an engaging workplace for individuals and the lines should be drawn by the worthiness of our values. And then I, Stephen Bell (HR Expert!) could recite the definitions outlined in local OH&S guidelines. None with this happened. I did lamely recite the values probably with a quarter the conviction the Regional Director might have and encouraged them to show to page 20 inside their manuals where they may find the neighborhood 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 very different lives. I left with a particular feeling about this 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 that was stronger than what was really spoken by the woman executive.

I also left that session with a resolve to never head 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 had been also then that I decided that iHR Australia and iHR Asia would start emphasizing assisting organisations to properly define their workplace cultures to ensure that leaders could properly articulate what was meant by way of a desirable, compliant and productive workplace culture that attracts the kind of people we want. More importantly my actors would give them the opportunity to observe how they act everyday has a direct impact on culture and subsequently on performance, compliance, reputation and staff engagement.

Defining workplace culture or just how we do things around here is a fascinating process. It is about creating statements that align to organisational values but tend to be more active. The workplace culture statement is definitely an indicator of the pattern of behaviours we should see. Like a workplace culture statement arising from the often articulated workplace value’Respect’might be’We pay attention to and analyse the professional views of others ‘,’We pay attention to ideas and views from those around us or’We do not personally attack individuals when giving them professional feedback ‘. When developing’culture statements’you may not cover every behaviour for each probable situation, nevertheless you leave leaders and employees within the organisation in no doubt what the’indicative behaviours’of the organisations workplace culture are.

In general, organisations which are finding the time to clearly articulate what the workplace culture should seem like are in fact becoming strategic about workplace culture. Meaning recognising that workplace culture could be a driving element in achieving organisational goals. They realise that culture can drive a selection of important aspects of the organisation. To be able to explain the’business’impacts of a great, bad or indifferent workplace culture I’ve identified three key workplace culture areas of impact. Simply I’m saying that workplace culture impacts on:

Organisation, team and individual performance;

Brand perception for current and future employees, customers, stakeholders and business partners;

Compliance, specifically the organisations capability to conform to policies and regulations.

In my own forthcoming articles I will explain precisely why I believe workplace culture should be part of the strategic agenda for organisations aiming for sustainable success.

In 2009 even as we begin 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 is interesting to ask ourselves where business cultures will find themselves in 2010.

Looking forward 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 which range from government to significantly more than 2000 multi nationals, large corporates, Start Ups/Greenfields and Not-for-Profit organisations across Australia and Asia.

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