Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What is Work Culture?

Work culture is tricky to pinpoint- you can’t always describe what it is, but you definitely know what it’s not. Work culture is represented in the way that you interact with others and the way that others interact with you. It’s represented in the day-to-day procedures- not just how you do something, but why you do it in a specific way. Work culture can be based off of core values or an organizations’ mission or by leadership visionaries who dictate the future of the organization.

Regardless of your ability to point out the specifics, every day that you are at work you are causing the culture to continue as it is or you are causing it to change into something new. Whenever a new employee joins the ranks, you become more aware of your culture than ever. "Why is she doing that?" or "Can you believe that guy just did this?" The gossip continues until that person recognizes the way of doing things at that particular place OR until someone takes the newbie under their wing and lets them in on the secrets to survival.

The thing about culture is that it lives in the minds of the people; it is not concrete. It is something that people rely on to guide their actions, their experiences, and their interpretation of others around them. Look around you: Do you like your coworkers? What does it feel like at work? What is expected of you at work? How does leadership communicate those expectations to you? Why do you do things the way you do? What are the stories you tell about work? What makes you excited? What makes you mad? These are all questions that hint at various aspects of work culture. The answers that you give may change throughout your employment with the company, but the feelings will remain the same.

By Kristen Keyes

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