In the 1980 classic film “9 to 5”, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda bristle under the working conditions inflicted upon them by their awful boss, Dabney Coleman. On its face, the flick was a comedy that pit three plucky office workers against a man who clearly had flaws in his managerial style. But just below the surface of all the slapstick and resulting laughs was a rich commentary on the need for a healthy corporate culture. Because sure, you can kidnap your boss and hold him hostage, but that’s a temporary fix. The true long-term answer to the unhappy office riddle is to just make your office a nice place to work!
It’s undeniable that the war for talent is getting more intense. Employees today are choosing employers not just based on salaries and benefits, but also by how company culture is viewed and carried out within the halls of their prospective companies. A survey of 2,000 employees conducted by Hays in 2017 reveals that 47 percent of employees actively explore new positions due to the weak and toxic company culture they experience in their current workplace.
Clearly, having a healthy corporate culture is important. So… how do you go about creating one without abducting your boss and making changes to draconian office policies in his or her name?
What Makes a Healthy Corporate Culture?
Corporate culture does matter. But how does a company even know if it has a good corporate culture? Luckily, the state of health of an organization’s culture can be mapped against the following qualities: values and beliefs; trust; order and structure; and leadership.
Core Values and Belief System
An organization must develop a clear and well-defined set of core values and belief system. The company’s core values and beliefs are the building blocks where the company’s vision, strategy, and direction will be built upon.
The foundation of all relationships, trust in the workplace is manifested through honesty, openness, integrity, and transparency. Trust supports an environment where people feel safe and protected.
Order and Structure
Order and structure define an organization’s maturity. A company with established order and structure can be likened to a well-oiled machine. The stability produced by the order and structure offers security to employees.
Lastly, leadership is a crucial factor in building a healthy corporate culture. Everyone contributes to culture-building. However, the leaders carry the bulk of the responsibility in creating a good corporate culture. Leaders represent the ideals of the company. Any disconnect between the company’s values and beliefs with the leaders’ actions is bound to create a ripple effect on its employees. The employees’ loss of confidence in the company’s senior leadership is a lost opportunity for the company to create a strong and healthy company culture.
A Healthy Corporate Culture Is Worth It
By using core values and belief systems, trust, order and structure, and leadership as benchmarks, it’s easy to map out a route to a healthy corporate culture. But why go through all the trouble?
During their boss’ forced absence, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda improved their corporate culture by introducing flex time, equal pay and onsite childcare. Morale increases dramatically, and productivity jumps to such a degree that the boss—when he finally escapes and returns to the office—is visited by his own boss and promoted for doing such a great job.
While the real world is usually a far cry from the one depicted in 1980s films, reality is replete with similar tales of stellar corporate culture making a huge difference in office happiness and, subsequently, business success. One of the most obvious examples is what a little company called Google did to make their employees happy—like weekly in-office visits by a massage therapist, and a cafeteria so spectacular that the word “epic” doesn’t even begin to describe its grandeur. While Google clearly has made some other smart moves in ensuring its success, a healthy corporate culture has definitely helped!
So take stock of your office and its culture. Are you happy? Are other people happy? Everyone should be. Because a healthy corporate culture is definitely worth it.