Workplace Culture: What Defines it, Influences it and Why is it Important?

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Workplace culture: this general term is often used to describe the atmosphere of an office, and can be an indicator for workplace attire and other formalities of a company. However, workplace culture can encompass so much more than simply office attire – and can even influence the direction of your company. In this post we examine workplace culture, and what a good culture can do for your organization.

What defines workplace culture?

Workplace culture is influenced by the fundamentals of your company, as well as the daily behaviours of your employees.

  • The foundation of workplace culture is based on the foundation of your organization itself. The mission and vision of your company, its products and services, and the target audience or consumer of your company’s message all influence the way it is both projected to the public and reflected internally.
  • On a daily basis, your employees and colleagues also influence workplace culture. Their attitudes toward work, their behaviours and work habits, as well as their styles – in the broad sense of the term, which could include style of dress, character, communicating and more – all contribute to the overall environment.
  • Finally, the way in which the management team runs the company and treats its employees significantly influences the office culture.

What does workplace culture influence?

Workplace culture has an effect on both the internal employees and external stakeholders of an organization.

  • The feel of an office in turn affects how the employees feel – and function – on a daily basis. If a workplace culture is unwelcoming, overly formal, unreceptive, or any number of negative atmospheres, the employees will internalize these sentiments and perhaps even begin to reflect them. On the other hand, in an office that promotes good communication and strong but not rigid structure, staff usually will function well under these parameters.
  • Workplace culture also influences how clients and other external stakeholders perceive a company. On a superficial level, if a client steps in to a company on any given day, it should look professional and tidy. Additionally, workplace culture can indicate to a client or partner just how efficiently and effectively a team is working.

Why is a good workplace culture important?

Simply by reviewing the myriad components and effects of workplace culture, we can already see that the culture of an office can influence its success greatly.

  • In a good workplace culture, employees will thrive. An effective workplace culture will make employees feel comfortable, not only on a daily basis, but also in serious situations where a serious issue may arise and employees can trust that it will be handled appropriately.

For employees, an effective workplace culture also means that there is structure and professionalism, which will facilitate efficiency and structure in their own work. In turn, when employees thrive and feel valued, companies often see a higher retention rate and a greater value of work from its staff.

  • Also, no matter what the level of formality, from business casual to business formal, a good workplace culture means that a client or key stakeholder can walk in at any time and perceive the company as high-caliber and professional. Workplace culture is flexible and subjective, but good quality is not.

All employees influence the culture of their workplace, simply by their presence. Managers and other leaders of a company, however, have a truly significant influence by setting a precedent and creating a trusting and professional environment. If you are in a leadership role, reflect on how you influence your workplace culture – and if you have the power to make changes to improve it.

Learn more about workplace culture and Toronto workplace etiquette classes at Corporate Class Inc.