Building a Meaningful Workplace Culture

workplace culture

Sixth in a series on workplace culture

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” – Albert Einstein

A business’ fate is determined in large part by its culture. A business culture is the reality created by how people act, react, and interact with each other based on their attitudes, beliefs, and ambitions.

The most damaging business cultures are those in which aggression, neglect, and punishment leave employees feeling they have no reason to commit their energies and skills, share their ideas, or help the company advance.

Wanted: a culture that unites and connects employees

A culture built principally around rewards for individual or group performance pits individuals and teams against each other, often in ways that create class systems, in-fighting, and divisive loyalties. The winners in such cultures find meaning in their rewards. The rest are left wondering what the point is for them and their employer.

A passive, benign, and inert business culture leaves the business subject to the aggregate confusion that results when each individual employee’s quirks, tendencies, and potentially questionable morality and ethics are accommodated.

The most beneficial business cultures are those that unite employees around an ambition, make them feel emotionally connected, and surround them with people who share their ambition, feelings, and behavior.

4 factors in transforming your workplace culture

By consistently and intentionally conveying a meaningful ambition and evoking a set of unique and positive emotions, businesses can transform the meaningful outcome of every aspect of the work experience:

  1. The physical environment – the aesthetics and functionality of the workplace;
  2. The policies and procedures – the actual rules of the company as well as the way in which employees experience them;
  3. The attitudes and behavior of fellow employees – the feelings evoked when dealing with superiors, peers, and reports;
  4. The moment of contact – the nature of company/employee and employee/outside world interactions.

A Meaningful Workplace culture is based on the way employees experience these factors – what meaning is conveyed and how they are left feeling.

Did you miss the first five parts of this series?

Read Being Meaningful: It’s the Key to Better Engaging Your EmployeesGetting Employees to Respond PositivelyWhy Workplaces Aren’t Meaningful NowThe Meaningful Workplace: It Takes New Ways of Thinking, and Actingand Using Values to Build Engagement and a Meaningful Workplace.

This series is excerpted from a white paper titled The Meaningful Workplace that was first published at Emotive Brand.

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