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The Importance of Workplace Culture – The Key to Organizational Performance

How would you describe your workplace culture?  Perhaps you’re wondering: “What is a ‘workplace culture’?”  That’s a great question.  Simply stated, a workplace culture consists of the shared values and behavioral norms (what employees perceive as acceptable behavior) that impact how employees interact with you, each other, and customers.

A workplace culture impacts every aspect of how things get done at work: how we make decisions, how we problem solve, how we create and innovate, how we work together, and how we succeed as an organization.  Often times, the workplace culture is founded on what organizational leaders say, and more importantly, do, that helps to define and support what the shared values and behavioral norms should be. 

A strong, healthy workplace culture can favorably impact the performance of employees and the performance of the organization by:

  • Providing a sense of identity: the more clearly an organization’s shared perceptions and values are defined, the more strongly people can associate with their organization’s mission and feel like a part of it.
  • Generating commitment to the organization’s mission: When there is a strong, overarching workplace culture, people feel they are part of a larger, well-defined whole and involved in the entire organization’s work.  Bigger than any one individual’s interests, culture reminds people of what their organization is all about.
  • Clarifying and reinforcing standards of behavior: culture guides words and deeds, making it clear what should be done or said in any given situation.

So, how would you describe your workplace culture?  And, is your workplace culture driving improvements in your organizational performance?