By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
In today’s world, we hear a lot about workplace or organizational “culture.” Years ago, a person got a job, performed the duties expected of them, and often, stayed at that job for most or all of their working years.
That is the not the norm today. Currently we are experiencing an employee job market, which means employees are able to get many of their expectations met when “choosing” a potential employer. Yes, in today’s market, employees are choosing their employer every bit as much, if not more, than employers are choosing their employees.
What many of the current generation of workers are seeking in a job is a positive workplace culture. What does that mean? Culture is difficult to define, but think of it as an organization’s personality. Much like an individual’s personality is created by past experiences, upbringing, beliefs and values, an organization’s personality develops the same way.
Usually it is ownership or management that sets that initial personality. That person or persons blend their past experiences, beliefs and values to create a workplace personality. As leadership changes or employees come and go, that personality could change, unless every hire and every change in that organization is made with a focused culture as its driving force.
It’s extremely important to realize that leadership or management is what develops or changes that personality, for better or worse. Just like parents quickly realize, you can’t act one way and expect your children – or your employees – to act another way. You cannot demonstrate one set of values and expect your employees to showcase other values that you may find beneficial to your organization.
If you are having a difficult time attracting or retaining quality employees, now may be a great time to take an in-depth look at your organizational culture. Keep in mind that you may be too “up close and personal” to really see it for what it is. Ask some trusted clients or associates from other businesses to give you some honest feedback. And remember, this is something that can’t be changed overnight. It will take a lot of hard work and intentionality. But the good news is that it can be changed!
There are a multitude of resources available to help you get on the right track. Just Google “positive organizational culture” and you’ll find plenty of resources. Good luck!