What is Workplace Culture and What Does it Mean for My Business?

What is Workplace Culture and What Does it Mean for My Business?


The term “Workplace Culture” has become a big buzz word lately, yet many business owners and professionals struggle to clearly define what it means. Some people tie workplace culture to diversity and inclusion, while others describe it as cohesiveness and effective employee relationships. Through my studies and work as a Corporate Behavioral Specialist, I’ve learned that there really isn’t a wrong way to define it, rather it has different meanings for different people.

If you do an Internet search on workplace culture, you will find it is defined as the environment that surrounds you at work all the time. It is a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes. However, culture is not something that you can see, except through its physical manifestations in your workplace. In many ways, culture is like personality. In a person, the personality is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person's behavior.

An organization’s culture is made up of all of the life experiences each employee brings to the organization. Culture is especially influenced by the organization’s founder, executives, and other managerial staff because of their roles in decision making and strategic direction. Still, every employee has an impact on the culture that is developed at work.

Things to Keep in Mind

Workplace culture is typically not at the forefront of the minds of business owners, and usually it is not something that is discussed…. unless there are issues or barriers that are affecting the day-to-day business or your overall  profitability. Here are a few aspects about culture that are important to keep in mind:

• Culture is learned

• People Shape Culture

• Culture is a collection of words, silence, action, and inaction—if you want to change culture you need to change the things you do and don’t do, and change the things you discuss and don’t  discuss

• Culture can be changed but must be a collective approach

• Culture starts with PEOPLE…. NOT processes

Physical Manifestations

Since workplace culture is somewhat difficult to define, it is important to be aware of some of the signs and  symptoms that may occur as a result of a weak workplace culture:

• Loss of productivity

• High Turnover-Retention Issues

• Discrimination/Bullying/Harassment

• Inclusion Issues

• Missed Deadlines/Missed Quotas

• Micro Management

• Low Employee Engagement

• Lack of Empathy in Employees

• Poor Internal Communication

• Negative Company Reputation/Negative Reviews

• Negative Cliques and Gossipers

• Dictator Managers

• Lack of Process/Weak Leadership

What Can Employers Do

If your business is experiencing any of these physical manifestations, it could mean your company suffers from a weak workplace culture. Just having one of these issues can create long-term disruption in both your productivity your profitability. Although improving workplace culture isn’t easy to do, setting the right intention and taking a company-wide collective approach can create positive change. 

The biggest obstacle for businesses is being able to objectively identify the symptoms when they arise and addressing them proactively to avoid a ripple effect throughout your business. A proactive approach will save you money and resources, protect your business from potential lawsuits, and protect your company reputation. Having a focused intention is the first step to addressing culture, and by setting that intention you can then begin to address the symptoms. 

You can reach Taryn at info@empowerbehavioralservices.com or 973-803-8276.

To learn more visit www.EmpowerBehavioralServices.com.

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