About Workforce Echoes

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Organizational Culture (4 in a series)

Friendships in the Ecosystem
I am continuing one more week with our ecosystem analogy.  Today I want to make the point that you create a work environment in hundreds of ways.  When we think of all the people systems within the work environment, the typical thoughts go to hiring, rewarding, performance appraisals, and communicating expectations.  Yet it goes way beyond this.  Trust, freedom, supplies and equipment provided, procedures, space, colors, moods, signs, newsletters, emails, and on and on all have an impact on the environment you grow. 

For this week, I want to focus on the impact of friendships on the environment.  Think of how different the culture of an organization will be if employees get along well and maybe even like and respect each other!  You can’t force friendships.  But you can hire right.  You can provide time and places for socializing with colleagues.  You can learn about and implement team building practices.  You can take personality into consideration when making specific job assignments.  You can resolve performance problems immediately, and treat people fairly so that resentment doesn’t build.  There are many things you can do to help build trust, respect, and friendships within your environment.  A Gallup study proved that one of the key ingredients to employee engagement was having a close friend at work.  When people get along well, they WANT to help each other because that’s just what you do in a cohesive community.  They care about each other and it will show in their behavior and actions.  The company doesn’t have to dictate the rules as much because behavior is impacted so greatly by positive emotion, friendships, and relationships.

I use the term “touch points” to mean all of the various ways, both small and large, that employees are impacted by policy, procedure, their boss, colleagues, employees, customers, and the overall work environment. Everything that impacts an employee’s attitude towards work in general and each work day are touch points.  What makes their day pleasant?  What makes their day frustrating?  It helps if you focus on your own work day, and the multiple ways in which your own mood is impacted by policy, procedure, and people.  These are the touch points and should be your focus as you work towards creating a positive work environment.

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