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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

How Leaders help Shape Office Culture

Aug 28, 2017

Pulsating work environments have for long been deemed desirable in offices the world over, but the prioritisation of developing a comprehensive office "culture" is a relatively recent phenomenon that has embedded itself into firms around the globe.

Of course, as with the term in its sociological context, there exists no single established procedure for devising a pragmatic office culture, and one is left to either grasp at straws, or scour through entire bibliographies regarding the subject. Thus, the following few paragraphs are a compilation of just some valuable hints they’ve been proliferated over the years as to just how a office culture is exactly formed, and what tasks are supposed to be performed for its realisation by those who initiate its creation - leaders.

Office cultures exist first and foremost for the achievement of objectives, and to realise a firm's long-term interests, but this goal-oriented nature is only upheld due any company most invaluable resources - employees.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the process begins right from recruitment rounds hunting for suitable candidates among a myriad of differing resumes and skill-sets, and it's the job of the person in-charge to provide effective guidelines as to what sort of candidate the firm desires at any given period of time. Leaders must, to an extent, have a semblance of an idea about the basic framework or function of the culture they seek to establish, be it one that pressurises its participants to extract greater efficiency, or one rife with recreation and vibrancy.

Therefore, a list of preferences that are to be given importance or the like authored by a senior employee enables recruiters to hire only those who they, upon assessing, know for a fact can thrive or at least fit into the firm, often at the cost of more qualified candidates, squandering opportunities to recruit seasoned veterans. This particular task's importance also becomes all the more pronounced when the firm in question is a recently established one, forcing higher ranked officials to filter through potential employees with even greater caution and restraint in order to lay a solid groundwork.

Beyond the procurement of a substantial workforce, company leaders are also the ones responsible for enabling communication at their firm, something that can be achieved by simply, in every manner possible, keeping their doors open.

Open-door policies have been adopted in a majority of private firms today in some version or the other, with the basic premise of the top-most directors and officials keeping themselves available at all times for the sake of their employees remaining intact, only the degree of transparency fluctuating from company-to-company.

Such a scheme ensures that each worker in a given firm has an empathetic figure in the form of their superior toward whom they can vent their concerns, helping dispel any discomfort either might experience in conversing with the other, while also allowing leaders to get an idea of how their employees feel about any development in the company and make changes accordingly. Moreover, once a superior is adequately versed with each member of their workforce, they can better assign tasks suited to their abilities and encourage employees to interact with each other, thereby aiding the birth of workspace relationships that even the most successful of office cultures can often forget to fully exploit.

Providing employees reason to not only think of their work more than just a burden or as a tool to advance purely their own professional interest, but those around them and the firm that they dedicate themselves toward can exponentially bolster efficiency.

Another contribution that only leaders can make toward birthing an office culture is identification of objectives for their firm, itself an endeavour that can only be taken up by those with a grasp of the company's founding goals and a workforce's collective desires. Objectives, more than just the periodic formal quotas, aid workers in understanding the gravity of what they're supposed to realise for their employers and the regular re-assessment of these by their superiors, with their feedback, moulds one more irreplaceable aspect of this procedure - workplace practices.

Increasingly, recreational activities away from work are becoming commonplace and have proven to be productive alleviators of stress, with a research study conducted by the University of Surrey in 2016 purporting that consistent excursions from the office could help employees with their mood and enable them to participate in activities with fellow workers that would only provide them with further motivation to excel once back at work.

Recently loosening restrictions upon paid leaves and attached benefits too are a positive practice, and it can undoubtedly be argued that when even an highly achieved, evidently passionate employee needs a break that they, and their contemporaries, are working at their optimal efficiency, the credit for which can safely reside with their leaders.

Thus, be it the very first tete-a-tete of a potential candidate with their company recruiter, or a honest conversation about an employee's hope with the firm, those helming any organisation are responsible for nearly every aspect that comes to define its "culture" - and that isn't something to be taken for granted.

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