There are so many layers to people, their personalities and their problems. Oh, how easily we seem to forget that.
That’s why “culture” is too big to define. It needs to be established on truth, not your opinion of who walks through those doors every morning. Your assumptions are based merely on what they are showing you. Even if they are transparent communicators, you haven’t lived their experiences. You don’t know why they are who they appear to be.
A positive culture is created by security – feeling safe to be vulnerable, excited, heard, and authentic. This kind of atmosphere throws out assumptions and opinions, and it enables the workplace to be defined by the truth of who people are and what details are in the storybook of their lives.
Do you want your team to leave a major impact on your culture? Look into the eyes of the people you don’t know very well, have concerns about, or are afraid of. Listen, be attentive, and be patient with them. When you take the time to learn something new about a teammate, boss, or subordinate, you are creating a better culture for your organization.
Sometimes the smiley person next to you feels sick to their stomach because of a difficult situation at home. The unapproachable lady silently cries because she’s struggling with fertility problems, or the humble co-worker lashes out with awful comments you can’t un-hear. That boss of yours can never remember anything. It’s because they suffer from a disease that impacts their memory. But you don’t know that. You only know what they want you to know, which is that they have it all figured out, they’re on top of their game, and that their curated Instagram reflects their daily life.
So get to know them. Ask questions – give them your time, listen, and show grace to one another. What I know about grace is that it begins with love and patience. Love? Can I say that word at work? No need to say it. By showing patience, understanding, and empathy to even the forgetful boss or the unapproachable lady, you’ll be demonstrating the love that sustains a positive, thriving culture.
As professionals, we’re often asked, “How would you describe your company’s culture?” In my organization, our response is, “It’s a people-driven culture.” After all, our tagline is “Experience the Power of Personal.” We want to take our time to know our employees, our candidates, and our clients. We take an intimate, thoughtful approach to learning about people. As the overseer of our Brand and Culture department, I want to ensure that we’re actually living what we sell. It’s crucial to do so, as it enables us to sell it well – because then it’s the truth. For us, that means actually caring about people first, learning their why, and handling it with care.
Retention rates speak volumes about a company’s culture. Our rate is exceptional, even rare. I work with gracious, open-hearted people who take their sweet time listening to others. There is a direct correlation there, one that I am so proud to be a part of.