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3 Attributes of a WorkHuman Culture

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Every workplace has a culture for good or ill. Creating a WorkHuman culture requires transparency, resources and evolution over time.

One of my go-to blogs for continual learning in HR is Sharlyn Lauby’s HR Bartender. In particular, her post today on corporate culture resonated deeply with me as I’m in final preparations for WorkHuman in Orlando, FL, next week. Sharlyn shares her learnings from an interview she conducted with executives of Mars Drinks and Great Place to Work at the Great Place to Work Conference.

In particular, she highlights their three must-haves for a positive workplace cultures – Trust, Freedom and Community. While I agree wholeheartedly with their assessment, I wanted to call attention to very important observations elsewhere in Sharlyn’s post on what makes a truly WorkHuman culture.

Attributes of a WorkHuman Culture

strong>1) Authentic and transparent

Sharlyn says, “I’d like to believe that, by now, we realize that having an authentic and transparent culture is necessary for business success (translation: bottom-line success).” People work far harder and more effectively (translation: are more engaged) when they know what they’re working for. What are the bigger goals and ambitions for the firm? How do their own, personal efforts contribute to achieving those goals? What difference are they making? These are all fundamental questions that are easily answered when the entire organizational culture is transparent and authentic about what it desires from everyone. One of the most effective ways of creating transparency and authenticity is through social recognition – giving everyone the power of noticing and celebrating those who do good work and broadcasting that appreciation broadly throughout the organization.

2) Resourced appropriately

Sharlyn says: “While organizations understand that culture is important, they are sometimes reluctant to dedicate huge resources toward developing culture without knowing the return.” This is sadly true. Yet it is indisputable that a more positive, more WorkHuman culture drives positive ROI in terms of retention, engagement, performance and productivity. Happy employees deliver better results. That is a return we know is possible. But resourcing for this equally critical. Those resources take many forms – additional people to support the culture itself, more training and development opportunities, and systems to deeply ingrain desired cultural outcomes deeply into “how we do business.”

3) Constantly evolving

Sharlyn says: “Businesses that do not look for ways to continuously evolve their culture can will quickly find themselves obsolete.” No culture, regardless of how good it is, is guaranteed to be the right culture 5, 10 or 50 years into the future. Certain attributes may remain the same, but flexibility and encouragement to evolve with the times (new generations, new technologies, new sensibilities) ensures your culture will sustain your business far into the future.

Be sure to also review the “Rethink the Daily Grind” tips from Mars Drinks offered in Sharlyn’s post as well. Most focus on the core of any good, WorkHuman workplace – connections with others. It’s our relationships with others that bring humanity to our work. And I choose the word “relationships” quite specifically over the more accepted business term of “networks.

” We all have networks. But even the broadest network is useless if we don’t have deep relationships with the people that make up the network. It’s through our relationships that we are able to get more done in a better way for the benefit of more stakeholders (fellow employees, customers, shareholders, even friends).

What are your hallmarks of a good workplace culture? How do you WorkHuman and encourage others to do so as well?