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Three ways to ensure a healthy work culture

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The changes brought about by the pandemic have not been easy for organizations, but they have opened up an opportunity for leaders to see if a company’s workplace culture is healthy or unhealthy. What factors lead to unhealthy work cultures? How can leaders turn them around? Read on for some helpful strategies.

Over the past two years, change has swirled around us, and often it hasn’t been easy. But it’s a rare opportunity for leaders to reveal whether their company’s work culture is healthy or unhealthy.

Contrary to popular belief, change does not cause dysfunction. Most of the time it makes it clear. As a result, the turmoil of the pandemic has brought to an end a dysfunctional environment for organizations around the world.

This is not negative. For leaders, it’s a chance to create a highly effective culture that maintains its unique core elements of identity under stressors. Rapid change is he one of these stressors, and can result not only from the global health crisis, but also from changes in customer presence and technological advances.

A company with a healthy culture evolves naturally with these changes. Companies with unhealthy work cultures either plateau or begin to resist change.

What factors lead to an unhealthy work culture?

As a leader, you can use this moment to assess and potentially improve your organization’s culture. Start by understanding the factors that lead to an unhealthy work culture. Behind every cultural dysfunction is usually at least one of her two factors: fear or exclusion.

A culture of fear can unfold in many ways, depending on where the fear originates. Employees who fear that colleagues will not want to share their thoughts openly. Managers hold private meetings and keep information confidential. We rarely ask questions, express opinions, or take responsibility for decisions for fear of escalation or retaliation. The result is a culture of secrecy and avoidance. It’s fairly easy to find.

By contrast, cultures of exclusion can be difficult to identify without digging deep. At first glance, exclusion may not look like exclusion at all. For example, a company that lacks diversity in its employee base or perceives the perspectives of some groups more than others may not be considered exclusive. However, many are left out of the discussion due to a lack of effort to intentionally incorporate diverse perspectives. It is not uncommon to hear leaders of exclusionary cultures make distrustful comments such as: We’ll figure this out ourselves. ”

Whether you’re facing a culture of fear, a culture of exclusion, or both, there are a few strategies you can use to turn your culture around. Implementing them will make your company less likely to fall victim to a big resignation and more likely to weather future storms.

  1. An honest and candid analysis of the current culture.
    Recognizing and acknowledging the weaknesses of our current unhealthy work culture can be difficult. Talking to senior leaders about your findings can be even more difficult. Those leaders may react negatively, as if accusing them of being involved in the problem.

    Having the data at hand and advocating for a cultural pivot can help defuse this situation. If you can back up your points with data, your position will be strengthened. After showing why your culture deserves attention, respect what has been done in the past. Many unhealthy work cultures have been built on methods that once made sense. Honoring these methods can help leaders feel ready to let go of the past.

  2. Outline the changes you want to make culturally.
    Without leadership momentum, the workplace culture will not change. After critically examining what is currently not working, plan what you would like to do differently. Remember that even small changes can have a big impact in designing your dream culture.

    Consider your employees when crafting your new healthy work culture playbook. Many talented people are using COVID as an opportunity to rethink their career journeys. Make sure you’re ready to demonstrate the benefits you’ll get when your workplace culture shifts to a different position.

  3. Bring your entire organization into the conversation.
    Now is not the time to fall into a culture of exclusion and fear. Be open with people about what you do. The more you engage with your colleagues across the company, the more they will understand what you are trying to do.

    No one can promise change alone. At the same time, you can’t expect people to simply change what they do culturally at work just because you told them you had to. ) So bring everyone on the path of discovery to gain broader buy-in.

The next few months will be critical for businesses around the world, especially as job seekers resettle into positions at different companies. Attract performers who help your organization succeed by rewarding them with a healthy work culture when they participate.

By Mallory Mayer.
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