Types of Work Culture

What is a positive workplace culture? How do I get me one of those?

We’ve all been there. Failed efforts in our work projects, communications, and team building. It’s helpful to take time to reflect on the root causes of our barriers. Is the problem our skills/performance, the situation, or a larger issue related to the organization itself? Workplace culture plays a key role in how an organization is structured, what expectations are in place, and how success is defined. What exactly is workplace culture? What makes your organization unique and successful?

According to experts at Harvard University, workplace culture, the organization’s beliefs and values, shapes each employee’s behaviors. Building a positive work environment involves taking action to support the mission and values statements. When we invest in people and processes, so that everyone feels safe, supported, and that they belong, we are more engaged, productive, and stay in our roles longer.

Take a closer look at the strategic plan of your organization to better understand the foundational belief system. Learn the underlying culture, how and what behaviors are supported as norms. This can take time to understand and fit within.

Here are some types of workplace culture, with their unique pros and cons:

Collaborative: Teamwork and close-knit work relationships provide the foundation for this collaborative culture. Collegiality, morale, and active engagement are highly valued. Managers are viewed as mentors who support and reward achievement. However, excessive time spent on collaboration and difficulty making decisions in an effort to avoid hurting feelings can be a downside.

Customer-Focused: These organizations train and support their workers to put the customer first to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. But when the customer is always right, employees may feel less valued.

Hierarchical: The work environment is structured and guided by “proven processes.” Although this can lead to rigidity that limits innovation, outcomes can be achieved through a stable and predictable setting with employees who feel secure in their work.

Competitive: This culture places a strong emphasis on results, with goal-focused employees. Managers demand accountability to meet key performance indicators. Although this can create a stressful environment, employees experience high levels of motivation and job success.

Purpose-Driven: This culture is founded on a shared value of prioritizing the community over profits. This focus on meaningful impact helps recruit and retain employees but can limit pay and the financial health of the organization.

The bottom line is that creating a positive workplace culture starts with senior leadership, but we all play a role. When everyone has clarity about goals and roles and has the needed support to achieve outcomes, your workplace culture can flourish.