Recognizing and Influencing Work Cultures

Overall, I have worked for several Fortune 500 companies. I have always pride on making sure I have provided the best customer service to all clients. In all my jobs, I have been able to excel. Furthermore, I’ve witnessed and experienced the same political treatment we are seeing demonstrated in this 2020 election year. Leadership in the workplace should not be selected based on power, pride, or popularity. 

In the workplace, I’ve experienced a group of people who leave one company and was hired because of who they knew. While this might have been good for the individual(s) and work productivity, It never allowed the new employees to build relationships. Their relationships were already built and just brought to the new company. These were relationships they would deem as being “trustworthy”. From there, some promotions were granted based on friendships and years of relationships built before being hired at the workplace. Employees on the outside were only brought in “hired” by the employers who did not have established relationships with these individuals. However, this was a rare occasion. Unfortunately, Human Resources can be out of touch with this behavior because legitimately the individuals are proven they can perform and do the work. They always say, when looking for a job it’s all about who you know. 

When employees do not possess an excellent work ethic, this is when the culture becomes toxic. Healthy work ethics are the things you make a priority. Is it important to build healthy working relationships amongst peers? Do you undermine and criticize work? Do you allow work processes to be worked one way by one employee and close your eyes to another way an employee works because of your position? Words determine your thinking. Your thinking determines your emotions. Your emotions determine your decisions. Your decisions determine your actions. Your actions determine your habits. Your habits determine your character. Your character determines your destination. 

Employees should ensure we are treating all individuals the same. Employees could possess poor leadership skills but know the dynamics of the job. The problem comes in when employees do not speak up for what is right. There is such a thing as speaking the truth in love. It’s important to work on the internal organization so the external organization can be successful. Leaders often confuse character with reputation. Individuals have made a reputation more important. 

I’ve experienced large amounts of work stress in a department, but the saving grace was the ability to have a family culture. When there is a high retention rate, employees taking off all the time from work, employees being out sick, increased medication dosages for prescriptions, and employees blaming other employees for missed work, this is a sign of toxic culture. 

The purpose of this article it’s to bring a solution to how employees can positively influence workplace culture. Oftentimes when there is toxic work culture, employees with high work ethics leave. When researching this issue, there were various articles encouraging individuals to leave toxic cultures. What if you choose to stay to influence the company more positively? What if people were more aware of their working environment and came up with solutions to change it for the better? What if the mindset was, I am going to leave a positive presence here because the person coming to this job in a few months or years, I don’t want them to go through what I have experienced. Anyone can be trained to perform and do a job well. It is hard to find individuals who can adopt the company mission, code of ethics, and vision. When employees care about the betterment of their company, they will then care about the clients and colleagues. How you treat one person is how you treat everyone. There is no filter for your actions. 

How do we fix a toxic culture? 

Employees spend 70 percent of their life span at work. It’s important to build an excellent work culture. If you desire to fix a toxic culture, it’s going to take influence from the outside in. 

  • Hire a Diverse Team

When teams are majority made up of one ethnicity, this is a possible sign of toxic culture. As managers, it’s important to hire diverse teams. Diverse teams help improve creativity, productivity, and allow the team to obtain diverse perspectives on how to be a better team. It has been proven when there is a diverse team, this increases the retention of the company. 

  • Provide Team Documentation 

Each corporation has system documentation. When I worked for Dell, Cerner provided system documentation on the process of how things were designed to work. This was the information provided to us. Our managers allow us to provide training to all employees for an opportunity to learn and be able to close more tickets in our department. Additionally, our team had the opportunity to create documentation for the present team. When there is no documentation on the expectations of the individual’s job, this could also be a sign of possible toxic culture. If you can, ask your manager to create documentation on how the system documents can be translated to the employees’ job functions. If the employees do not have a defined job description, this is another sign of possible toxic culture as well. Even-though a job description is created, there are some cases where employees will be performing these roles directly and more. However, the job description should have clear expectations for you to follow for the employee to gauge overall performance. 

  • Be Consistent

All managers on all teams should be consistent. If there are formats and templates, there should be documentation on how to work issues. This means all titles for issues, such as troubleshooting methods, triage methods, system processes should be consistent. When there is no consistency, this decreases retention rates within the workplace. Consistency brings order to the organization. This helps the company achieve the objectives regularly. When there is consistency within the organization, we can deliver a more consistent result to clients. This will reduce overall times for ticket SLAs and keep clients for customer client satisfaction. When there is consistency, employees can be granted the opportunity to build trust and have a higher productivity rate internally. 

  • Team Building Programs 

While all of these things are facets to help build a healthy culture, there is one more that I highly recommend for all companies no matter the condition. Team Building programs are important for company culture. I like to think of team building programs as Probiotics. You don’t need them but if you want to become healthier, functional and a better performer, you need to take your probiotics. I’ve been exposed to various team building programs. The one I loved the most and benefited from the most was Strengthsfinder 2.0. Strengthsfinders 2.0 has been proven to work successfully with influencing work cultures. Strengths help build Team awareness, improves self-awareness. 

In conclusion, it’s important to desire to be involved in healthy work relationships. This helps individuals to decrease stress. Also, this will increase productivity. Employees should not only love their jobs but love their working culture. If you are working in a high-stress environment where you are able to identify with these characteristics, I encourage you to find a way to encourage others to have a better perspective and outlook towards situations. I will also encourage you to learn to speak the truth in love. When there is a toxic culture, it’s very hard for you to have clear thoughts and processes. So just remove yourself from the situation and ask yourself how I can have a better influence in this situation. How can I cause my results to change for a better outcome. Try to find the positive in every situation. It will be hard in the beginning but you can condition your mind to rise above medial situations. Change your mind, change your life.

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