This article by Rick Bohan in IndustryWeek caught our attention with its bold title “You Have the Wrong Idea about Corporate Culture”. Since we speak with Client Companies and Candidates all the time about the cultures of their workplaces, we were naturally motivated to read on. At its core, Mr. Bohan’s article doesn’t want us to confuse Culture with Employee Satisfaction / Morale – “free snacks and ping-pong tables.” Such benefits and modern amenities are a result of success and success is a result of a positive workplace culture; he suggests – you can’t have one or sustain it without the other. When we visit our Clients and witness the trappings of success that make the workplace comfortable, safe, and enjoyable, we’re motivated to learn about why and how the Client has become successful and how its committed to remaining successful. Solid business strategies leading to Sales & Profits supported by defined employee contributions & empowerment, employee respect, and appreciation will generate camaraderie, a sense of team, and a positive energy that serves a company far better and longer than “free snacks and ping-pong tables.”
I’ve played a lot of team sports and witnessed how the chemistry of the dressing room is affected by success on the field or rink. You can have the coolest uniforms and the best dressing room refreshments, but winning ultimately makes the dressing room louder and the jokes cornier, while team members hang around longer before heading home or to the pub. No one then cares if all the jerseys match. Winning a game can be the result of solid strategy, player responsibility, execution & reward / celebration and, of course, a dose of luck, but there’s a direct correlation between the building blocks of workplace culture and team sports chemistry.
If we follow Mr. Bohan’s advice, we should concentrate on those building blocks of culture and then add the amenities as celebratory rewards for success.
Enjoy the Article! ~ Jim Fairfax