The game has changed, and so have the rules.

Photography: @mnm.all via Unsplash

Photography: @mnm.all via Unsplash

By Bec Palma

Growing up I played a lot of sport and as a result was a part of a few teams at different clubs, levels and organisations. When I reflect on the sporting teams that I feel most fondly towards, there is one common denominator – my favourite teams fostered a great culture.

My expectations on culture

What does culture mean to me within a team environment?
Inclusivity, collaboration, supportiveness, respect, trust, open leadership, camaraderie, connection, community and pride in performance to name (quite) a few things. A good culture recognises everyone’s efforts from the bottom up, and celebrates the small wins as well as the big. Good culture creates a place to bring people together and embraces diversity.

Culture has been so influential in choosing both a career path that I love, and workplaces I know I will thrive within. Having experienced both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ culture has undoubtedly set a precedent for my cultural expectations within the workplace. If you’re going to spend 8-9 (maybe more?) hours a day somewhere, it’s a must that you enjoy your time there.

Company Culture: A Definition

Company culture is what we experience when we come to work each day.  It’s the values and beliefs of how we are expected to behave.  It’s not about what we do but how we go about our daily work and how we interact with each other. A good culture drives positive and effective behaviours and this leads to the success of the organisation.

Great culture makes or breaks a Millennial’s choice of workplace

More and more we are seeing companies are working harder to sell their value proposition. Workplaces are more value-driven than ever before, offering their employees flexible working hours, a modern working environment, health and wellness benefits and engaging in additional social and philanthropic projects.

I look for a workplace where our vision and values are aligned, where I am able and comfortable enough to be myself, and where I am encouraged and supported to grow. Culture is not something that can be manufactured and it’s definitely more than Friday knock offs at the pub across the road. People drive culture, attitudes and behaviour drive culture, and for a healthy culture to grow it must be fed, nourished and embraced by the top down. 

Conscious co-workers

However in saying that – it’s also up to each of us as to contribute to creating better workspaces. Every small and positive action you make can drive cultural change and can cause a big shift in the energy within your organisation. The more you give, the more you get back.

Personally, I greet everyone I see on my way in (awkward lift/ kitchen convo included); I take the time to ask my colleagues about how their weekends were, showing an interest in what they do outside of work – if that’s not for you, that’s okay. I check in on those I can often, and if I can see someone struggling I ask if there’s anything I can do to help or if they’d like to take 10. I also put up my hand and ask for help when I need it – leading by example creates a platform for others to feel safe enough to do so.

Socially, I try to be as inclusive by involving others where I can. I can safely say that amongst a team of 30, I engage with every single person, every single day. It’s important for me to act consciously and with purpose, to meet every day with a good attitude and only act from kindness. I am accountable for the energy I bring into a room. I am accountable for my own and others’ positive work experience.

Culture is founded when we all contribute to an environment that is rooted in our values, which includes a commitment to working with integrity and a collective dedication to creating a respectful workplace.

I believe in a future where good culture isn’t something that’s actively enforced or pursued, or even used as a drawcard to persuade or retain candidates. It should just be.

Sarah Fritz