Let's get the party started - Participation is key to culture
Posted on 27 April 2017
Invitation received, outfit sorted, Uber booked. But just how much fun will this party be? The answer is likely dependent on two things – the effort made by the host and the guests participation and propensity to enjoy themselves.
Like a party, culture is the sum of all the participant’s contributions. The more effort you put in, the greater the laughter, conversation and fun. Unfortunately, there are many out there who think that culture is solely the employer's responsibility. They sit back and wait for culture to come to them.
But if you apply the party analogy here, is it the hosts responsibility to ensure you participate and enjoy yourself? They’ve provided a great venue, the best play list, catering, drinks, brought together like-minded people and maybe even a piñata. But how much you enjoy all of this, depends on you.
That’s the thing about culture, it thrives on contribution. The more it is embraced, built on, talked about, lived and valued, the stronger it becomes. The stronger it becomes, the greater the role it plays in everyday business and in luring in top talent.
For many, culture is key when choosing their next place of employment. After all we spend a third of our waking hours at work, we want to do this in a place that values the same things we do and fosters an environment we want to be in. In a competitive market where roles are similar, pay and benefits stack up, its culture that is often the deciding factor of which path to pick.
But when you’re the new guy, how quickly do you get involved in culture? Everyone wants to make a good first impression and we tend to have the “head down, bum up” mentality, particularly in that first 90 days. But if we stand back, are we missing a trick?
At Potentia, we believe that an individual’s employment tends to follow a familiar cycle, the Cycle of Employment. After a job has been accepted and employment begun, we move into the settling stage and we believe that culture contribution needs to begin here, this early on.
Culture isn’t restricted to social touch teams, after work drinks, or company bake offs, in fact the crux of culture is built in the way in which employees work together. Innovation, collaboration, communication style, fluidity, respect, engagement, responsibility, mindset – these are the true company culture descriptors. Developing an appreciation for how your colleagues work together and what they value will help you settle in quickly and become part of the team. And the best way to find this out? Ask them.
A conversation will unlock the secrets of the company culture and allow you to get to know your colleagues. It opens up dialogue and fosters relationships and is one of the most effective ways to understand culture, quickly. Once you understand the culture and the values, you can contribute, key to the next stage of the Cycle of Employment, proving.
While you are busy in those first 90 days proving you can do the role you’ve been hired for, have you also shown that you fit in? That you work in a complementary way? That you value what the company values? That you are part of the team? If so, you’ll pass that 90 day review effortlessly and quickly earn yourself a reputation as a team player and valuable employee.
It is not surprising that culture is heavily linked to job satisfaction. The greater your contribution to culture, the more engaged you are, the happier you feel and the better the outputs. Seems, like a pretty good investment.