What makes an organization’s culture good? Is it ping pong tables in the break room? Is it free lunch Fridays? Is it weekly happy hours? Is it nap rooms? Is it all of these things? Is it none of these things? The answer is yes. That’s because good organizational culture is a lot like a Thanksgiving table, and no two are identical. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re serving up three key organizational culture takeaways inspired by everyone’s favorite fall feast.
Not Norman Rockwell? No Problem
Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want (1943) depicts an idyllic Thanksgiving scene, from the turkey down to the dressing. It’s a classic American image– but it’s also outdated. Just as there’s no one way to stage your Thanksgiving feast, there’s no one way to cultivate a good organizational culture. What works for a startup might not work for an established corporation, and what works for a tech company might not work for an investment firm. Understanding what works best for your organization is key to having a good culture– not following an outdated framework that doesn’t fit your company’s needs. However, there’s one lesson everyone should take from Rockwell–make sure all employees have a seat at the table.
Duck, Duck, Tofurkey?
Just like cooking Thanksgiving dinner, creating workplace culture is a lot of work. No one wants to spend all day in the kitchen only to find out that they’re serving turkey to vegans, or tofurkey to meat-lovers. Tradition for tradition’s sake isn’t reason enough to cook green bean casserole that no one will touch, nor is it reason enough to pursue a culture that doesn’t serve your employees. The key is to understand your audience, and the same goes for culture. This means keeping lines of communication open, and checking in with employees to understand what needs are–or aren’t–being met.
Showing gratitude should not be limited to the fourth Thursday of November– both in life and at work. Yet, gratitude in the workplace is often heavily rationed, despite studies showing that doing so improves general and mental health. Both Gallup and IBM’s Smarter Workplace Institute found that employee engagement rates more than doubled when managers focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Showing gratitude also increases employee retention rates, with more than half of those surveyed in Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey saying they’d stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. The concept of gratitude is a powerful thing, transcending praise and positive reinforcement. It not only strengthens the relationships between you and your team, but also between employers and the larger organization. All the more reason to carve out some time to say “thank you” this holiday season–and beyond.
Ready to show your organization’s culture of gratitude this season? We’ve got you covered. Download a our free Thanksgiving cards, print them out, fold them up and get ready for a feast of good feels.