What many businesses get wrong about workplace culture — Jessica Kriegel | Culture Partners

Dr. Jessica Kriegel joins the show to discuss common misconceptions regarding workplace culture and how to promote a healthy work environment

A healthy workplace culture is the most important ingredient in any recipe for company success. Unfortunately, victimized by misconceptions and misinformation, many well-intentioned business leaders seeking to improve synergy implement changes that actually detract from the employee experience, damaging productivity and alienating team members.

On this episode of The Small Business Show, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Dr. Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partners. Kriegel was inspired by her own negative experiences in the corporate world to study and teach the building blocks of leadership and collaboration so that employees everywhere could feel more engaged, included, and supported at their jobs. Now, she breaks down the misconceptions preventing companies from leveraging their culture to the fullest and shares her advice for managing teams.

Key Takeaways

1. Workplace culture is the way that people think and act to get results. In a company with an unhealthy working environment, toxicity is fueled by negative emotions, selfish intentions, and a lack of respect for others. On the other hand, a business with a positive workplace culture will have employees who think positively, support their team, and treat coworkers as equals.

2. Many executives believe that superficial commodities or perks, such as company retreats, pizza parties, casual Fridays, ping pong tables, or bean bag chairs, contribute to their business’s workplace culture. Kriegel explains that this is false as these do nothing to impact the way team members think or act.

3. In a similar vein, it is a common misconception that workplace culture is weakened by allowing employees to work from home. However, just like commodities, Kriegel explains that office environments have little to do with the way team members perceive or interact with each other.

4. To actually improve their workplace culture, company leaders must be intentional about the experiences they create for their employees. Treating team members with respect, paying attention to their needs, and demonstrating empathy are far more likely to improve staff morale and synergy than any other tool.

5. It is essential to establish clear goals when working with a team. Employees who are confused as to what is expected of them are likely to feel withdrawn and irritable. Clarity in communication not only avoids this issue but also results in more engaged and proactive team members, leading to a strong workplace culture and more productivity.

6. Kriegel recommends three experiences that employers can create to promote a stronger workplace culture:

  • seek feedback from employees
  • give recognition to a team member for their efforts
  • tell stories that help form connections between leadership and staff
"If culture is how we think and act to get results, then it's really based on the experiences that we create for each other." — Jessica Kriegel

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