Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
Workplace traditions and practices are an embodiment of the things which shape the culture of the workplace. These emerge from the philosophies and policies which lay at the core of the organization.
The foundation elements that mold the culture of an organization or enterprise which include its mission, values, beliefs, and traditions, are defined by its philosophy.
These are however cemented through its policies which guide employment practices and standards. These include performance indicators, compensation, workplace behaviour, attendance, dress code, and disciplinary codes.
The culture of the workplace is heavily influenced by the leadership and management practices of the enterprise. This is shaped by the work programmes which are developed, the work environment that is created, and the type and level of communication that are established with the employer, management, and employees.
The culture of a workplace makes all the difference to the outcomes that it achieves. Job satisfaction and the happiness of both management and workers are expectations of the workplace.
From the worker’s perspective, this is very dependent on the level of interaction, communication, outreach, and treatment offered to employees by the employer and management.
These combine to set a positive tone which ultimately impacts the performance of workers and is reflected in their productivity, attitude, and outlook. A positive workplace suggests that it is well suited to attract and recruit the best available talent.
This has the lasting impact of having a stabilized workforce which in turn induces and helps to sustain a high level of productivity. This lays a platform for the building out of a strong business legacy.
The presence of strong motivational strategies, the offering of good compensation packages, promotional opportunities, and the incentivizing of employees combine to make a major difference to the outlook and functioning of the workplace.
This brings us to the point of identifying ways to maintain workplace traditions and practices that account for good workplace culture.
For starters, it is imperative that the core values of the organization are established and understood.
Nothing should be taken for granted or left to chance.
Therefore, from the time of recruitment, these values should be made known and inculcated in the bahaviour and actions of all employees, including those in senior and middle management positions.
The core values should as far as possible be embraced and reflected in the standards which are expected to be followed.
Discriminatory practices, favouritism, and acts of preferential treatment will not win support within the organization, and hence will lead to divisiveness, divided loyalties, the promotion of insensitivity, and the perpetuation of a lack of cooperation. The issues of transparency and accountability are two important aspects of the culture of an organization.
It must be understood that transparency serves to achieve accountability and by virtue of this, each individual in the organization must be conscious of the fact that they must be held responsible for their actions.
These are important elements of the value chain of the organization that should be accompanied by honesty, trustworthiness, and credibility.
The point is to be underscored that where there is transparency within the organization or enterprise, this helps to build a sense of trust and equips employees to make informed decisions.
In the promotion of good ideals, there should be an insistence on doing it right the first time and all the time. As a means of eliminating wastage, time, and effort, this should be the direction that all employees and management personnel should be encouraged to adopt.
While compliance is required from all members of staff, there should be no ignoring the fact that reinforcement of what is expected is conditioned by how best communication systems are established throughout the organization.
This is where effective communication has its place, given that it would help to build trust and confidence, help team members to connect with each other, and provide a means for management to get required feedback.
Workplace traditions and practices can be preserved provided that there is a commitment by both employees and employers to demonstrate a sense of responsibility and to follow what are the accepted practices and standards.
There must also be an understanding that change is inevitable, and must be welcomed as necessary, provided that it is in the best interest of the organization and its employees.
Management personnel must accept that they are entrusted with the responsibility to work with employees, so as to ensure that traditions and practices which account for the culture of the organization are preserved.
They ought to create traditions for onboarding new employees, institute programmes for team building and employee engagement, plan annual social and recreational activities and provide channels of communications that ensure all are well informed and can provide feedback on a regular basis.
Dennis De Peiza is a Labour & Employee Relations Consultantat Regional Management Services Inc. website: www.regionalmanagement services.com