A lot is said and written about the importance of developing a company culture and with good reason—it really matters. However, most of the “talk” is directed squarely at companies and their leaders. While certainly the lion’s share of the responsibility must fall on their shoulders, not all of it belongs there. Who else shares this responsibility? Employees.
A two-way street
The employer-employee relationship is just that—a relationship. Just like any relationship, both parties have parts to play in order to make it work. There may be ups and downs but sharing an underlying set of values goes a long way toward weathering tough times and even coming out stronger in the end and can make the good times more enjoyable. A company’s mission and values comprise the pillars of the company’s culture.
It starts at the top
Management must take the lead in establishing the foundational elements of a corporate culture. This culture must, of course, focus heavily on the end customer or client. However, it should not stop there. How employees are treated and the environment in which they work are equally vital components to building a strong and positive culture. This can take many forms such as flexible work times or locations, standing or treadmill desks, open collaboration, executives that routinely walk the office and talk to all employees and more.
At the same time, you—the employee—need to step up to the plate and take ownership of the environment in which you work. An employer can offer the most wonderful set of benefits, amenities and flexibility possible but none of that matters if you don’t take advantage of it. It’s like signing up for a new gym membership but then never going. You won’t get the results you say you want—and you really can’t blame anyone but yourself for it.1
If your employer offers free snacks, enjoy them. If your employer has a wellness program, participate in it. If your employer sponsors a community service activity, become part of it. You might just be surprised at how your active involvement transforms your view of your job, the company you work for and your life in general.
WIIFU vs. WIIFM
Instead of looking only at what can be gained from working at a particular company (compensation, benefits, etc.), think about what you, your co-workers and the company can gain by working together. Doing your best work helps the company but it also helps you by keeping you employed. Engaging in group challenges or initiatives connects you with others and is what teams are built on. Ditch the “What’s in it for me?” attitude and replace it with “What’s in it for us?” instead.
The ultimate win-win
As the importance of wellness in our society continues (as well it should), the need for individuals to take an active role in their own wellness increases. Being involved and part of a group feels good. That principle holds true at work just as much as in other areas of life. Finding ways to make the employee-employee relationship a truly healthy and mutually beneficial one becomes an integral way of creating personal wellness.