In the modern workplace, the significance of office culture and employee engagement cannot be overstated. These elements are the heart and soul of an organization, enhancing productivity, reducing turnover, and driving overall growth. This article, based on a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, delves into the true meanings of office culture and employee engagement, and presents 10 simple steps to enhance a positive and engaging office atmosphere. Here, you’ll explore concepts such as transparency, peer recognition, autonomy, and more, and learn practical strategies to bring these concepts to life in your own work environment. If you’d like to download the presentation, you can do so by clicking this link.

What is office culture?

  • The self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing that determine how things are done within an organization
  • Office culture is not quick to change

What is Employee Engagement?

  • A measure of how satisfied employees are with their experience within the organization – at a singular moment in time
  • Can differ from day to day

Office Culture and Employee Engagement Influence Each Other

  • Culture
    • The self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking and believing that determine how things are done within a company
    • Descriptive rather than comparative. There is no universal “ideal” culture, and a company’s cultural needs depend on its strategy and operating model
    • Difficult to change
      • Certain cultural choices [e.g., to become less consultative] may be necessary but not drive engagement
      • How people interpret and act on their experience gives a company its distinctive culture
    • Employee Engagement
    • A Measure of how satisfied employees are with their experience within the company
    • Comparative rather than descriptive. There are widely recognized drivers of engagement, and it is possible to assess and compare companies against them
    • Transitory and sensitive to short-term external events (such as negative news)
      • Certain drivers of employee engagement [e.g., compensation, the design of physical work location] are independent of culture
      • Patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing influence employee satisfaction and thus engagement

Improving Office Culture – 10 Simple Steps

Embrace Transparency

Trust is the foundation of a great organizational culture.

  • Default to transparency
  • Share successes
  • Share challenges

Recognize and Reward

Almost half (46%) of respondents have left a job because they felt unappreciated. Another 65% admitted that they would work harder if they felt like their contributions would be noticed by management.

Peer to Peer is the most effective method of infusing recognition into your culture. Peer-to-peer recognition also dramatically reduces the managerial effort required to ensure everyone is being recognized for their work.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

  • Creates a great culture at the workplace
  • Develops a sense of collaboration among employees
  • Helps in the empowerment of employees
  • Helps in promoting transparency & openness
  • Changing role of managers & senior leadership

Cultivate Coworker Relationships

Having strong relationships at work drives employee engagement, but it doesn’t happen automatically.

Building strong coworker relationships takes time, effort, and sometimes, dedicated team-building activities.

Embrace and Inspire Autonomy

No one likes to be micromanaged at work. It’s ineffective, inefficient, and does little to inspire trust in your organizational culture.

You hired them, so you should trust your employees to manage their responsibilities effectively!

Practice Flexibility

When possible and practical provide flexibility to staff.

Like yoga, start with a few basics (Childs Pose) before attempting a handstand scorpion pose.

Communicate Purpose and Passion

Over the past 40 years, researchers have confirmed that people have an inherent need and desire for meaningful work—work that they experience as significant and purposeful.

Studies show that when people believe that their work matters, they’re four times more likely to be engaged, are more motivated, learn faster, and are more fulfilled.

Promote a Whole Team Atmosphere

Don’t think of the employees in other Directorates as simply groups of other people that work for the same organization but as integral members of your team.

Give and Solicit Regular Feedback

Annual performance reviews are NOT enough.

  • Use One on One meetings with a cadence
  • Be candid with your feedback whether its good or constructive

Stay True To Your Core Values

Our Core Values should be our North Star

  • They are not just bullets on our About Us page.
  • They are not a catchphrase that sounds good.

Give Culture Building the Effort it Deserves

Building a culture takes effort.

Changing a culture takes even more.

There is no finish line; it’s a continual effort.

So, What Can You Do?

Let’s Get Personal

The first and most foundational thing you can do is to get to know your colleagues as people — not just coworkers — and support them.

Celebrate Others

Whether it’s through the VA Gratitude App, a quick email or even a kind word to let someone know you noticed, celebrating each other is something we can ALL do.

There are also several small (but powerful) things you can do to show your colleagues that you perceive and value them as whole people.

Be There for Each Other

We all have to step up for someone else occasionally.

When this happens, we have two choices.

  • We can see ourselves as the victim where we find ourselves saying “Why am I the one who always steps up?” or
  • We rewrite that script, and we GET to be the one to step
    up and help someone.

Set the Example

Take part in employee resource groups, focus groups, committees, and working groups.

By participating in these efforts, you also help yourself by building your internal network, developing communication skills, demonstrating your willingness to take on more responsibility, and, of course, improving your workplace.

Create Your Own Culture Survey

Culture Survey Questions

2 Minute Mentoring – Culture

Thoughts to Ponder

What is one thing you learned?

What is one thing that surprised you?

What is one practice you’re going to implement?

Who would you recommend attend this workshop?

What questions Do You Have?

If you have questions, feel free to add them in the comments below.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here