What does workplace culture mean and how do we create it?
07 Jun 2023
5 min read
- Culture and diversity
Tracy Kite, Chief of Personal and Leadership Learning at Glassmoon Services shares what workplace culture means and how they’ve created a positive culture at Glassmoon
Culture is one of those words we know and understand but just take a minute and see if you can describe in words what it is. How would you explain to someone else what culture is?
Culture is something that we feel viscerally, but which is so hard to explain. We know if we experience a good culture, and we certainly know if we experience a toxic one. Most of us will have experienced both in our careers.
Culture isn’t just one thing. Nor is it something you can point to or touch. It’s made up of many things, including beliefs, attitudes, customs, traditions, and behaviours. It happens when groups of people come together and it indicates how things get done, within that group.
At Glassmoon Services we take culture very seriously. The way we feel, when we come to work sits at the core of everything we do. Our culture is deeply human, and it considers not only the people we support in our services, but the people who work in our services, equally. Our cultural context is deeply rooted in our systems and practice – we refer to this as our ecosystem; how everything we are and do are connected together, and how it’s underpinned by our beliefs, the way we learn, and the way we operate.
Why is workplace culture important?
Consider some of the best and worst places you’ve ever worked. What made those workplaces good or bad? I imagine you’ll answer things like the people – the way they treat each other, or speak to each other, or work together. You may think about how managers and leaders behave. You may think about the processes and policies of the organisation and how those help to get the job done.
All these factors come together to create the culture which governs the way you feel about work. If you feel you deliver quality, meaningful work, which is genuinely valued and important, you’ll feel good. You’ll do more good work, and you’ll want to learn and progress. It’ll never be perfect, but you’ll feel like you want to carry on working on the things that need improving, to make it better in the future. If the opposite is true, you’ll likely disengage and dread going to work. When culture is poor, work becomes just a means to an end. The meaning and purpose cease to exist.
Culture at Glassmoon Services
We understand that creating a positive, meaningful culture where people can bring their best selves to work, creates the best possible environment for the people we support. We can ensure they live their best lives, delivering high-quality care and support at all times.
This is fuelled by a deep belief that we’re all part of each other’s story. Everything we do as individuals, impacts someone else. So, we’ve set up our organisation to recognise individuality, diversity, inclusion and belonging as core principles of what we do.
How do we do it?
Firstly, we’re very clear about what we want to achieve, how and why. The way we got here is no accident. We designed our culture from the very outset of our start-up journey. Our direct intention has always been to design and operate our business ‘differently’. In order to be different, you have to think and do, differently. This starts with culture and has often meant that we have to ‘unlearn’ old ways of thinking and behaviours, before we can relearn new ones. This is an iterative process – one we have to revisit, review, and evaluate, and acknowledge when we may have fallen back into old ways of thinking and working, so we can move forwards again.
We communicate this to all colleagues as they join Glassmoon, through our induction programme. This is our hands-on approach to making sure that all new colleagues hear our values and our culture from our chief executive, managing director and senior team - in person.
No-one at Glassmoon is ‘staff’ or ‘employees’. We’re all colleagues, working together to achieve the best life for all in our community. All colleagues are accountable and responsible for their job roles and the standard to which we each work, as individuals and teams. Cultural language creates meaning and context for the work we do.
Secondly, we introduce our culture, our values, and beliefs clearly at our induction programme. We discuss in detail our values and principles – the ‘Tenets of our culture’ – alongside our operational models for those who live in the community supported by Glassmoon Services, and those who work in them. This enables all new colleagues to see why we do things in the way we do, from the very first day.
Thirdly, we’re clear around behaviours. We identify specific behaviours linked to each ‘Tenet of culture’, around the principles of our learning, that are expected of each and every colleague. A few examples of the behaviours we ask colleagues to sign up to are:
- we always respect the individuality of others;
- people are always at the centre of our decision-making;
- at every opportunity, we seek to improve our knowledge and skills;
- if we see something that doesn’t look right, or feels wrong, we always speak out.
Finally, we work from our wellbeing models – with one for the people we support and one for colleagues. Our models are based on collaboration and co-production, and sit at the core of our governance strategies.
Every colleague at Glassmoon Services is enabled to understand their own contribution to our collective culture and ecosystem. Our systems are designed to reflect our core models and beliefs and to create belonging and inclusion within our teams. Our governance structures all point back to those collective models and beliefs, so that we always measure that we’re doing what we say we will.
Watch out for the next blog from Glassmoon Services next month discussing the benefits of a positive workplace culture.
Find out more about workplace culture with our #PositiveWorkplaceCulture spotlight.
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