Is Your Management Supporting Culture Improvements?

Julie Shenkman
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The culture of your company is defined by the people who interact within it; it's your organization's personality, traditions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Some may see efforts to improve culture as warm and fuzzy, but really, the nature of your workplace culture directly impacts the productivity of its workers and the bottom line, and good management should want to support endeavors to make it better.

How can you tell if you're getting management support? Furthermore, if you're not, what can you do to help management understand that making the workplace environment a better place is good for everyone?

Find Your Organization's ToMo Score

Before you begin assessing whether management is supporting improvements to your workplace culture, determine what that culture is; you can do this by finding your company's ToMo, or total motivation, score. Vega Factor created a survey for individuals or teams to help them better understand the motivations behind why they work, as this may indicate how well they work. Research shows that companies with high ToMo scores tend to have well-admired cultures.

The ToMo score of your organization lets you know how motivated the employees are in their work and if they are satisfied. You can then find out what they like and do not like about the organization and designate areas for improvement. If you already have an idea, you can open up a dialogue with management about how to make improvements.

Management's Reaction to Cultural Improvements

How management reacts to those conversations reveals information about its level of support. There are several areas you can assess to determine this support. Is there a push for office staff to collaborate? Does the office environment promote this workplace culture of collaboration with comfortable communal spaces or closed-off cubicles? Employees who feel closed off from each other may not have a sense of shared purpose, which stifles communication and productivity.

Does management support advanced technology? Using technology in the workplace improves communication, mobility and efficiency. It can speed up the workflow process and make it easier for office staff to interact with each other while promoting a culture of collaboration. Is the environment too strict and restrictive, or are employees encouraged to be themselves and try new ideas?

A Push for Workplace Culture Improvements

If you find that the total motivation of your company is low or if improvements are needed, and management is not necessarily on board with making changes, focus attention on the benefits of an improved culture. The ultimate goal of any company is to be successful, and companies with well-admired cultures have less turnover, a healthier workforce, increased access to the best talent, knowledge sharing and more opportunities for innovation. Frame the conversation with management to show how these positive outcomes of improved workplace culture benefit the company overall. Anticipating possible arguments against change helps you counter with constructive ideas.

The willingness of management to make improvements to workplace culture depends on the potential return on investment. If your company isn't making active efforts to support cultural improvements, show management how changes can move the company to an even better position in its industry.

Photo courtesy of Teach for America at


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