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Jackson E-Newsletter Articles


Workplace Culture: Happy People Do Good Work

By Jenni Malsam, Prevention Specialist and
Priscilla Andersen, Supervisor of Prevention and Community Education
Jackson Recovery Centers, Inc.
Having a workplace environment where employees understand what is expected and where positive values and behaviors exist can be almost as important in employee satisfaction as salary. So what is a “healthy workplace culture” and how is it created and sustained?
What Is It?
Culture at work is made up of elements such as an organization’s:
According to, these elements all influence how people behave at work, and they can be unspoken or explicitly written and communicated. Culture is not only made up of and influenced by the CEO's and leaders’ beliefs and ideals, but also by each employee and their own life experiences, values, and behaviors.
Culture at work is demonstrated in everything from daily work practices and how employees communicate with one another, to language and clothing. Beginning at the time of hire, people pick up on what the norms are by watching others’ behavior, in addition to what is communicated to them about expectations for behavior and performance.
Some Examples
Culture in a workplace has outward and underlying components. For example, a company may place value on excellent customer service or productivity standards; these are values that are on the surface. People talk about them and employees may be monitored with regard to their performance of them.
An example of underlying culture might be a lack of accountability: “The supervisors around here don’t follow up on these incidents anyway, so it’s not a big deal." This is not a written rule or expectation, but one can believe that everyone knows it and is affected by it in some way.
It is important to note that outward elements of culture, such as the ones that a company sets forth and communicates to employees, will not necessarily exist as part of the culture unless they are prioritized, monitored, role-modeled, and measured to ensure they are happening. Similarly, an underlying culture that is in conflict with the outward values of a company will thrive if not identified and addressed.
Create It
Culture is important in the workplace because happy people do a good job at work. Many successful companies place importance on healthy culture and people. Some things to consider:
To effectively begin to impact workplace culture you must first understand the current culture. It is then you can identify what needs to change about that current culture to achieve the workplace’s mission and goals.
Companies and organizations have different goals, and a healthy workplace environment will support the goals of the organization, provide clear expectations for performance and behavior, as well as give guidelines for managing conflict.
It can be beneficial to involve a professional organizational consultant to assist in a creating and executing a strategic approach to improving the culture of a workplace.
The involvement of the entire company, not just management, is also critical in achieving buy-in and shifting the culture to achieve success and meet goals.