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Building Work Culture (Part 1)

Jessica Gardner 0

Working for companies whether big or small one is almost guaranteed to work with a team in some capacity. Organizations have a core vision and rely on individuals that can help build that vision, but what if you are hired on to a company where everyone seems to be huddled into their own cube? What if you work with an employee that you don’t get along with? Building an excellent work culture does take work, but it’s not as hard as you may think. In this article I will focus on how to build a better team.

What is Work Culture?

Work culture is an environment where employees adhere to the organizations guidelines while at the same time feel safe, heard, appreciated and respected. In an excellent work environment employees respect others as well as the organizations mission.

I have been blessed to work in companies that have great work culture. As of now I am working in the best team I’ve ever been a part of. Each member of my team has a special skill they bring to the table. Each person is really good at one particular thing. We all learned to appreciate each other for the unique talent they bring to the team. I enjoy my team so much that it caused me to focus on what makes us such a great team.

Getting to Know Each Other

Getting to know each others personalities is vital in building a work relationship with your teammates. One way I was able to accomplish this is by suggesting to my teammates to bring in a “Desk Buddy.” A desk buddy is something you bring from home that describes or represents your personality. The desk buddy is meant to remain on your desk as a conversation piece. Whenever someone walks by they can ask you about it and ultimately get a chance to learn you better. Sometimes people want to come up and talk, but it’s just not their nature to. Putting something silly on your desk like a Pokeball lets people know you won’t bite and you are approachable.

Being Yourself

Laugh, smile, be professionally silly. If you are a geek don’t be afraid to show it. People are going to have to love you for you. I think when people are being themselves they are showing others that they are open and that they aren’t fake (putting on a mask to fit in with everyone else). Oh yeah, and when I say professionally silly I mean it’s OK to be silly, but remember where you are. You may be in a professional environment and you need to still conduct yourself in a professional manner. This doesn’t give you an excuse to run around the building because you read this article.

Share Your Feelings

Sharing your feelings I think takes time to do as you have to be able to trust the employees your talking to, however, I think it’s important to get to the point where you can be vulnerable to your teammates. You should be able to share your passions, your dreams and even things that bother you. You should be able to share that you may be struggling in an area and you need help. I’ve seen a number of people struggle in silence because they were too afraid to open up to their teammates and say “I don’t get it, I need help.” If you did something wrong or to hurt a teammate say sorry. Let them know how you felt and that now you see things differently. Opening up to one another can lead to mentoring or simply empathy within the team.

Learn Together Grow Together

Teams should learn together. This is a great way to get everyone in one space to focus on a group effort. Here everyone can have an open floor to ask questions or teach what they know. Lunch and Learns is one way to get the team together to learn about a subject or task. The manager or project lead can pick a person to share something they had been researching, or the team could merely watch a video for training. One thing my current company does is purchase tickets for development conferences. I’ve gotten an opportunity to attend the Dev Up Conference two years in a row. Our QA department was also able to participate in the conference. They learned about automated testing which they were then able to bring back to our organization. By them learning with us, they were able to ask development for help on implementing automated testing until they were able to do it on their own. Before I knew it, QA was doing development work.

Lower the Cubical Walls

The last thing I want to talk about is lowering the cubical walls. It is very difficult to grow a close personal relationship with your teammates if there are these big walls separating you from the world. I believe those big cubicles is a design fail for offices. Communication is key in developing a great team. You have to be able to talk to one another in order to get work done effectively.

Building a good work culture doesn’t take allot of work. It takes doing allot of little things to make one big thing better. Doing all these things will turn your team into a family. I enjoy working with a team that I know has my back and that want’s what’s best for me and the company.

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