10 Surprising Factors That Influence Work Culture
The importance of work culture has caused a reckoning in the business world. Employees want to work for a company that fits into their cultural idea of a workplace. They want to find a workplace that they can thrive in, where they don’t have to fit a generic ideal and can be themselves.
Some people prefer a workplace that embodies positivity and employee collaboration. This can involve a committee that plans different trips and after-work adventures for its employees. Others may prefer a professional workplace that has little to no employee mingling.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having a preference for a certain culture within the workplace. Some people prefer different workplaces and respond with increased productivity and overall happiness depending on their environment. This, in turn, is excellent for the company.
While a company may want to create a certain workplace culture there are a number of different external factors that may affect the culture. Ensuring that managers and HR professionals are properly educated through either a general MBA, HR management MBA, or even a business analytics MBA could be an absolute difference-maker for the company.
- Age of the Population
Millennials, GenZ, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. Everyone in the workforce fits into one of these categories, and while some may argue that not every millennial is the same, research suggests that many people of the same generation have similar ideas and beliefs that may impact the work culture around them.
Millennials in particular aren’t shy about switching jobs. Over the past five years, millennials have had an average of 2.29 jobs. They’re also much keener on relocating for a job than Boomers (3 times more likely, actually). For a workplace that actually fits their culture, they’re more likely to move across the country. 82% of millennials also believe that work is an immensely important part of their lives, which is far higher than older generations. Thus, as millennials make up a vast majority of the workforce, having a workplace where they can thrive has become immensely more important.
- Availability of Education
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials typically are more educated than their predecessors. The research article states, “among Millennials, around four-in-ten (39%) of those ages 25 to 37 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with just 15% of the Silent Generation, roughly a quarter of Baby Boomers and about three-in-ten Gen Xers (29%) when they were the same age.”
Even amongst graduate degrees, millennials are far more likely to have either a master’s or Ph.D.
The impact that education has on work culture can be staggering. Because programs like MBAs and other master’s programs are so highly regarded within the corporate and business world that someone who may have less work experience, but has earned an MBA from a high ranking and expertly regarded university such as Montclair State University, can earn a high ranking position in the company. This means that management in some companies tends to range younger.
- Larger Cultural Values
Cultural values are also an important thing to consider within the workplace. Some of these values include individualism and mental health support.
Mental health support within the workplace is something that has grown in abundance within the past five years. Some people value that far more than others. For example, some companies have begun to transition to a 4-day work-week or a hybrid working environment. Both of these have been enacted to help improve the work-life balance in those who work for their companies, in an effort to improve employee mental health. Other companies have enacted other measures such as company-wide mental health days or mental-health training sessions.
Individualism within a workplace can also be something to look out for as an influence on work culture. Some companies want their employees to remain within the framework they laid out, while others allow for creativity and individualism within the job. A company’s willingness to allow employees a sense of individualism and creativity can be important to an individual and the work culture. Some people do not just want to be another number.
- Geographic Features
The geography of a place also impacts work culture. Certain places are impacted by severe weather such as blizzards or tropical storms. Someone who is from an area that isn’t impacted by those weather conditions wouldn’t understand the nuances that come with those occurrences.
Also, a company’s location may impact what kind of people are traditionally found in a company. A company located in a beach town will probably attract a different set of employees than one that is located near a branch of the Appalachian Trail. Knowledge of the company’s area will also help to understand the work culture.
- Local Infrastructure
A company that is located in the heart of Chicago will automatically have a different work culture than one that is located in the suburbs. This is, in part, due to the local infrastructure. Local infrastructure has an impact on everything from the commute to housing and is significantly influenced by the geography of the place.
The needs of those who commute via car are completely different than those who commute via public transit. If the employee needs to drive their car, yet there is no infrastructure built to enable free parking and no public transit nearby, this potentially could have an impact on those hired. Rather than having a larger breadth of the area in which the company operates and can pull from, the pool is limited to those within walking distance or those who don’t mind paying for parking daily, unless that is included within the employee contract.
- Birth Rates
Birth rates have steadily declined in recent years, meaning a number of things for the workforce.
The first is that, down the road, workers are predicted to be scarce. Dowell Myers, the director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California, says “There will be more competition and raiding [of workers by companies]. Recruitment will be more competitive in terms of pay and benefits. Thus, there will be a greater need to cement worker loyalty with a superior working environment.”
While this is predicted in the future, it is also incredibly relevant now as there are more open positions than available workers and many are opting to quit in what is known as The Great Resignation.
Employers in both of these situations are having to modify their work culture in order to entice employees to both stay and to come on board.
While workers may be having fewer children, and children later in life, the need to ensure employee retention still exists. Employers in larger companies can offer childcare in-house if there is enough of a need or even offer a monthly stipend for childcare.
Both of these instances have a profound impact on work culture.
- Resource Scarcity
Resource scarcity is the availability of supplies in order to maintain life. This essentially means that certain resources may not always be available or they are available at an extremely high cost.
This has been seen a lot in recent years due to the pandemic and supply chain issues.
But how exactly does this have an impact on workplace culture?
Simply put, if a company doesn’t understand that the cost of living does increase and thus a paycheck from 2012 does not equal a paycheck in 2022, this could create a negative work environment. As the cost of living increases without a pay increase, this could cause the worker to lose their ability to maintain their life as they currently know it creating tension and the desire to look elsewhere for more money.
Companies can combat this with pay raises, bonuses, and even offering a stipend for some expenses (such as gym membership, childcare, or travel costs).
- Social Equity
Social equity is “the fair, just and equitable management of all institutions serving the public directly or by contract; and the fair and equitable distribution of public services, and implementation of public policy; and the commitment to promote fairness, justice and equity in the formation of public policy.”
The level of social equity in culture can affect factors such as the demographic makeup of a company, the unique challenges faced by individuals within the company, and the opportunities that the company has to give back to its community.
A workplace that is working to improve its social equity can enact measures such as implementing a workforce education program, ensuring diverse cross-level representation, and prioritizing the wage gap.
- Safety and Healthcare
Safety may not be something that is, on the surface, taking into consideration for some jobs, but it is a key part of workplace culture. Would you want to work in a place that you feel is unsafe? This could include a location that is in an unfavorable or high-crime section of town, hazards within the workplace itself or the hiring and continuing to keep on an individual with demonstrated violent tendencies towards others in the workplace.
Healthcare coincides with safety and can be seen as a priority for individuals and families alike. Is there healthcare offered for only tenured and full time employees or can it be available for all those who work? What does the healthcare offered look like? Taking stock of these questions is important to understanding the workplace you will be potentially working at.
- Perception of Business’s Role in Society
2021 changed a lot about the perception of a business’s role in society. Two of the major things that changed were the way employees were perceived within the workplace and the role of social causes. Both of these have a profound impact on the way businesses interact with society.
In the wake of 2021 and the great resignation, employees have the power. No longer are workplaces simply businesses, they are places that must impress potential employees or face losing out on their first choice employee. Companies must not only have a solid product, but be solid, good, and just companies on their own in order to not just attract employees but to sell their products.
Customers and employees both have begun caring more about a company’s social-cause awareness. A business is it only more than the sum of what it produces, but also what it stands for.
At Montclair State University, our MBA programs prepare students to be leaders who immerse themselves in and contribute to shaping a positive business culture, and our hope is that they find a work culture that allows them to thrive. If you want to learn more about our MBAs, fill out a form and our team will get in contact with you.
© 2022 Montclair State University | All Rights Reserved