How to Nurture Culture In Your Organization as an Office Administrator
by Pamela Holsten
April 25, 2018
One of my objectives when I started was to nurture the culture of this company. At first, I didn’t really know what that meant. I identified aspects of the existing culture that I knew we couldn’t lose—but I also had an epiphany about the fact that we’re in the people business, so we better prioritize how we treat and nurture our people. Our policy is that no matter who walks through our doors—from our employees, to the cleaning crew, a client, a family member of an employee, or a major CEO—we love them from the time they come in the door. And in the world we live in today, we cannot love people enough. Sure, this approach doesn’t always make my job easy – I aim to serve and sometimes I try so diligently that I need to remind myself when I need to say yes and when I need to say no. But 99% of the time, it’s a yes. Not only because of who I am but because I believe it’s the right thing to do. So how can you nurture culture within your organization? What can you do to create an atmosphere that loves and looks after the most valuable part of your company—your people?
1. Know Your People + Get Personal
It pays to be curious about people’s habits, likes, and dislikes. Take that extra two seconds to find out who people are—what is their home life like? What are their hobbies, interests, and preferences? Being in tune and mindful of people’s habits lets you better help them. Whether you’re greeting someone for a second in a meeting and remember how they like their coffee, or an employee’s going away party and you include their favorite beverage or dessert. When you really take the time to know your people you can incorporate personal touches in everything you do—and when you do that consistently, you change culture. You change the momentum of how others respond to you, and how people respond to others. It is a domino effect that is absolutely contagious.
2. Add Nurturing Details
Attention to detail can go a long way. It’s those seemingly minor details that can make a huge difference in people’s day-to-day experiences. After all, we spend up to a third of our lives at work, away from our homes and families. Wouldn’t it pay to make your office culture more nurturing, using personal touches that can make it feel more like home? Something as simple as using a tablecloth at a luncheon and presenting the food in a special way can make a huge difference as opposed to just letting people eat the food out of the box. Creating this home-like environment creates a more positive, love-filled culture. If you know your CEO loves something, remember that. Any major event that I organize for our company – I call it the surprise element – I do one thing to surprise the leadership. Whether that be a special company monogrammed cake at an award’s dinner, the CEO’s favorite beverage, the owner’s favorite game—these little personal touches let them know you care. You take that creativity and turn it into energy for your people – this keeps momentum going.
3. Follow Up with Managers
It’s my job to help everyone else keep our culture intact, too. Follow up with managers to make sure their teams are attending events, that employees are engaged, and that everyone has a clean and safe work area. I rally the troops to make sure events are planned and then implemented across different teams. Everyone else has a lot going on, too, so I make it a priority to act as the point-person between different teams within the organization. Not only the employees need rallying sometimes – by being that person for the managers, we can all come together to have a great company culture.
4. Remember You’re the Face of Your Company
You must remember you’re ultimately the front and face of the organization. You are the first impression of your company when someone walks through your doors—and that impacts people! When someone is not greeted with warmth and kindness, it leaves a void. Many organizations these days are feeling that the office admin role isn’t impactful, and they can have an automated sign-in and automated greeting. But the truth is, you can never take away the warmth of a human being. Whenever someone visits our company, I remind myself of this. We may not be the only agency or recruiting firm they visit today—and my words or response can impact whether they have a positive first impression, or they go down the street to a competitor.
People are a creature of their environments. So why would you not spend extra time, money, and resources to create a positive company culture? So many people try to cut costs in this area and it’s the most detrimental thing they can do for any organization. Investing in your company’s culture has a domino effect on everyone around you. Taking the time and effort to love your people from the minute they walk in to the minute they walk out is what matters most in today’s complex world.
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