New Work is often characterized by terms like meaning-making, community and self-fulfillment. These ideas refer less to the work itself and more to the “big picture” of any individual’s working life. Nevertheless, it’s crystal clear what an important role things like mentality, values and vision play in a New Work environment – all concepts that come to life in the company’s corporate culture.
But what exactly is corporate culture, and how can companies implement and maintain it? To answer this, we’ve compiled the most important information on the topic and outlined how you can use your corporate culture to position yourself as an attractive employer in the age of New Work.
What is corporate culture?
What values, norms and attitudes determine the actions of a company? The answers to this question directly shape the culture of that organization. Corporate culture affects company employees and managers in equal measure. It influences decision-making, the overall sense of community, and has become an important factor in recruiting. Today, many companies go so far as to conduct corporate culture interviews in order to determine whether candidates share the company’s values.
The role of corporate culture in New Work
When companies want to implement New Work principles, corporate culture plays a key role. The implementation of New Work begins with the company’s mentality. Decisive questions companies interested in New Work should ask themselves are: How do our managers behave? What does community mean for our company? What values are important to us? The answers to these questions are key to understanding what’s important to you as an organization.
However, corporate culture does more than serve as a guide for the right New Work measures. It brings people together, creates meaning and makes the values of a company tangible.
Creating the feeling of being together – even if you can’t meet in person
Accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, the office is quickly receding from the center of work, in part because many teams work at least partially from home. This means that teams only exchange information in virtual meetings or via chat. The small talk at the coffee machine, the pleasant exchanges during lunch and the spontaneous get-togethers after work have all but vanished.
In order to maintain a sense of community, companies need to come up with alternatives. A particularly important link for the team is the corporate culture. On the one hand, team cohesion is an important aspect of many corporate cultures, and thus firmly anchored in the company’s approach. On the other hand, a strong corporate culture is characterized by shared values and goals, conveying a sense of togetherness – even without being physically together.
Part of corporate culture is defining a common goal. This is often described in the vision of companies and brands. This goal has a meaningful effect and provides a value-based answer to the question: “Why do I go to work every day?”
A shared goal also helps ensure that all employees in a company are working toward the same objective. Ideally, the goal is formulated in such a way that it can be applied to all areas of the company, and each department can recommend actions that serve the team objectives.
The underlying values
Values serve as a compass for achieving goals. They define the way in which smaller and larger goals can be achieved. In the context of New Work, the focus is on values aimed at community, self-actualization and freedom. Accordingly, these aspects should be clearly visible in the corporate culture.
Making corporate culture tangible – here’s how it works
New Work offers companies various approaches to making a strong corporate culture tangible. Here are a few:
Made up of the words “cooperation” and “competition”, this term is used to stop employees from falling victim to a competitive mindset. Even those that seem as though they ought to compete should be motivated to work together. The conviction behind this is that better results can be achieved together – and that all sides benefit in the end.
In the context of New Work, participation means that decisions are no longer made only on the management level. Ideally, employees from different departments should be integrated into decision-making processes in a target-group-oriented, serious and sustainable manner. There must also be a willingness to tolerate longer decision-making processes. Here, the values and culture must stipulate that community is more important than quick resolutions.
Corporate culture is an important factor in the way managers behave in the company. For New Work, keywords such as empowerment and encouraging self-actualization are particularly important. New Work leaders should offer their teams the freedom and flexibility to realize their full potential. All this must be supported by a strong corporate culture that allows for a large degree of freedom.
Open innovation involves people outside of the organization to be involved in product development. This often takes place on open platforms such as social media or in dedicated workshops. Through Open Innovation, the company is pushed toward becoming more customer-centric.
Corporate culture is of central importance for employers and employees in the context of New Work. For this reason, it also plays a central role in recruitment. Heavily courted talent may view corporate culture as the deal breaker when deliberating between several job offers. Both sides should ask themselves: Do our values match? Do we share the same vision? Can others identify with the company’s mission? To what extent can employees actually contribute to achieving the company goals?
For a positive corporate culture to flourish, it must be felt in all areas of the company and throughout all levels. Corporate culture affects strategy, collaboration, mentality and daily work. Employers must take this requirement into account and provide employees with appropriate handouts and tools with which they can embody and live the corporate culture values.
Conclusion: Corporate culture determines the success of New Work in companies
New Work is anchored in the mindsets of employers and employees. It is thus closely linked to the corporate culture and determines the success or failure of any future New Work measures. Only if these initiatives are in line with the fundamental company culture and convictions will they be accepted, supported and successfully embraced by employees.
New Work is often characterized by terms like meaning-making, community and self-fulfillment. These ideas refer less to the work itself and more to the “big picture” of any individual’s working…