Moving Gambia Forward: Stellar Workplace Culture

workplace culture

Have you ever worked in an environment that made you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps you did not feel you could voice your concerns regarding work-related issues to your boss, or your colleagues. Or maybe your place of work was a toxic environment that you dreaded coming into each day. Considering the amount of time most of us spend at work (40 hours per week for a standard full-time job), it is important that our places of work are positive environments where we each feel valued.

Workplace Culture

According to The Balance, workplace culture is “a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes. But, [it] is something that you cannot actually see, except through its physical manifestations in your workplace.”

Although it is difficult to define, workplace culture permeates every aspect of the employees’ work experience. It affects employees’ productivity, so it is in the company’s interest to create work environments that are positive and open. According to ERC: HR Insights Blog, having a good work culture attracts talent – people want to work for employers who value them. There is also a link between positive culture and company performance; if you have a good company or institutional culture, your employees are more productive, thus making the organization perform better.

Country Culture Influence on Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is shaped by customs and social norms; therefore naturally, it varies from country to country. For example, in Spain, it is customary to take a short siesta where people often go home to recharge and relax. In China, the paternalistic leadership model is predominant in the workplace – meaning that supervisors are very hands-on and employees receive strict directions from managers. Although workplace culture is shaped by the country’s culture and norms, there are universal practices that can be applied to create a positive environment to work in.

Gambia challenges

Gambian culture is shaped by its religious traditions, societal norms and patriarchal practices. These influences are reflected in the existing workplace culture in the country. Creating a work culture that emphasizes the value and importance of employees is the key to establishing an environment where employees are the most productive. Although the paternalistic Gambian culture can sometimes feel at odds with universal practices that foster a positive workplace environment, it is important for companies to begin to apply to universal principles in order for our organizations and institutions to evolve. Professional performance is directly linked to establishing good work culture – employees are the most productive when they work in positive environments.

The Characteristics of a Positive Work Culture -Best Practices Worldwide

Keeping in mind that social norms and customs influence a country’s work culture, there are best practices listed below that can be applied irrespective of geographical location.

1. Appreciation

Let’s face it, having your hard work consistently go unnoticed is not fun. Getting recognized for the work you do can serve as motivation to strive to greater lengths and reassure you that you are valued. It is important for companies to recognize the work of their employees – not necessarily through grand gestures, but through small things that demonstrate their appreciation for the contributions of their employees. This can serve as an incentive for the employees to want to do good work, making them more productive – which positively affects the company’s performance in the long run.

2. Good Leadership

Good leadership is paramount to a positive corporate culture. The management is responsible for modeling the beliefs of the company and instilling the values in the employees. In order to do this, they need to practice what they preach and serve as good role models for employees. Good leadership also involves empowering employees and making them realize their full potential. It is important to create an environment where employees can voice their concerns to their supervisors, and where they feel their voices are heard and respected. It is up to the leaders to establish good and open communication practices so that the work environment can be healthy and positive.

3. Support and Opportunity for Growth

It is important that employers recognize the hard work of their employees, but it is also important for them to support their employees by offering opportunities for continued growth. This creates an environment where employees will go the extra mile to complete tasks and make sure that they are done well. Support can come in the form of formal training, workshops, peer-to-peer work experience, or a variety of other practices that foster continued learning. Establishing a supportive environment that promotes continued growth, demonstrates to employees that they are valued, thus encouraging them to work hard.

4. New Hires and the Importance of Onboarding and Orientation

For newly hired people, their first interaction and experience with the company will come in their onboarding or orientation. It is important for companies to have a process in place to orient new hires with the company’s culture. This helps establish, from early on, the company’s core values and their beliefs. When the values are clear and well understood, employees will be more likely to abide by them. For many Gambian companies, there is no set onboarding process that occurs, so many employees do not see the company’s values and beliefs being practiced in day-to-day operations. It is crucial for companies to create a system that teaches these values to employees so that the core beliefs can be instilled in them at an early stage. This belief in the company becomes your strength.

A company’s culture is apart of its DNA, and it ultimately shapes how employees feel about their work experiences. Having a positive culture can positively impact employees’ productivity, thus affecting the company’s performance. While social customs and norms are factors in workplace culture, universal practices can be applied to create a positive work environment. In The Gambia, many companies do not have a formal onboarding process for their employees; company culture orientation is not really discussed nor is it instilled in employees. Changing this by establishing core beliefs and ensuring that they practiced by leaders then instilled in employees from early on is paramount to creating a work environment that benefits both the employees and employers.

Written by MakalliMatta Consulting (MMC).
Contact MMC for your company culture design and training at info@makallimatta.com or www.makallimatta.com

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