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  • Writer's pictureBrad Weinbrum

Building a workplace culture of authenticity

There is widespread agreement that workplace culture is an integral part of any organization with significant impact on employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Unfortunately, only 23% of employees in a recent survey felt they could apply their organizational values to the everyday work and only 27% agreed they believed in their company values. Why the disconnect? Why aren’t more leaders defining ideal culture let alone activating it?


Authenticity in culture means your employees consistently feel valued, respected, and empowered to be their true and best selves. Research continues to show that great company culture leads to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity. Companies like Bombas, Patagonia, and Zappos are leading examples of strong, authentic workplace culture. They consistently prioritize their employees' well-being and provide opportunities for growth and development, resulting in a positive and fulfilling work environment, reduced employee turnover and positive company outcomes.

Conversely, failure to define company culture or to activate that culture exposes the entire organization to risk of employee mistrust, confusion, inconsistent expectations and quiet quitting. Prioritizing profits over people and egos over accountability lead to high levels of stress and burnout. These dysfunctional realities carry a direct impact to your customer experience AND your bottom line.


3 Tips to improve an authentic workplace culture:

1. Prioritize transparency and open communication: Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas and even frustrations with colleagues and managers just the way one would expect to do in a family. Doing so builds trust and fosters a sense of authentic community within the organization. To support this, consider creating standardized meeting templates to guide team meetings and one-on-one manager-employee meetings. Templates should create space for conversation around activity updates, roadblocks, as well as coaching and growth & development opportunities.

2. Encourage employee input: Employees are often your greatest resource for innovative thinking, problem solving, and raw truth about the state of affairs inside your organization. Consider a consistent “voice of the employee” survey to stay close to things that are going well, problem areas that are (or are not) improving. Measure, socialize, celebrate the victories, and be humble about problem areas and your willingness to work through them. Further, consider identifying your “super-engagers” into an ambassador committee who can help engage teammates at the ground level and support innovation.

3. Lead by example: Company leaders set the tone for the organization by embodying the company's values and treating employees the way they want themselves and their customers to be treated. If you have not yet clearly defined your company values- start there. Remember, a value is only a value if you are willing to risk money to defend it. If you are satisfied with your values, consider making leadership accountable to actively prioritizing culture by including culture as a component of the annual review process and bonus structure. This can include culture scores by department and/or honest insights from direct reports.

In the end, an authentic workplace culture is the foundation on which lasting success is built.

For more information about how to improve company culture, reach out to our team at hr@nivalmi.com or visit www.nivalmi.com.


Transforming success into legacy is the Nivalmi purpose. Developing leadership is our passion. Nivalmi is a carefully curated team of seasoned consultants helping unlock opportunity, improve efficiency and guide the change necessary to create measurable improvements in people, culture and bottom lines. For more information, visit www.nivalmi.com.

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