Workplace culture is more than just office trappings and fun events; it’s actually an intentionally designed shared workplace experience that requires practice and developed skill on the part of employees.

What kind of practice and skill is required? Workplace skills that support the ability to effectively communicate in the manner adopted by the organization, as well as the ability to be respectful and inclusive and make good ethical decisions. These core workplace skills, working in tandem, create a shared workplace experience that benefits the employer brand and improves recruitment, retention, and productivity. But these skills take intention, practice, and development.

Why Focus on Workplace Culture Skills Rather Than Knowledge of Workplace Rules and Policies?

Can you read a book and automatically be a good communicator? A good decision-maker? Empathetic? These topics require learned behavior. And learned behavior takes practice over time. For example, there are plenty of “decent” people that act disrespectfully—sometimes unknowingly; sometimes carelessly; sometimes recklessly. People need to be consciously respectful when they interact with co-workers.

What about the ability to be inclusive? Again, being consciously inclusive means we slow down; rely on a neutral framework to help us make better workplace decisions and make an effort to switch our perspective to see a situation from another person’s shoes.

How about making ethical decisions? When people are emotional and excited at a personal benefit or scared about a negative situation, then anyone can rationalize anything! Any of us can tell ourselves a story that supports an intended decision—no matter how unethical.

Workplace Skills Take Deliberate Practice

These are not innate abilities. Just because you are a well-intentioned person doesn’t mean you will be a great member of the workplace or reflect the shared expectations for a specific workplace experience. Sure, some people may be more intuitive than others. But even if you intuitively have the right approach, it’s not the same as intentionally developing these skills and consciously putting them into use each day.

These are skills in the same way people have management skills. Yes, you can read a book and theoretically understand the concepts… but it takes ongoing practice to become competent and skilled. And that’s what employees and organizations need—workplace skills to deliberately advance a specific workplace experience

And when we work with others, it’s our individual responsibility to develop our workplace skills so that we’re actively contributing to a healthy workplace culture.

Workplace Culture Resources

Want to learn more about developing your workplace respect skill and creating a healthy culture? Check out these workplace culture resources:

Ready to take the next step? Preview our Conflict Resolution Course.