Three core components to a great work environment

There are three core components to creating an attractive and compelling work environment.

The first and most critical component is business success and stability. Many see being “too” focused on financial numbers as somehow not complementary with creating a great work environment. It is only through financial stability that a company can protect its work culture. I’ve seen some of the most creative and fun work environments crumble from the strain of financial instability.

The second most vital component is the work culture. Often people confuse work culture with work place personality. The work culture are the underlying principles that govern how employees interact, how success is measured, and how people are held accountable. The work culture reflects the overall value system of the company. Therefore, I believe strong emphasis on mutual respect, accountability, collaboration and individual empowerment will help create substantive and successful work cultures.

Some work cultures protect processes more than actual results. Others reward creativity and risks. A lot of the elements of work culture aren’t even written in any employee handwork. Yet, they strongly influence how people behave with one another, or whether deadlines are likely to be met, or whether everyone is aligned to the same vision.

The last component is the work place personality. This is the most obvious of the three components but the least important. Leaders, however, spend most of their time focusing on the work place personality as a way of influencing the work environment.

The work place personalities can take many different forms. In the digital marketing space, many offices have open work areas without cubicles for better collaboration. In a call center, there might be a sales scoreboard in the middle of the room measuring individual successes for the day. In many startups, video game consoles are a common part of the office equipment for developers during breaks. At one of my companies, we used to run remote control car races as a team building exercise.

Too often, executives put too much emphasis on the personality of the work place, and not enough on the work culture. A fun work place personality can only be effective with a foundation of a solid work culture that encourages collaboration, accountability, mutual respect and individual empowerment. And that solid work culture can only be successful if the company is enjoying business success and financial stability.