A ‘conscious’ workplace culture for 2018
Culture is everywhere. It’s shapes the way we coexist and where we choose to live. It influences our views and values, our humour and hopes, our loyalties and our worries and fears.
We want rich cultural experiences in our lives. And we’re increasingly treading similar paths to which we’re spiritually aligned.
The culture of the workplace is another component of this human need. In 2018 and beyond, employees will further expect to be surrounded by enriching cultural experiences at work. Organisational culture in Australia is now another facet of a broader philosophy.
Workplace culture is more than being the latest start-up with a ping-pong table, Friday drinks, and staff yoga. It has become more about demonstrating to customers and co-workers what’s in it for them. They want to be respected as equals. Today’s customers and employees are your collaborators. And these voices are as important as anyone within an organization.
Outmoded brands struggle to find that balance. Their traditional approaches pit one pack of wolves against another. And within that, you have lone wolves competing for more – classic capitalism.
All the while, a dollar-centric push from the top stifles any sense of culture and wellbeing without considering the power of good business vs. merely profit.
Before our workplaces embrace good business, they must reject their ingrained know-it-all position and embrace the art of learning. Then, they’ll own their mishaps instead of blaming others. And competition will become collaboration. Over time, these businesses can shift from a power-at-the-top system to a dynamic of mutual empowerment.
We should continually question our reasons for doing things in business.
The Conscious Capitalism concept came from Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey and US academic Raj Sisodia, based around Sisodia’s “Firms of Endearment” investment research. That group, which notably outperformed benchmark indices, was a group of companies that generated positive outcomes for both stakeholders and the wider community.
Over 15 years to 2013, the Firms of Endearment would have delivered you a total return of about 18 times your money. Companies that fit the criteria included Amazon, Colgate, Costco, Disney and FedEx.
This year Sydney hosted an open-door evening for companies involved with Conscious Capitalism Australia & NZ. Themes included putting people and the planet before profits, collaborative cultures, sustainability and ethical decision making.
Questioning the way we all do business can be contentious. BresicWhitney has been opposed for plenty of ideas before they became accepted as the industry norm. We’ve seen this evolution in everything from our penchant for assisting buyers, to our proactive asset management.
We craved transparency but providing buyers with price guides on each listing made us an easy target for regulatory bodies digging for examples of underquoting.
But life is more than about just selling/leasing property. Our world is changing and our clients change with it. They have more choice and they’re always becoming more educated and evolved.
Our staff members’ personal infatuation with the art world has seen the brand develop a connection with art and design. The Other Art Fair and Carriageworks alliances have become an extension of the way we live and choose to express ourselves in Sydney.
Our offices have become more than a shopfront. They’re architect-designed spaces (from Chenchow Little) to inspire both staff and customers, adorned with art that challenges, inspires and confronts us.
A culturally rich workplace should evoke freedom of expression from its people. We want to feel intellectually stimulated, nurtured and nourished while being supported to have our own voice. It supports those good business principles.
Are we there yet? Definitely not. But unless our processes can enrich people’s experiences go on being ashamed of being real estate agents. Thankfully, that cliché is long gone here.
This year we placed in the Top 25 Best Places to Work. The results pointed to our innovative ideas, collective leadership and personal development programs.
It reminded us that this workplace does embrace collaboration to challenge and support staff. And the culture is the framework that allows people’s voices to be heard and honoured.
As businesses grow, this becomes more important. For many, rapid growth and success becomes their biggest liability. And when people become arrogant in success, the things they do today will haunt them later.
Building a framework of collective leadership and inspiring culture in the workplace draws on the notions of conscious capitalism – the idea that a business can serve the interests of all its major stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, the community, and their collective souls.
For those marching progressively into 2018, it’s not some faraway utopia. And it’s an alternative to chasing the destructive nature of instant gratification.