Who is actually the boss in your office? A recent study suggests that workers in different positions have different perceptions about who's calling the shots.
Mostly, the survey of 1,800 U.S. adults, commissioned by the Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends.com, demonstrated the high level of uncertainty among employees about where responsible rests for workplace culture.
It found, for instance, that few workers believe that HR defines the workplace culture. Only 10 percent of managers and rank-and-file workers said so, as did a third of HR personnel.
Executive leadership was similarly not given a lot of credit for company culture. Only a quarter of managers said that the executive team was responsible for the feel of a workplace, while only 11 percent of HR professionals and 9 percent of other workers said the same.
If the corporate overlords aren’t running the show, that must mean that Americans believe it is the workers — the salt of the company’s earth — who define a business’ culture. Alas, the survey shows few are certain about that either. Only 29 percent of employees believe that they are the most important cultural force in the workplace.
Only 9 percent of HR professionals and 13 percent of managers believed that it was the workers who made the company what it is. Twenty-eight percent of those polled believe that nobody necessarily defines the workplace culture.
The survey also showed that employees have different opinions about what contributes most to company culture.
Rank-and-file workers identified pay, respect among colleagues, and work/life balance as the three most important factors in a company culture.
In contrast, HR personnel cited "managers and executives leading by example," "employee benefits," and a "shared mission and values" as the three top priorities for creating a strong culture. Managers agreed, except they prioritized customer service over employee benefits.
"It is surprising, and frankly alarming, to see such a wide gap between how employees view and experience workplace culture versus their managers and HR professionals,” said Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute. “There is very little common ground concerning who defines the culture, what is important to creating a winning culture, and what can ruin it.”