Several weeks ago I volunteered for a 2 day Australian Way corporate workshop. The purpose of AMES is to assist professional qualified migrants in finding work, interviewing skills and giving them valuable suggestions on how to expand their network in a new country.…

One of the forums was around the Australian workplace culture. The intent was of course to educate the attendees on what to expect in an office environment in Australia, and further more, provide them with some handy tips on how to “fit in” or feel “a part of the culture”.

As an observer of this particular session I sat back and listened to some of the quirks explained about Australian workplace culture and more specifically the workplace culture within Melbourne.

When you start explaining to a professional migrant that we have public holidays for a horse race, suggest they choose an AFL team to be able to contribute in office banter, and that it’s polite and socially encouraged to accept an invitation for after work drinks, it started to all sound a bit bizarre.

This is a generalist view of course but fairly accurate given I’m not originally from Melbourne and had to learn these quirks myself 12 years ago.

Wherever you are located and reading this article from, I’m sure you can relate to characteristics that make up your workplace culture and define the “feeling” of your workplace culture or “the way things are done around here”. I’m not a sociologist expert, however I have worked with various cultures (interstate and internationally) to know that workplace culture is slightly intangible but VERY REAL.

Some elements of culture can be seen clearly and other parts cannot. (although you know they exist). This is similar to the cultural system of a Tree. There are roots under ground and a whole ecosystem playing out to support the general health and vitality of a tree. This we know but not necessarily can see.

Most people talk about workplace culture defined by vision, practices, people and sense of place. While these components certainly contribute to making up a culture, what I think really defines culture is when an organisation goes through change. Lets face it, nothing stays the same, change is inevitable and whether it’s small or large change is going to happen around you.

If we were to look at our tree; where the environment and elements surrounding the tree often force change, the tree needs to adapt and be agile for survival and longevity.

So what if culture was defined more around adaption, agility, connection and discipline. If you could improve and become more aware of each of these components and how to improve them, maybe our ever changing ecosystem in the workplace would make for a much happier and healthier culture?

Go and Inspire