The Value of Defining Company Culture

At United Way of Southeast Louisiana, we know some things about our culture. We’re passionate about making our world better. We’re kid friendly - and dog friendly! We work hard and we love to have a good time. People want to work here and those of us who get to are so proud of the work that we’re doing.

We know we’re doing a lot right and we’ve tried some different things to keep growing in the years that I’ve been here. Some have stuck (recycling) and some have not (yoga), but we know there’s always room to grow so that we can do better for the communities we serve.

This spring, we’re conducting an audit to define our culture so we can see where we are – and identify what we like, and where we can improve.

Organizational culture tells us who we are as a group, what we believe and value, and what our aspirations - together - are.  A strong organizational culture supports employees to be better equipped to do their work at the highest level, provides guideposts for how to continually build and maintain effective teams, and gives direction that informs strategic planning to achieve the organization’s vision.

Some of this we already know and can answer with ease. We aspire to eradicate poverty in our seven-parish region, we believe that all people in all communities deserve equitable access to resources like high quality early childcare and education, affordable health care, and well-paying jobs. We believe that everyone should feel safe in their neighborhoods and have access to the resources and skills to build stability today and prosperity tomorrow. We believe in working together to build a future where those things are true.

Other things are more difficult to define, but we’ve got a plan! We’ve conducted an employee-wide workplace satisfaction survey and we’ll be reaching out to all of our employees for input and feedback as we work to better define the organization we want to be. Doing that will make us stronger players and stronger partners on the road to building a stronger Southeast Louisiana.

What are some of the ways that your workplace builds a healthy culture and how have you been able to develop the personality of your organization? 

Kiyomi Appleton Gaines
Executive Assistant to Michael Williamson
United Way of Southeast Louisiana