Workplace Culture Wins Every Time

graphic depicting a workplace meeting

Last week reading a few new articles on worklife fit, brought to mind a mantra I have about organizational change.

In the battle between well-intentioned policies and the unwritten rules of any workplace, unwritten rules win every time.

From the Sloan Center on Aging and Work came this Fact of the Week, Few Employers Provide Training on Workplace Flexibility. Specifically only 21% of employers train managers, and only 17% train workers.

In the Wall Street Journal, Penalized for Balancing Work and Family highlighted a new study showing once again that even in companies that offer worklife fit programs and policies, employees don’t feel comfortable using them. Why?

The workplace culture – the unwritten rules – discourage it.

Too often, when organizations push out any big change, they start and end with policies and dictates. Then leaders wonder why people won’t “do what we say” when of course, as every parent knows, they will do what you do not what you say.

Trying to make change? You have to get culture on your side to win.



  • Trying to implement a change? Sit down and talk to a few people who will be impacted by it and ask what unwritten rules will stand in the way of the change.
  • If you have worklife fit policies and programs on the books but haven’t trained managers and employees how to use them, start now. Shift the culture today by publicly rewarding a manager’s support of worklife fit, or better yet, make an obvious example of taking advantage of them yourself.
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