I once worked for a consulting firm as an HR Officer.
On my first week at work, I wore corporate work clothes from Monday till Thursday and looked forward to a casual workday appearance to work on Friday. I was plainly tired of the ‘kacked up’ corporate look I had on for four days now.
So on Friday, I wore a casual clothe to work. A nice top and jeans, alongside a pair of sneakers. I was so happy with my Thank God it’s Friday look.
When my Boss saw me, he asked in shock. ‘Lara are you going to the club today or to work?’. I replied to him confidently. ’Sir it’s Friday, this is a Friday dress sense’. I simply did not
understand why he was asking such a question. Who does not dress down on Friday? ‘I asked myself’.
I checked out my colleagues at work, everyone stared back at me with surprise written all over their faces. No one was wearing casual clothes!
I became confused as I suddenly felt out of place for the first time in my first week of work already. As I wondered what exactly I got wrong and the exact memo I was left uncopied on, my Boss simply asked my Buddy to share with me the Work-place Culture of the Organization. That was when I knew that in a consulting firm, there are no dress-down days or casual appearances during work hours.
The work-place or organizational culture as it is called is explained as a workplace habit, character and personality of any organization. If you are going to enjoy your work environment, you will need to understand how your workplace works and align with the culture accordingly.
Your workplace culture could include a no-smoking policy, address of colleagues and subordinates on a first name basis, safety rules such as holding the rails while walking on the stairs at work, the show of id-cards, no banging of doors policy etc. The list of workplace values is endless. You only need to understand the values and characters of your organisation and align accordingly.
So, if at your workplace, you could address your boss on a first name basis, and you transit to another establishment where the first-name address is not part of the culture, you could be seen as disrespectful if you address a senior colleague by a first name. With every organization you work with, you will need to align with the workplace culture, to avoid the same experience I had on my 4th day of work at the consulting firm.
In every organization, there is a management style, business value, dress code, physical environment etc that are unique to a specific organisation. Understand yours, learn it and align.
Let’s discuss this, drop your comments below…
Written by: Omolara Omosehin Adeogo
About Omolara Omosehin Adeogo:
Lara holds a 9 year-plus work experience that spans across the Transit, Consulting, Telecoms and Market-Research sectors. She is a graduate of Chemistry Science from Lagos State University Nigeria and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management. Lara is a 2 time graduate of Immerse Academy, and a WIMBIZ Mentee. She currently works as a project manager in a leading market research organization- Kantar TNS Nigeria. A lover of self-development and life-long learning. Lara loves to make meaningful contributions everywhere she goes. She is married with 2 boys.