Exploring Culture In The Workplace
Kelsi Thompson, Communications Advisor at Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce
Workplace culture is more than just the environment that you create for your employees. The right workplace culture can have a significant impact on job satisfaction, productivity, internal/external relationships and is founded in an organisation’s leadership, values and beliefs.
The Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce have been on a journey of discovery with cultural connection to the land we operate on. As a team, we are interested in discovering the impact of entrenching Māori tikanga (values) and kawa (protocol) in our organisation.
This month the team were fortunate to be taken on a guided walking tour of Ōtātara Pā by kaitiaki hapū member Chad Tareha (Ngāti Pārau). As a custodian of Ōtātara Pā, Chad hosts local businesses, schools, and council groups to share pūrākau (stories) of the area.
What we found on our hikoi (walk) was that we had less understanding of the area than we initially thought. We found value in not only getting out of the office and stretching our legs but also in sharing stories and connecting on a deeper level.
Cultural understanding is founded in respect for the multitude of cultural practices that can be found in New Zealand. Being mindful of Māori tradition and understanding the stories of local Māori strengthens the bonds between team members and the land the organisation operates on.
Part of the Hawke’s Bay Chamber’s values are deeply entrenched in doing exactly what we say we will do, and part of this is walking the talk when it comes to building an understanding of cultural practice in Hawke’s Bay.
Tūtira Mai have put together a helpful guide of common cultural practices that can enhance strong relationships, respect, and connectedness.
The value of embedding tikanga practices into organisations is in creating a sense of unity, togetherness, evidence that you genuinely care about each other, and empowering your team to make their own decisions around health and wellness.
Ultimately, a culturally empowered workplace has been proven to improve productivity, increase job satisfaction and trust in an organisation.
Acknowledging traditional Māori values while embracing a modern future would be a significant step forward for New Zealand businesses to grow the potential of employees.