Workplace Culture Matters


Have you wondered why some people hate showing up to work, while others can’t wait for the next business day?  In some cases, the job itself isn’t a good fit for the individual, but a poor working environment can turn even a dream job into a nightmare. A company’s culture can dramatically affect how employees feel about their workplace, coworkers, and customers, which will reflect in their interactions. A  business’ success is contingent on creating a successful workplace environment as it can attract or repel customers as well as potential talent to your workpool.  If bosses and managers fail to establish an atmosphere that reflects the company’s values, the workplace will still create it’s own culture, but one that might not reflect what you want it to.

Making Time for Change

Developing a workplace culture could take time and new strategies. Training, which is often experienced only by new hires, is vital for employees of all levels. Jose Cruz of Sotelo & Associates coaches and trains middle- and upper-managers on leading a successful team. Among other things, he believes that creating a space in which to have sincere dialogue is vital.

According to Cruz, it is best practice to communicate your company’s values directly, making sure to instill them in your employees and reinforcing them through the environment. In addition to learning from experts like Cruz, managers and small business owners could find it helpful to take pointers from companies with highly functional workplace cultures.

The Mercedes-Benz brand reflects success, so when you walk into Mercedes-Benz of San Juan, you will see a sales floor dressed to impress. While the professional attire of the sales staff and the elegant design of the showroom reflect this, so does their workplace culture. General Manager Gilbert Garcia explains what makes Mercedes-Benz of San Juan pull in record sales: a commitment to making service the core of their culture, providing the best at the local level. He states, “We come in every morning to be of service.”

Embody Company Values

Your company is your employees.  They serve as either the the face of the  business, or produce the products that will represent your work to the public. Creating a culture in which all members of the team embrace the vision of the organization helps to relay to the world the company’s values.

“How may I be of service?” greets Garcia.  His business card  reads the same, while their website explains that the culture of Mercedes-Benz of San Juan is “fueled by our desire to enhance the lifestyle of every customer.”  At the corporate level, Mercedes-Benz’s slogan is “The Best or Nothing.”  Luxury is the business of giving people what they want, thus the message at Mercedes-Benz of San Juan is clear: They are at your service, as this is what their elite clientele is accustomed to. Through an “employee-centered” business model, Mercedes – Benz of San Juan hopes to convey to employees this commitment. They break down the rigid managerial structures found in other companies and emphasize a culture of service from the top down.   Garcia explained that at Mercedes-Benz of San Juan, managers and their teams are all partners.   Managers are there to serve and empower their team by giving them not only the resources but the power they need to make their customers happy.

“Our employee partners are empowered to take care of customers,” says Garcia.  “We give our customers ‘The 300% Experience:’  We give 100% of ourselves to 100% of our customers, 100% of the time.”  Employees are encouraged to make decision and take action to keep their customers satisfied. Allowing individuals to take  initiative makes them vital to the vision and empowers employees, investing them on a personal level in the company’s success. They show up energized to see their ideas succeed.

The Right  Environment

 As Cruz suggests for all workplaces, Mercedes-Benz of San Juan has a dedicated time and place to ensure everyone’s concerns are voiced, and accomplishments and ideas celebrated. For Mercedes-Benz of San Juan, this space is their monthly professional book clubs. All employees and managers meet in small groups and are treated to lunch.  These groups reflect the diversity of the company and are designed to represent individuals from all departments, including sales, automotive, finance, and marketing.  Through this book club, they learn and refresh ideas about professionalism and how to be effective in the business world.  They read book such as “Who Moved my Cheese?” andThe Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”    

Partners also make use of this informal meeting to elect an Employee of the Month who they feel has gone beyond their required service. Employees of the Month receive a parking spot, free gas for a month, their name added to a trophy, and a bonus.  
A Winning Team

The ethos of success found in the workplace culture at Mercedes-Benz of San Juan is reflected in their customer service.  Creating this climate breeds productivity. Some employees may finish reading this article thinking of their own toxic work situation… and how to get out of it. As a manager or business owner, take a look at your workplace culture and ask yourself, “Would I want to work here?”  Talented individuals want to join an environment where their efforts are appreciated and the team is winning.