Routines and Culture in Organizations

by Shelley Frost
Promote safety and other values in your workplace culture.

Promote safety and other values in your workplace culture.

Felipe Dupouy/Lifesize/Getty Images

An organization's culture encompasses the general attitudes, norms and values that define the company. A positive culture aids in retaining current employees and attracting top candidates for new job openings. Routines play a key role in establishing the acceptable norms and behaviors within the workplace. These same behaviors help mold the company's culture. Analyzing the company's routines aids in making changes as necessary to improve the culture.


The routines managers and employees engage in day after day set the acceptable standards for the workplace culture. If managers typically roll into work 15 minutes or more late every day, that routine is likely to transfer to the employees. This may create a culture that makes tardiness and bending the rules acceptable. The routines used in the workplace become second nature to employees whose expectations are influenced by those routines. For example, if a weekly staff meeting on Tuesday mornings is part of the routine, employees expect that to continue every Tuesday.


Routines often start with the management team. The actions of the managers signal to employees what is acceptable. Employees may begin establishing their own routines to complete the assigned work. If the manager lets employees get away with the routines they create, the staff assumes those behaviors are acceptable. The company handbook is another guide that helps establish routines in the workplace. The handbook should define the types of behavior and routines that are acceptable.


An analysis of your company's current routines gives you a better idea of how they are impacting the culture. Spend time observing work performed in the office to determine the regular routines. Taking notes gives you a reference for making changes if necessary. Interviewing employees gives you a sense of how they view the company's culture and the routines that are currently used. Meet with other management staff to get their opinions on the routines and how they are affecting the company's culture.

Changing Routines

If the routines at your company are creating a culture you don't want, making changes to your expectations can help reset the routines. Focus on the particular routines you analyzed that are detrimental to the company's culture. Create a plan for correcting those routines to have a positive impact. For example, if employees are in the habit of complaining to a supervisor to get out of work, establish a formal grievance system employees must use. Write specific job descriptions and checklists to ensure all duties are assigned. This gets employees in the routine of completing their assigned tasks and handling complaints through proper channels.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

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  • Felipe Dupouy/Lifesize/Getty Images
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