Workplace Culture is a Hot Topic this Summer

Bus Drivers at Anamosa School District in Iowa regularly gather for meals, such as their annual end of school year party.
Bus Drivers at Anamosa School District in Iowa regularly gather for meals, such as their annual end of school year party.

Establishing a positive and uplifting culture in the workplace gives employees a sense of family and belonging. In return, they will feel part of a team and are likely to commit to the company for a longer period of time.

The July 2019 issue of School Transportation News magazine places an emphasis on culture at school districts and companies. It discusses subjects relating to the safety, driver appreciation and trust within an organization. The STN EXPO Indianapolis in June 2019 also focused on keeping drivers happy and developing trust and retention within an organization.

David Horsager, bestselling author and CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute, shared the eight pillars of trust that were uncovered in his research on effective organizations. He discussed how developing trust is paramount to creating a stronger sense of gratitude in the workplace, as well as organizational success.


Related: Horsager Shares the Eight Pillars of Trust at STN EXPO Indy
Related: Cook-Illinois Encourages Healthy Employees via Vegetation Transportation


Many companies have their own success stories on what team-building exercises work for them. An STN reader survey conducted this spring found that more than half of the respondents view their workplace culture as favorable, with 15 percent seeing it as poor or toxic.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said their work culture needs a little improvement to smooth out the rough areas, yet 12 percent said if one person left, a lot of problems would be fixed.

Publisher Tony Corpin’s column in the July magazine reiterates that one difficult person in the organization can disrupt the entire workplace culture.

How to Instill Culture?

While there is no one “fix-all” button to improve company culture and moral, there are certainly a lot of options out there to show your employees appreciation. School bus contractor Cook-Illinois Corp., based in Chicago, created the “Bus-a-Move” Program that gives employees access to free or reduced healthy options. The company offers its employees free Zumba classes, vegetables for purchase at a reduced price, company walks and more.

Raquita Shupe, health and wellness manager for Cook-Illinois, said that by providing this perk to their employees, the company is promoting a positive environment and encouraging a family atmosphere.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC. recently organized a boat-building activity for around 200 of its employees. The purpose of the exercise was to encourage employees to achieve a shared goal, drive camaraderie and to work together for a common purpose, according to a press release by Bendix.

The event focused on the construction of two, 45-foot wooden Viking boats. Employees were divided into groups, with each one responsible for building a different section of the boat. The second activity was a conference on emotional intelligence to drive synergy and a sense of belonging.

Bendix said its employees reacted positively to the experience, and it will allow the employees to implement the lessons learned, not primarily in their professional life, but also their personal and family lives as well.

However, companies don’t have to go over the top when creating a workplace culture and promoting a positive environment. Many companies recognize their employees with smaller shows of appreciation. Food seems to be a favorite show of recognition.

Asheville City School’s transportation department in North Carolina posted a tweet on an employee watermelon party.


Editor’s Note: Read the July issue of School Transportation News to learn about how other school districts instill a positive culture and recognize their employees.