Company culture is the big beach umbrella keeping you cool and protected. It’s the company’s engaging personality (hopefully not split, fractured or dysfunctional). It’s the DNA of an organization –its unique genetic code that’s created by what its unique individuals bring to the business barbeque.
And in the words of Brain Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb, “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion.”
If your company culture is recognition-rich, a glorious by product is that you will have lower employee turnover rates. Why would people want to leave a fantastic work environment? These day’s job seekers decide on applying for positions that show a robust, exciting company culture. It is as important as salary and benefits –especially for millennials.
This is not an abstract concept, it’s the route to attracting and retaining the best employees by creating a supportive workplace where morale is kept high. People have to believe they are in an environment where they can succeed and be recognized for their efforts. A great culture will boost productivity and see creativity exploding into the stratosphere.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Simon Sinek
So, What’s the Game Plan?
1. Be Transparent
Let your team know exactly what is going on in the company. No blinkers, no rose colored glasses just 20/20 vision on all operations. Then step back and ask your employees what they think about the whole set up and modus operandi. Giving voice gains trust.
2. Talk Together
Are your current communication channels the most effective for collaboration? Can people share important information quickly and easily?
3. Shout outs and Backslapping
Sing your colleagues praises. Share success stories. Encourage it in every direction – peer-to-peer and from leaders to latest team members. Wherever a valuable contribution has been made –make a big song and dance of rewarding the behavior. This is not a once a year, awards dinner type thing. It’s a daily dose of honoring those who contribute meaningfully. Say “thank you” sincerely.
4. Share to Solve
If your company is facing a challenge, ask for possible solutions. There are clever, brain storming geniuses in your fold –get all the brainpower at your disposal, working to solve the issue.
5. Cultivate Co-Worker Collisions
You’re looking to build good relationships. But it doesn’t automatically happen as soon as people sign their employment contract. Relationships take concerted effort, time and space. Find the face-to-face place for more authentic conversations. You can’t develop connection through emails. You want to be able to have a work space that encourages moments of chance meetings and unscheduled chats. Make sure your building’s spaces lend itself to spontaneity.
6. Don’t Back Seat Drive
Take your foot off excessive micro management and give your workers some autonomy. This empowers responsible choice and self confident action. They will embrace their accountability when they aren’t going to be “held” accountable. It fosters taking initiative.
7. Become Rubber Man
Stretch yourself. Become flexible like a contortionist by providing flexibility for your employees. Understand that people have lives and sometimes those priorities might outweigh their work ones. Their child is swimming in an important competition, maybe they need to work from home for a period, perhaps a sabbatical is required. Whatever life is going to serve your employees, be open to finding a flexible solution to their needs.
8. Push Their Purpose Buttons
Show your employees how what they do creates impact. Fuel their lives with purpose and passion so they can experience personal growth.
9. Train Team Players
Encourage employees to see themselves as a unified team, they are not alone. Everyone is pulling together behind one aim.
10. Give Frequent Feedback
Don’t save it all up for the end of the year evaluation. Get specific. Assist your employees with tools and resources to improve and evolve. Give feedback, then listen and facilitate.
11. Value your Values
Your values are the signboards that tell everyone out there what is meaningful to you. They are not just about a list that can populate your home page – they must speak to the heart of your business, what drives you and what you are passionate about. When you have authentic, heartfelt values –your employees can align powerfully with them.
“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed…Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Building an enduring company culture doesn’t just happen with cool décor, hip slogans and free lunches every now and again. It’s a long term effort that requires constant bonsai style pruning. It takes massive energy, patience and constant effort. Outsourcing some of the load to a Staffing Agency can be beneficial in certain situations as well. There will never be a finish line only a stimulating journey. When in doubt –give afternoon treats!
“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”
Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks