One of the biggest buzzes in business today is about “Company Culture”. What is Company Culture? In its simplest terms, Company Culture is the workplace environment. What is it like day in and day out at the office? However, it really is a little more complex than that. It is like your organization’s DNA, and organizational culture is not easy to change. It becomes ingrained in every fiber of the company, for better or worse.
Years of leadership, company values and policies make up the organization’s hereditary material. The life inside the company will reflect the result of the meshing of these things and the result is Company Culture. When professional recruiters look to hire top talent, they realize that this is one of the main selling features in the employee hiring process.
Are you curious about your own organization’s culture? Here are a few questions to consider, as well as help you differentiate good culture from bad:
- Are people excited to come to work?
- Are you and your co-workers offering new ideas for improvement?
- Is collaboration occurring on a regular basis?
- Is everyone rowing the boat in the same direction?
- Do you see examples of teamwork occurring on a daily basis?
- Is morale good?
If you find you answered “no” to most of these, then your Company Culture is most likely very poor. A good culture is one where employees are excited to put their talents to work; to see the fruits of their labor in action. They are happy to help their fellow workers and brainstorm new and exciting ideas. They are happy to bring those ideas up to their managers in a receptive environment that encourages this behavior. They understand the goals and direction the organization is going, and are happy to propel it forward.
Once you get an understanding of what Company Culture is you realize its importance. Having a strong Company Culture is a major advantage when hiring top talent. Click To Tweet Having a workplace environment that is positive and inclusive in place is one of the best talent acquisition solutions. Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like that?
Still not convinced? Duke’s Fuqua School of Business surveyed more than 1,400 North American CEOs and CFOs over 13 months from 2014 to 2015. Their findings:
- More than 90% said that culture was important at their firms.
- More than 50% said corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates.
- Only 15% said their firm’s corporate culture was where it needed to be.
- 70% of respondents agreed: “Leadership needs to spend more time to develop the culture.”
What does this mean? Company Culture is regarded as important, and yet many organizations are not where they need to be. Happy workers are productive workers. A strategy on how to instill and maintain a workplace environment where employees feel heard and included as a part of the company’s overall goals, by doing their individual parts should be included as part of any Leadership Development training.
So now we know what Company Culture is and why it is important. The only thing that remains is how to get it. Unfortunately, this is the reason why many organizations abandon this endeavor. Why? Well, it takes effort, and often, time and money. It takes away from the sell, sell, sell, type of grind that many companies generally prefer. The problem is, they are stunting the growth of the very profits and good margins they seek by having a staff that is not engaged. These employees have no interest in taking up arms for the mission of the company that does not care about them.
Engaged and happy employees are willing to go the extra mile. They stay late when needed, to finish those important proposals and projects for the betterment of the organization. All too often, they sacrifice their personal lives so they can see the company succeed. Progressive companies comprehend the importance of work-life balance, and encourage it. Click To Tweet They grasp the fact that their employees are useless if burned out.
Employee Engagement is important for organizations to achieve levels they never thought possible. This is the “two heads are better than one” theory. The people working for your business were hired for a reason. More than likely it was experience, expertise, or a combination of both. Harness that power by cultivating an environment where people can give their input (both good and bad), without feeling like they will be punished. This is a must. You cannot get honest feedback without trust. You may think you already have great communication but you need to consider the Employee Disconnect that may exist right under your nose. I recommend the following guidelines:
- Require all suggestions to come with a solution. There is nothing worse to a leader than having people come with problems, but never offering solutions. This also forces them to contemplate if there are any alternatives or if we just need to put this issue in an “it is what it is” file.
- Set the expectation. Not every idea that comes up will be implemented. As the leader of the organization you have to look at all sides of the situation and it just may not be possible to integrate it into the operations. By setting the expectation, at least they are prepared for the possibility that you are not going to take every idea and run with it.
- Tell them to be ready to defend their suggestion. This one is tricky and it requires some tact. You want to create an environment where people will speak up. Still, you want to set the expectation that you are going to have a different view of things and all suggestions will be looked at from every angle. You do not want them to misinterpret your objections as you are not being open to new ideas. You are simply looking bigger-picture. This will challenge them to consider perspectives other than their own; get them to look at issues with a 360 view. How does this change impact our customers? How does it impact other departments in the organization? What are the financial ramifications, etc.? Sharing information helps to keep things transparent and encourages employee engagement. Your employees will understand the reasoning behind decisions, and will feel more involved in achieving goals. It will improve their value by understanding the inner-workings of the organization better.
- If the positives outweigh the negatives, implement it. The sooner the better. It will show people you are serious about their input as well as improving the operations within the company. Failure to execute will undermine the whole process and people will stop giving feedback.
People like to feel valued. Many organizations feel a simple “good job” or even just having a job should suffice. Nothing…I mean NOTHING will make an employee feel better than to see one of their suggestions get implemented. It will also spread to others who will see it and think, “I want to get one of my suggestions put into action.”
Creating a happy environment for employees is easy and it does not have to cost much money. Click To Tweet It can come in the form of public praise and recognition that does not cost anything. Dollar scratch-off lottery tickets anytime you catch someone doing something good, is an inexpensive way to encourage employee engagement and will go far in creating workplace wellbeing. It can also come in the form of bonuses, dinners, and trips. Company outings, picnics/potluck, holiday parties are good at bringing everyone together and creating company camaraderie.
The truth is that the options are endless. The point is that it does not have to cost a lot to be successful. There is no reason to not have some form of recognition program in your organization. There are now even positions like “Director of Fun” that are actually on the rise as companies are trying to become more employee centered. This is a very encouraging trend and proves some companies are seeing the value in positive Company Culture.
It is paramount to remember that people are the most important resource in any organization. Click To Tweet How they feel towards the organization matters. Taking the steps to ensure a positive culture will go a long way to your company’s success. Failure to do so will only result in stunted growth and high turnover, which will cost you far more in the long run.
“You don’t build a business. You build people, and then people build the business.”
Do you have any workplace or personal leadership stories? Any great tips or advice about company culture you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what you’ve got. Comment below, and connect with us on Social Media!