What You Can do to Influence Culture
Company culture, often referred to as the heartbeat of an organization, plays a pivotal role in shaping its identity, fostering employee engagement, and driving overall success. In today’s competitive business landscape, companies that prioritize and nurture a positive company culture tend to thrive, while those that neglect it may face various challenges.
One of the primary reasons why company culture is important lies in its ability to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction. A positive workplace culture fosters an environment where employees feel valued, appreciated, and motivated to perform at their best. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be productive, innovative, and dedicated to their roles.
Attract & Retain Quality Employees
In today’s competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is a key concern for businesses. A strong company culture can act as a magnet, drawing in individuals who align with the organization’s values and vision. Potential employees are more likely to seek out companies known for their positive cultures, leading to a larger pool of qualified candidates. Moreover, a thriving company culture can retain valuable talent, reducing turnover rates and associated costs. When employees are happy with their work environment, they are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. This not only saves recruitment expenses but also preserves institutional knowledge and expertise within the organization.
When you interview a potential employee, it is a two-way interview. The company is trying to find a fit for the position and find someone that can have a long tenure and impact on the business. More today than ever before, the potential employee is also interviewing the company to see what it would be like to work there. After phone screens and actual interviews are completed, both parties are given the opportunity to review what just happened and see if there are other signs that point in the direction of deciding. Some of the tools that the potential employees have at their fingertips are online reviews from both customers and current employees that reference personal views of the company and the culture.
As employers have become more aware of their online reputation, there have been campaigns to improve this footprint. There are internal and external communications sent out encouraging the survey or comment to be made on these sites so that someone reading them hears what it is like to work for this company or be a customer of this company.
Companies already focused on a consistent company culture should not have to do these campaigns and that reflects better when people are looking up comments. Having a nice spread of time between comments reflects much better towards a natural culture than having multiple reviews during the same month. Granted employees of a company are busy and may not always think about logging in to make a comment about the company or to update a previous comment, so having company culture as a topic and a reminder is different from having a campaign to get good reviews.
Employees are the most important resource in providing a service commitment to the customer. A lot of leadership teams have discussions about how they can improve the culture and make a consistent, positive culture for their internal customer.
The fundamentals of the work environment like accountability, processes and standards are the baseline for the culture. It is important to be consistent with these topics from department to department so that the groundwork for the culture is established and both leadership and front-line employees believe in it.
Setting up the Energy
Once the groundwork is started then it is time to get creative and fun with your culture. Having high standards around the performance of the teams does not mean you can not have fun while at work. All employees should be able to express their own personality within the processes and standards that have been established. Being a business that sells luxury items or provides a luxury service does not mean that the employees can not have fun and be themselves while producing results.
When you have standards that need to be followed and feedback that needs to be given, it gives your business the opportunity to rollout a piece of your culture that involves both leadership and employees to speak with radical candor. Kicking this concept off by getting the leadership team to read Radical Candor by Kim Scott will help establish the candor piece of culture and will open the doors for feedback you may not have gotten in the past.
A large part of employees being involved in the work that affects them and having a leadership team express concerns about current events is getting the team comfortable to speak on these topics in a professional manor.
Recognize Your Employees
A large part of a consistent culture is how employees get recognized. There is a misconception that recognition needs to be done in the form of financial compensation, and that is generally not the recognition that makes an impact on day-to-day culture. Employees should get active feedback about what they do wrong because they need to learn from it and improve for the next customer/transaction. With active feedback being a constant, it cannot just be all negative.
There needs to be a system where employees or leaders can give each other a shout out or first-class card for things that they did well. A method of day-to-day recognition that comes on a card, note or some sort of acknowledgement that can be documented and kept by the employee is the type of recognition that impacts culture.
At this point there is a lot of good stuff working in the positive culture direction and there are opportunities to build on that with less frequent but very valuable activities. Team building activities that include different groups of teams. There is value is doing team specific, leadership and even entire company activities that help build on the foundation already in place.
Some ideas that have worked in the past are golf tournaments, offsite meals, escape rooms and many other group activities. The point of doing these is to get teams to work together on items that are outside of their transactional days. It gives a comfort for the individuals involved to have more candor in the workplace, which is a powerful tool when used correctly.
During COVID when full teams were beginning to transition back into the office the company launched a team building lunch that was done on every Friday. A different manager would cook lunch for the company. The goal was to get the teams to interact with each other and continue to form a bond that translated to the workplace. Rolling this weekly team building out included sacrifices regarding the time for the manager that was assigned to cook as well as the expense that hit the bottom line.
The ROI in this case was a benefit for the company. It brought the employees joy and lead to interactions that created laughs and memories for a lot of the team. This added a culture piece that is fun to talk about with potential employees that again are also interviewing the company to see if it is a fit.
Include Your Team in the Details
The topic of transparency around the company is one that can help cultivate a good culture that was formed by doing some version of the above. When the company shares their goals and has an active scoreboard that is either posted or actively discussed then it continues to build on a culture that invites involvement from all levels of the organization. It gives employees something to go home with and discuss with friends and family. It allows the team to be proud of where they work. In times where the company is in the middle of a struggle, it allows the team to have the same understanding easier when changes are made.
In conclusion culture is a topic that every company should be touching on daily, weekly, and monthly. It should not be a topic that just has bursts of energy around it because that type of culture can be seen as fake. A consistent culture allows you to be proud about how you approach both success and failures as a company.
The ability to execute teamwork and lateral service becomes more seamless when the culture cultivates this type of transparency. Do not be scared to revisit the topics when they need to be addressed and improved. The time you spend making a culture that shows the employees that they are the most important resource to your company is time that will not be wasted.