News headlines frequently bring up the importance of company culture, employee satisfaction and the perks that employees may or may not be receiving. Developing and maintaining a company culture that helps reach your business goals but also helps engage and retain employees can be tough but it’s important (and doable).
What is culture, exactly?
Culture is the identity and personality of your organization. It consists of the shared thoughts, assumptions, behaviors and values of your employees and stakeholders. Your policies and procedures (or sometimes the lack thereof) also help drive and define your organization’s culture. And, of course, the behavior of leaders in your organization also drives your organization’s culture.
An organization’s culture may be one of its strongest assets or it can be one of its biggest liabilities. The impact goes far beyond your people; it has significant influence on the achievement of your business goals. Indeed, culture drives or impedes the success of your company.
What does a successful company culture look like?
A strong and thriving company culture can:
Here’s how to boost your own company culture
The attitude of your company environment is sometimes deeply rooted and doesn’t change easily. However, leaders can manage and influence it. To create a strong culture within your organization, examine how you as a leader can help to build a strong culture that supports both your business initiatives and top talent. Some ideas to get your company headed in the right direction are included here:
1) Start by modeling the behaviors that you want to see in your organization
Your behavior and the behavior of other leaders in your company has significant impact on every facet of your workplace. You, as a business owner or leader, set the tone of the culture you want to achieve.
2) Focus on your mission Does your organization have a mission statement? Post your mission statement on your intranet, in your break room and any place employees frequently visit. Share it with your customers too by posting it in your public areas or including it in your email signature. Periodically evaluate the mission statement. Is it just words or does it have real meaning for your employees? Understand, communicate and practice the core values of your organization. Be clear about company purpose - what the company stands for, what it believes in and what will be done to benefit customers and company goals.
3) Clearly communicate business goals at every level within the organization Be sure that employees can articulate what your organization is trying to achieve. Make sure they know how they, personally, fit into the big picture. Employees want to be part of an organization that is moving forward and they appreciate knowing how their efforts should be directed. They also need to be kept informed and (whenever possible) included in decision-making processes that affect them.
4) Create leaders and encourage superstars Achievements and individual success should be celebrated. When someone is doing a great job, make sure they know it and make sure colleagues recognize the contributions of others.
5) Focus on learning and development within all levels of the organization Learning should be a continuous process for each individual and can demonstrate clear value over time.
6) Build trust Trust is vital in any sustainable organization. Be trustworthy and promote trust around you.
7) Create an environment of thinking outside the box Truly innovative companies are places where employees feel safe to take the necessary risks to achieve great things.
A key question to ask yourself and your company’s leadership team is, “has our culture evolved by design or by default?” If you aren’t intentionally driving your culture, you are ignoring a key business issue as surely as if you were ignoring any of your other strategic objectives. Your organization’s continued growth and productivity is dependent on having an aligned workforce that can innovate, execute and meet designated targets while in an environment you and your employees are proud to work.
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