Whether working from home, in an office, or a shared workspace, most of us spend a lot of time at work. We interact with co-workers more than our neighbors. Often we spend more time on work or at work than at home or with friends and family. That’s why it’s so important to work somewhere that fits your personality. I know this sounds obvious but it’s an awful thing to hate your job. However, as obvious as it may seem how many of us have stayed at a job we didn’t like? It’s depressing to despise your daily commute. Employees that don’t fit a culture, or can’t find any semblance of one, eventually look for a new place to commute to. Turnover is costly. An organization can do much to make a work environment that fits the needs of it’s employees. It’s critical for any business to understand how to create a company culture that’s more than words.
Share Your Purpose
Most people want to know what they do matters. When a team feels like they make a difference, they strive to reach their goals. A mission statement is only words. They may be great words, but they mean nothing until they’re actualized. A vision should be created by the team and shared through actions. I’m reminded of a story about a new COO who gathered the janitorial staff and shared how critical their job was to the success of the organization. he explained that an untidy building could turn away potential customers, interested parties, and employment candidates. And that a restroom out of soap, towels, or toilet paper could ruin someones day. he told them their job may be the most significant in the entire building. He gave purpose to their work. He knew how to create a company culture.
Spend Time Opening Communication Channels
It doesn’t matter how important a message is if it doesn’t reach those who need to hear it. “Confirm what was understood from your communication. Last year, a manager shared he had communication challenges with most of his team. He wondered if he was the problem. I asked if he checked his team’s understanding. He replied he did. I asked how? He said, “I always ask, ‘do you understand?’” Since most people don’t want to appear ignorant or uninformed, many will answer “yes” to this leading question, even if they don’t understand. So, to check someone’s understanding, ask them to repeat or explain what’s been communicated. For example, “I want to make sure everything’s clear. What was my key point as you understood it?” — How to Improve Communication in 10 Minutes
Solicit Ideas From Your Team
I remember a story about a large corporation that set a waste basket emptying schedule for their janitorial team. Trash overflowed in some areas while empty containers were marched to the dumpster. Office personnel became upset with the janitorial staff and vice versa. It was not a good cultural move. Eventually, the company realized they needed to let the office staff and janitorial team decide when to empty the trash. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but organizations create cultural havoc daily.
Hire for Character and Cultural Fit
I have friends at a marketing firm that have office cats. It’s obvious that hiring anyone who doesn’t like cats is a poor cultural fit. Sometimes it’s not so obvious. For example, if an organization relies on team activities such as, brainstorming, shared initiatives, and constant feedback wouldn’t it be prudent to ask any employment candidate how they preferred to work—with a team or independently?
Don’t be a do as I say not as I do Manager
This type of management can destroy an organizations cultural building efforts. It creates animosity between teams and management, which leads to lowered production, higher turnover, and decreased profit margins. It can be as simple as upper management not following new procedures. When leadership is allowed to continue doing activities as they have always done them and disregard updates it sets a poor example and creates a cultural breakdown. The exception becomes the rule, and employees begin to wonder if all procedures are exceptionable?
Continually Engage Employees
The most difficult part of employee engagement is getting started and then committing the time to continue the effort. There are multiple ways to engage staffs that help create and define culture.
- Conduct employee surveys
- Offer continuous training
- Develop team building activities
- Give recognition and share successes
- Show a vision path for employees
- Learn what motivates individuals
Understand Corporate Cultures Evolve
Just as the motivations of an employee change when they go from being single, to married, to married with children, so does an organization change as it grows. Staying ahead of the curve by being aware of how corporate changes and growth impact team members will keep a company on top of its culture.
Why is Corporate Culture so Important?
It’s one of the 21st centuries most popular business buzzwords—culture. Is it more hype than substance? In a word, no. A negative organizational culture can destroy a company. Businesses without an identifiable culture experience high turnover and wonder why. Conversely, companies that develop a culture, which fits their vision and personnel, excel. It’s not too difficult to see—it shows in the pride employees take in their organization, in the products and service they deliver, and in the growth of the business. Does your business know how to create a company culture?
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.