Culture seems to have taken on buzzword status lately. Every organization wants to have a great culture, and there are plenty of exceptional examples from Zappos to Southwest Airlines.
The benefits of a strong company culture are well documented. They include an engaged workforce, higher retention rates and a more recognizable brand identity. However, great cultures don’t just happen. According to bestselling author and entrepreneur, Christine Comaford, “In my thirty-plus years of helping clients build market-leading businesses, evolving and optimizing one’s people – the company’s culture – is always the hardest part of the process.”
Could your company use a culture upgrade? These three areas are a great place to start.
An organization’s values are the core principals that guide and direct the organization. Values often are confused with a company’s mission (what it does) or its vision (what it hopes to be). Value statements should be concise and unique to individual organizations. And, most importantly, they must be part of every aspect of a company. Writing values and posting them on the wall is not enough. Core values should influence day-to-day activities, long-term planning, critical decisions, hiring and performance management to name a few.
In an environment of secrecy and misunderstandings, an organization’s culture can quickly fall into disrepair. Transparency is extremely important. In strong cultures employees are “in the know.” Management trusts their workers and decides how and why information should be shared. In return, workers have faith in their supervisors. They are willing to point out problems and suggest innovations which promote improvement and growth. Ideally, this spirit of openness extends from co-worker to co-worker as well. And, in the best-case scenarios, it can influence the organization’s overall image in the outside community.
Even if your company hires the most talented workers on the market, it is unlikely they will succeed if they cannot work well together. The best cultures focus on relationships over individual competition. Especially in a time of accelerated change, “Teams can be always on, individuals can’t.”(Time, 2017) Promote empathy, support and reinforcement through company sponsored activities and team rewards. Not only will your organization see better results, but your workers will be happier too. Now, that sounds like a great place to work!
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