Money is a major part of it, but any successful person will tell you that money motivation isn’t enough. Monetary success follows purpose driven work and passion. Ask yourself: Are employees who come to work to collect a paycheck as productive as employees who are invested in the purpose of the company?
When emotional drive is aligned with production and monetary goals, the likelihood of success is drastically boosted.
So, when your employees arrive to work, what is that you want them to feel and think about your company? CEOs and executives are so wrapped up in hitting production quotas that they oftentimes forget to take a step back and consider how employees emotionally respond to what’s happening within the company. An employee’s emotional response is a reflection on you and the company culture that’s been established.
No matter how lifeless a company’s culture is, it can be resuscitated...but it takes hard work and it starts with asking some tough questions. When answering these about your company, be brutally honest with yourself.
- Do your employees enjoy work? Do they come to work on Monday’s with a feeling of dread?
- Are employees at every level of the company accountable and responsible?
- Are employees engaged? Do they believe in what they are doing and are they personally and emotionally invested in their work?
- Is there a sense of camaraderie amongst company ranks?
- How do you invest in your employees? Do you reward them and recognize a job well done?
Again, answer these honestly. Write down your answers and you will be ready to begin the task of creating dynamic company culture.
STEP ONE: CREATE A ROCK SOLID BASE
There are no short-cuts. There is no silver bullet to overnight company culture. It takes consistent work, but there is a difference between working for the sake of working and getting things done with purpose and intelligence.
It starts with defining your mission, vision and core values. The base of company culture is a combination of these three pillars which can be built on.
Carve out time with your executive team to define these three things thoroughly. If you don’t, someone else will come along and fill in the vacuum for you.
- Mission statement: Tell everyone why you are in businesses. Employees, customers, vendors - they should all be given a brief mission statement on why your company exists.
- Vision statement: What does your company aspire to be down the road? Where are we going and why? There should be an emotional drive connected to it.
- Values: This is what you and your employees believe in and how you’ll behave.
Finding the simple truths that will help us succeed usually requires stripping away complexities. These three pillars can and should be defined simply and concisely, but can take hours of work to get right. It’s time well spent as it will act as the springboard and base for company culture.
For example, if you make it known that part of the company’s values is the pursuit of excellence and achieving the highest professional standards possible you will attract and retain employees who share those values.
STEP TWO: DIAGNOSE AND MONITOR
Employee engagement and company culture are interlinked. You can’t influence one without affecting the other. When your employees are disengaged, they are unhappy at work and that hurts production.
The most effective way to find out where things stand with your company culture is to conduct a survey. Ask your employees to answer honestly and completely.
Here are some sample questions:
- Are you satisfied with your job? Why or why not?
- Does your manager listen to you? How could they improve?
- Are your benefits fair and marketable?
- Do you feel the individual employee’s opinion is valued?
- How many times in the last three months have you been recognized by your manager?
- Do you have everything you need to do your job? Are you missing any resources or tools?
A key indicator is how many employees actually fill out the survey. Is the relationship between employees and management strained? If employees are disengaged then very few employees will even bother to fill it out, let alone read it.
If you go forward with a culture survey, commit to using the results. Employees that do answer their surveys expect to see change based on their feedback. Not responding to their answers sends a message that management doesn’t really care about employees, but just goes through the motions of various HR exercises to appear like they care.
A well conducted culture survey will show you what your employees think, how they feel about their jobs and work environment. With the survey results in hand, you will have a diagnosis of how your stated company culture and values align with the current scene.
STEP THREE: INVOLVE YOUR EMPLOYEES
It’s a rare company that makes their employees feel like they have sway over what management does. This barrier needs to be broken down and genuine connection is a must if company culture is to manifest.
Put together focus groups from various departments. Make sure these groups span the whole company and include employees from every experience level and type of job. Exclude managers and supervisors. This is strictly for lower level employees. Ask these groups to review the mission, vision and values you wrote down in Step One.
Employee feedback can be revealing. It can tell you if you are on the right track or totally off the mark. Sometimes, you’ll find issues you thought were small are actually huge points of interest for your employees. It also helps to get positive feedback when you’ve gotten something right so you can move forward with confidence.
Review the feedback and make changes as you see fit. Once the final version is done, get commitment from management to imbue these values everyday at work.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Do your values challenge the team to be the best?
- Does your company attract talented employees?
- What opportunities are there to be involved with your employees?
- Do you have the right leadership team in place that embraces your values?
It is vital to execute. You don’t want employees to think management just talks. How you and your management team act will tell employees if you are serious about engaging them and building company culture.
STEP FOUR: IMPLEMENT AND EXECUTE
You can’t just put a poster on the wall with a cool slogan or one of your values scrawled across the bottom of a mountain. Company culture starts with words and then needs to turn into a living, breathing element of the company.
Company culture is built by repetition. Constantly look for ways to repeat key messages in what gets said by management and in what they do. Ensure they conduct workdays and performance reviews and acknowledgements all in alignment with company values.
Take a look at how you hire, onboard and let people go. How do you reward and compensate employees? Your HR structure needs to be built around flooding every channel of your company with the culture and values.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. You will have to inject company culture into your company over and over and over to get the desired results. It’s a marathon not a sprint. But steady the course and you’ll start to get the attention of talented employees and high engagement levels. Retention rates will see a boost and the vision you have for your company will become a reality.
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