As a visionary and business leader, you already know how important a desirable company culture can be. Research shows your office culture can account for a 20-30% differential versus competitors with undistinguished cultures. Research shows these results stem from increasing productivity while lowering your employee attrition rate. Competitors and vendors will also notice the advantages of working with your firm.
Forging your desired culture - especially when trying to change an already institutionalize culture - is not easy. And it certainly won't happen by chance, or because you put together a clever PowerPoint presentation on the topic. Shaping a desirable company culture takes planning and persistence. By following these simple steps, you can improve your odds of building a culture that reflects the needs of your business and creates an excellent workplace environment.
1. It All Starts with Leadership
You - yes you - are the keystone to success! Consider yourself the Chief Culture Officer because your leadership is the critical element in developing your company culture. You set the tone. Further, it is nearly impossible to change the culture when company leaders aren't on board. Combine a clear vision with leaders who are willing to partner with you, you'll see just how fast you can make critical improvements.
2. Develop an Attitude of Respect
Leaders in the workplace might play a critical role, but so does every member of your staff. Make sure there's an attitude of mutual respect and caring throughout your organization. This might start with supporting employees where they are and offering help with difficult areas.
That is just the beginning. Here are some ideas to explore:
- A company mentor program that exposes employees to people through the organization. You should also encourage your team to attend networking events so they are exposed to best-in-class ideas from other organizations.
- Office perks that make work fun and while eliminating time-sucking outside burdens.
- Use high tech high tech high touch tools like a visitor check in app. Freeing employees from admin tasks shows you value their time.
These features signal to employees that they are supported by the company as people, not just cogs in the machine. Make sure that you're treating employees right: when people know they will be treated well by your company, they are more likely to in turn treat the others around them well.
3. Know Your Values
What values does the company stand for? Have you established corporate values and shared them with employees and outsiders? Do you take time to measure and communicate your progress? When you define company values, you'll find that you're in a better position to create a company culture that revolves around those values.
4. Create an Atmosphere of Open Communication
Do your employees know exactly how to communicate with you and with one another? Does everyone have a clear role? When a (hopefully rare) problem arises, does everyone on the team know how to resolve them and who to turn to for advice and critical decisions? Do you listen carefully to all suggestions from all employees, or are there a specific few who are in a better position to have their voices heard?
Obviously some items are confidential by their very nature or even by law. Otherwise, when you create an atmosphere of open communication, you foster a work environment where everyone feels empowered. You are also better able to deal with problems - even when caused by external forces - before they become more serious, creating a better attitude throughout the workplace.
The research is clear - creating a strong office culture will have numerous intangible positive benefits on your organization.
It won't be easy though. So start today to deliberately create the company culture you want. Forget the hokey exercises, instead focus on steady, consistent effort and you'll discover that it's easier to ensure that all of your employees are on board. These four steps will allow you to slowly transform your workplace and create the company culture you desired and deliver the results that today you can only dream of.