Creating an outstanding company culture isn't just about installing a ping-pong table in the break room or hosting the occasional team-building retreat. Rather, it’s a continuous process that requires consistent effort, commitment, and leadership. To help you on this journey, here are seven steps to elevate your company culture from good to great.
Step 1: Understand Your Current Culture
Before you can improve your culture, you need to fully understand it. Take a moment to assess your company's current state. What are the values, behaviors, and attitudes that characterize your organization? Surveys, one-on-one interviews, and focus groups can all provide valuable insights. Be open to what you might discover – the reality may be different from what you’ve assumed.
Step 2: Define Your Vision
Once you understand your current culture, articulate where you want to go. What kind of culture do you want to cultivate? Create a compelling vision that aligns with your business objectives and resonates with your employees. Remember, a vibrant culture of trust is one where employees feel engaged, appreciated, and aligned with the company's mission and values.
Step 3: Lead by Example
As a leader, you're the culture-setter. Your actions and behaviors set the tone for the rest of the organization. Embody the values you want to see in your team. If you value openness and transparency, demonstrate this by being open and transparent yourself. Your team will take cues from your behavior, so make sure you’re setting the right example.
Step 4: Foster Open Communication
Communication is the lifeblood of a strong culture. Foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Regular town halls, Q&A sessions with leadership, and anonymous feedback channels can all contribute to a culture of open communication. When employees feel heard and valued, they're more likely to feel connected to the company's culture.
Step 5: Encourage Employee Development
Investing in your employees' growth shows that you value their contributions and see them as integral to the company's future. This could be through ongoing training, mentoring programs, or opportunities for career advancement. By demonstrating that you’re committed to their personal and professional development, you’ll foster a culture that prioritizes learning and growth.
Step 6: Recognize and Reward
Recognition goes a long way in building a positive culture. Celebrate successes, big and small. Regularly recognize individuals and teams who exemplify your desired culture and contribute significantly to the company's objectives. This can be as simple as a shout-out in a team meeting or as grand as an annual awards ceremony. The key is to make your employees feel seen and appreciated.
Step 7: Keep Evolving
Cultivating a great company culture is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. Regularly assess your culture, get feedback from your team, and be ready to make changes as needed. Remember, a vibrant company culture is one that can adapt and grow with the times.
Improving your company culture is a significant factor in employee retention, where understanding the right perks and benefits plays a crucial role.
Company Culture Checklist
A company culture checklist is a practical tool to ensure that your efforts in building a great culture are systematic and comprehensive. Whether you’re a seasoned CEO or a first-time manager, this checklist can be a valuable resource to gauge where you are and what might need more attention. Let's dive into the elements that should be on your company culture checklist.
Improve your company culture with these steps, and learn how the domino effect of trust plays a part in cultural development.
1. Vision and Mission Alignment:
Do all employees understand the company's vision and mission?
Is there a regular review of projects and initiatives to ensure alignment with the vision and mission?
2. Leadership Consistency:
Are leaders regularly trained on company values and expected behaviors?
Do they consistently embody and promote these values in their actions and decisions?
3. Communication Channels:
Are there established channels for open and transparent communication?
Do employees feel safe to voice concerns, ideas, and feedback without fear of retaliation?
4. Employee Development:
Is there a clear pathway for career progression for all employees?
Are there regular training and development opportunities available?
5. Recognition Systems:
Is there a systematic approach to recognizing and rewarding employee achievements?
Are these recognition systems aligned with promoting desired cultural values?
6. Feedback Loops:
Is there a system in place for gathering feedback on the company culture?
Are there regular intervals (e.g., quarterly, bi-annually) for reviewing and acting on this feedback?
7. Work-Life Balance:
Are employees encouraged to take time off for relaxation and personal growth?
Is there a mechanism to ensure that employees are not regularly overwhelmed with work?
8. Inclusivity and Diversity:
Are there initiatives to promote diversity in hiring and promotions?
Is there regular training to combat unconscious bias and promote inclusivity?
9. Social and Community Initiatives:
Does the company have initiatives to give back to the community?
Are employees encouraged and given opportunities to participate in these initiatives?
10. Regular Culture Audit:
Is there a designated team or individual responsible for regularly auditing the company culture?
Are the results of these audits shared with the broader organization?
By regularly reviewing this checklist and ensuring that each point is addressed, you can be confident in your journey from creating a good company culture to a great one. Remember, while the checklist provides a structure, the essence lies in genuinely living these values every day. As you work through the elements, always prioritize authenticity and consistency to create a culture that resonates with everyone in the organization.
Company Culture Podcasts:
Exploring company culture goes beyond just reading articles and attending seminars; diving into insightful podcast discussions can offer fresh perspectives and actionable strategies. Here are some top podcasts that masterfully tackle the complexities of company culture.
WorkLife with Adam Grant
Organizational psychologist Adam Grant dives deep into extraordinary workplaces to understand the keys to better work and how we can improve our own work lives.
Culture First: Stories for a better world of work
Presented by Culture Amp, this podcast covers various topics centered around company culture and what it truly means to put culture first.
The Culture Builders
Hosted by Jane Sparrow and Chris Preston, this podcast provides insights, tools, and strategies for leaders and HR professionals to build impactful and resilient company cultures.
Simple Leadership: Learn Leadership, Culture, and Management
Focused on the tech industry, Christian McCarrick discusses leadership and culture by interviewing tech leaders, discussing the challenges of management, and exploring actionable advice.
Better™, a company culture podcast
Learn how to create a great workplace culture from leaders at Great Place To Work® CertifiedTM companies.
HR Happy Hour
One of the longest-running and top HR podcasts, it covers everything human resources, including company culture, leadership, and more.
The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show
Hosted by Jeanne Bliss, this podcast delves into leadership strategies and the roles leaders play in shaping company culture with a focus on the customer experience.
The Best Team Wins Podcast
Adam Robinson, author and CEO, discusses the ups and downs of building a great team, offering actionable insights on hiring, culture, and leadership.
The Reboot Podcast
A podcast for entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers, discussing the emotional and psychological challenges of work and offering insights on culture and leadership.
Meghan M. Biro hosts discussions on the intersection of HR, technology, talent management, and company culture.
Remember, the world of podcasting is dynamic, with new shows emerging and existing ones evolving. It's a good idea to explore platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or other podcast platforms periodically to discover any new and rising stars in the company culture niche.
Employee Suggestions for Company Improvement
Creating a thriving company culture isn't solely the task of the leadership team - your employees are vital contributors to this journey. They are the heart of your organization, the ones who know the ins and outs of daily operations. Therefore, their suggestions can provide valuable insights into potential areas of improvement. Here's how to effectively leverage employee suggestions to enhance your company culture.
Foster a Culture of Feedback
The first step is to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Encourage open dialogue and foster a feedback culture where everyone's opinion is valued. Make it clear that every suggestion is welcome, whether it's about improving workplace facilities, revising workflows, or enhancing team collaboration. When employees feel that their voices are heard, they are more likely to contribute proactively to the company's improvement.
Implement a Suggestion System
The best way to collect and organize employee suggestions is through a structured system. This could be as simple as a suggestion box in the break room or a dedicated email account. Alternatively, you could use a digital platform designed for this purpose, allowing employees to share ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Ensure that the process is easy to use, anonymous (if preferred), and accessible to all employees.
Respond to Suggestions
Every suggestion deserves recognition and a thoughtful response, even if it's not feasible to implement right away. Provide feedback, acknowledge the effort, and explain your decision. This level of transparency encourages more employees to come forward with their ideas and shows that you take their contributions seriously.
Act on Feasible Ideas
There's no better way to show that you value employee input than by implementing their suggestions. Of course, not every idea will be practical or affordable, but when you can, take action. Even small changes can have a big impact on morale and show your team that their ideas matter.
When a suggestion leads to a positive change, celebrate it. Recognize the employees who contributed the idea, and share the results with the entire company. This not only boosts the morale of your team but also encourages others to contribute their ideas for improvement.
Incorporating employee suggestions into your strategy for improving company culture demonstrates that you value their input and that they are an essential part of your organization's growth. It fosters a sense of ownership and belonging among employees, motivating them to contribute to the company's success.
Remember, every suggestion offers an opportunity for growth - the key is to listen, respond, and whenever possible, act.