10 Methods to Create A Strong Company Culture
Companies are little communities. Like communities, a culture develops that can significantly differentiate one company from another, even when doing the same work. The company culture’s strength or weakness can make a huge difference in how efficiently the company runs as a whole. Yet, each piece of the culture intertwines with every other piece to create a larger picture. The following are ten ways to help you develop an influential company culture.
What Is An Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture is everything that goes into making the organization unique. It starts with the skills of the employees but goes much deeper. The way people dress, the decorations on the walls and desks, how people interact during breaks, and more come together like puzzle pieces. The culture makes room for individuality, but it also puts in place the things that allow those within to feel like they are part of something bigger. Many of the things that make up organizational culture are unwritten. Often, you see and understand what a company stands for at a basic level by understanding their culture.
Why It Matters
Culture helps determine things such as how well a company can handle both success and hardship. It gives employees a sense of being an essential part of the whole business. This feeling of importance allows the employee to work in a way that benefits everyone else on the team. Just as in a family or society as a whole, the culture will enable employees to know what is acceptable behavior. The culture gives new people joining the business a starting point to getting into the flow and becoming a part of everything going on. An influential culture will help companies to weather even the fiercest storms.
Differentiating Weak Vs. Strong Cultures
An influential culture has leaders and employees who understand the company's values. There is no doubt in the minds of management, workers, or clients that enter the company what this company considers vital. Anyone who clashes with the company culture gets redirected immediately. When it comes to making decisions between self first or company first, everyone will automatically choose to do what is best for the community.
A weak culture lacks the company's values and is not embraced by employees. It is usually an afterthought where employers recognize the need for a stated culture after neglecting its employee experience. Employees may feel they are treated as disposable. Managers will feel disrespected, and clients will believe they are unwilling victims caught in the crossfire. Nobody knows what is happening in any other part of the process except what they are responsible for accomplishing.
Creating A Strong Culture For Your Organization
Company culture should be created from the very beginning, but this doesn't always happen. The good news is that you can start from where you are now and strengthen what exists. If a lousy culture has taken hold, you will need to be more diligent and work harder to turn it around, but the result will make all your effort worth it for everybody involved. Let's get started.
1. Define Your Current Culture
The first step is to assess what company culture you currently have. Take a week to simply observe. Make notes and talk to those in your organization. Bring up your original vision statement for the company and ask yourself how the current culture fits with that vision and how it fails to add substance. At the end of the week, you should have a good idea of what needs changing.
2. Make Changes If Needed
Now is the time to start making changes. You don't have to do things all at once. Implementing one or two changes at a time will allow everyone to adjust to the new normal. Schedule a team meeting to let everyone know what you have observed and what you want to happen. Invite input and consider everybody’s insight. After all, this is for the whole company's benefit.
3. Lead By Example
One of the best ways to establish the type of company culture you want is to lead by example. Management is always the one looked to for guidance. Make sure you are displaying the kind of message you intend. Be who you want your workers to be.
Identify Your Ambassadors
Identify the people you can count on to be ambassadors within your company. Creating the culture will not be solely their responsibility, but they should be people you can count on to see what you envision and work toward it. These ambassadors will be the ones that others can look to as examples of what constitutes appropriate actions.
4. Invest Time in Building Your Brand
Does your brand invoke images consistent with your company culture? If you are seeking to be the leader in your field, your brand should reflect precisely the kind of message you feel puts you in the forefront. Sit down with people who understand brand building and talk with them about what you can do to create the brand recognition you seek.
5. Optimize Your Hiring Process
The best place to find out if someone will help grow your company culture is in the interview. Make it a point to seek out knowledge of every candidate's idea of an ideal work environment. Find out their core values and objectively decide if those values fit with your culture. When you take the time to hire people who align with your core values, you increase the chances that they will fit well within your business and become team players.
6. Define A Clear Purpose
Clarifying your company's core values will help your employees understand their role in your company. When people know where they fit in the process, they feel more energetic and more centered. Knowing that their part is essential in the overall picture helps them determine what moves they can make to keep things flowing smoothly. Knowing where they stand makes people happy, which translates into more productive employees who want to see the whole company succeed.
7. Allow Others To Initiate The Decisions
Don't limit decision making to your managers. Influential company culture allows its employees to feel valued. Very few people are happy spending eight hours a day following orders. They want to know they have a say in what happens. Knowing decisions are based on input from everyone will help establish a more excellent bond between employee and management.
8. Build Methods To Reinforce Your Core Values Constantly
People can forget the basics in the chaos of everyday activity. To make sure your company culture stays strong, make it a point to reinforce your values as often as possible. Send out reminder memos encouraging specific values. Set up special seminars or monthly meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. Regular meetings also help catch any inconsistencies or issues early, which gives you a chance to get things back on track before a problem arises.
9. Communicate Consistently
One of the surest and quickest roads to failure is a lack of communication. Keeping the door to communication open is not only necessary but is also easy. Create an open-door policy where everyone knows they can approach you when needed. Take time each day to get out among your workers and talk with them. Find out what they are thinking and feeling, not just about work but also about world events and life. Encourage feedback and be willing to listen.
10. Measure The Effectiveness
Organizational culture isn't something you can determine once and then forget about it. You need to regularly assess the situation and determine if the measures you have in place are working. In some cases, you may find they have the opposite effect. Measure and evaluate consistently to keep things moving forward and not standing still or moving backward.
Key Factors That Can Make or Break Company Culture
Competition can be a healthy thing, but it needs approaching in a certain way to benefit organizational culture. You want your workers to see themselves as part of a whole, not competing against each other. If people are recognized or compensated for individual achievements, this creates personal competition. It is better to create a situation where the team competes against itself. For example, have them work toward a specific increase in profit this month over last month. Then recognize their efforts as a team. It is okay to notice something outstanding one person has done as long as this notice doesn’t make the rest of the team feel like they failed.
Forge Your Own Culture
Your organization is unique. Company culture will vary from one place to another, and there is no one size fits all solution as to which elements are best. Evaluate your business and examine your core values and business goals. Create an environment that works for you and those who are your greatest allies, your employees. Together, you will be able to determine what is essential and what is not. As with any culture, remember that when one person falls, the whole unit suffers. Starting with the hiring process and working diligently every day to stay focused will see your culture thrive.
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This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.