08 Jun, 2009

Company Culture

Creating Company Culture

For company’s, creating culture is important because the first indication that a company might be in trouble is not decreasing sales or shrinking profits but rather an eroding employee morale.

Whose job is it to improve company culture? Often the CEO, but any type of manager will do. It is then his or her job to help the company build values, vision, and cohesiveness and pride in what they do and with the company.

People are the common denominator of any organization. And people are anything but simple. But instead of looking at “the people issue” as a problematic quagmire, I suggest that you embrace all those thoughts, feelings, emotions, and moods that all people have as the solution rather than the problem.

First of all, to help build company culture, you need to know that people must be encouraged to express themselves. By their very nature, people need this. They need to know they are being heard or not and creating an atmosphere that embraces people who are expressing their true feelings is the first and biggest step in protecting a company’s culture. Of course even this can be taken advantage of as some employees may use it as a way to sabotage others or the company itself. But this isn’t often the norm and can be worked with.

Encouraging employees to communicate their hopes, dreams, fears, and worries is, in and of itself, protective of the company’s culture. But beware. Some employees might use their self-expression to sabotage your company culture. Those saboteurs are called weeds, and a good company culture pulls its weeds quickly.

Secondly, you want to help people feel comfortable in their environment. People need to know that you as a CEO or manager, care about their everyday environment and are appreciative of what they have to offer the company. Without setting a tone from day one of a new hire’s start, and without the understanding of how important employee morale is to the health of an organization, employees of a company may not reach their fullest potential.

Third, it is important to define and display company goals. Every individual working for a company needs to know why they are doing what they are doing and how they are responsible for accomplishing such goals.

After you have described the company goals to employees, try and keep them displayed or at the top of their mind so that nobody loses track of the mission. Some people make posters of their company goals, others place them on their screen savers. Goals, whether long term or short term, should always be discussed and made relevant to current issues during company meetings. Timeframes are also important in when goals should be met, where everybody is in meeting those goals and how much further there is to go.

Fourth, there is ownership. Make sure your staff understand their ownership of goals, their personal win that is theirs when they accomplish goals. As stated above, people need to know what they have to offer and what their value is. With ownership, employees feel goals of the company are theirs, not the managers or CEOs. They also don’t want to feel coerced into making goals theirs, goals should truly be made theirs through personal responsibility in meeting them or input in creating them.

Fifth, what kinds of best practices are other company’s using. There is no shame in copying what other people are doing in other company if they are successful.

And last, create a social agenda for your employees. Your “social agenda” can include initiatives like donating a portion of proceeds to a particular cause, or encouraging employees to volunteer for local charities. Social agendas help create teamwork. Employees often love being part of a bigger picture, a group and a whole. Providing your employees with company shirts with the business logo and matching colors can also help create a feeling of teamwork and belonging. It is also valuable when doing social promotions in your community that your employees are showing what company they work for with their company shirts.

Practice these few things above and you too can help your company create culture and longevity among its employees retention.

Author: Justin Morris

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