Transform Your Corporate Culture in Six Steps
By Jason English
CEO of Prommac
YPO member since 2015
Having a great business culture does more than just create a great place to work, it attracts top talent, contractors and partners. However, research suggests that only 40% of employees are happy at work, and that this is likely the result of a poor culture! The quality of a culture is revealed in how people feel when they are working with or within an organisation.
Thanks to social media, disenfranchised employees are the number one critics of their employers, which is bad for both reputation and productivity. Conversely, social media offers employers insight into employee sentiment and the opportunity to respond positively.
Here are my six tips for boosting your business culture:
1. Start at the Top.
As the business owner, you need to walk the talk. Positive energy is key because your behaviours reflects the health of your business. If times are tough and you appear stressed it can cause anxiety throughout an organisation. This does not imply that you need to fake it, as transparency is important, but it does mean that you need to remain composed, and then guide the team through the crisis to come out on top.
2. The Basics
Who is the most important employee in the business? Is it the security guard or the chief operating officer? The answer is both, as both people have something to offer and want to contribute meaningful input. Letting people know how they personally add value and recognising their contributions is what builds a team. In my business, everyone wears a name tag, and connecting on a first name basis builds a sense of belonging.
Your team extends to your suppliers. The insights that they provide is key, and the way you treat them influences how they speak about you – how often have you promoted another business because doing business with them is a pleasure?
Change is the root of innovation, yet people are fearful of change, especially if they are not consulted. Staff buy-in is key to growing a successful culture, and idea generation helps employees feel included.
Also, even seasoned leaders need fresh perspectives to keep them current. For example, millennials are plugged in to technology and always know what’s hot and what’s not; while ethnic diversity offers different social and cultural views.
We rolled out Idea JAM sessions to develop employee-based solutions to organisational problems, including appointing employees as CEO for a day. Each employee has a unique background and context, and combining these in the same think tank can generate impressive and innovative results.
You need to know where you want to go. So, set the tone for the culture by reviewing the key themes generated through the idea JAM sessions, and then pick those that stand out as the leading inhibitors to your goal. There is no one size fits all culture, but there is something to be said for bringing a team together to set a common vision.
5. Measurement and Feedback
There is no management without measurement! Dedicate time to building company surveys that ask the difficult and revealing questions. Be bold and don’t be afraid of the possible answers. Negative answers create an opportunity to improve. Focus on employee health with questions like:
• Are you growing in your professional life?
• Are you overloaded with work?
• Does the company takes advantage of you?
• Do you understand the strategic vision of the company?
• What type of leadership structure do you feel the company has?
• Are you empowered to make decisions appropriate to your level?
Reflect on the critical areas of the business and ask employees to rate the top three areas where the organisation is lacking, such as:
• Salary Package
• Health and Safety
• Training and Development
• Career Path
• Work/Life Balance
• Social Impact Projects
• Brand Awareness
You can also modify the questions to suit your suppliers.
Leadership buy-in is crucial, so build culture measurement into your management team’s KPI structures. Whether it is attending functions with employees, spending time understanding and mentoring their teams, or being a mentor.
Culture is something that is taken very seriously within Prommac and the focus on developing a positive culture has led to excellent results.
*This article was originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine.