For any enterprise, the quest for success begins with creating a positive and focused company culture that all will embrace. Leaders and companies that have been unsuccessful, in many instances, suffered from an inability to align the various parts with any shared objectives or values.
Inadequate top-down communications, missed opportunities, high employee turnover, poor service levels, and even damaging public perception are typical characteristics of an underdeveloped company culture.
How does a company create the right culture at the outset or improve it while in midstream?
Start with a Vision
Whether your company is a startup or struggling to reach its potential, creating a clear, all-encompassing Vision is the essential first step in developing a positive company culture.
Your vision should be the foundation of all that your company hopes to achieve and become a guide to align your company’s philosophy and goals. It is your North Star.
A well-crafted vision paves the way for establishing a clear understanding of the organization’s mission and objectives. Involving all organizational levels in creating this vision is the perfect starting point for establishing a cooperative, all-inclusive company culture.
Why Values Matter
Values, the foundation of a company’s culture, establish guidelines for how a company will pursue its vision and objectives. According to a Harvard Business Review article, values pertain to a company’s behavior in the marketplace, professionalism, how individuals communicate, honesty, and commitment to each team member’s success.
Adopting Best Practices
Within any organization, it is essential to note that some departments tend to be more productive, well-coordinated, and better able to meet their objectives. These groups likely have established their own culture for excellence.
Other leaders within the organization can benefit from discovering the characteristics that are unique to those high-performing groups. Invariably, adopting some of these best practices across the entire enterprise will create more sharing and open communication throughout the company.
In many instances, companies have been able to benchmark with successful companies in other industries to learn elements of their best practices that were applicable to their own business.
Recruiting the Best People
Leaders of companies with a well-crafted company culture are better able to identify prospective job candidates. Their quest will be to find those individuals who are both talented and best suited to complement the existing culture. Interviews may involve delving into a candidate’s attitude toward teamwork and cooperation rather than personal reward.
The Harvard Business Review article also underscores the importance of culture to many potential applicants. The piece cites a study that discovered applicants searching for the right company culture fit are likely to accept a 7% lower salary. Further, departments with strong alignment to the company culture experienced 30% lower turnover rates.
Regular Interaction at All Levels
Making employees at all levels feel comfortable with making suggestions is essential to creating a positive working culture. Managers should schedule recurring weekly meetings to encourage employee input.
If your employees feel uncomfortable making suggestions that might conflict with higher-level decisions, perhaps your culture is not where it should be. Fear of reprisal or penalty for speaking up is a common problem in any dysfunctional company culture.
Encouraging input is essential. Sometimes the most potent improvements come from those employees who work with the problem on a daily basis.
Whenever upper management listens respectfully to all suggestions, morale is enhanced, and commitment to the company’s success is enhanced —improving morale results in lower employee turnover.
Create a Company Culture of Learning
A company culture of continuous learning makes employees feel more valued. Encouraging your workforce to become familiar with new ideas and processes improves its performance while keeping your company better prepared for growth and improvement. Cross-training and funding outside for educational opportunities can be productive and enhance the overall company culture.
How Data-Based Decision Making Improves Performance
While managers often intuitively believe their company culture is sound, they are frequently wrong. When employees are hesitant to suggest changes, for example, because they will be reprimanded or punished later by their immediate supervisors, your company culture is decidedly out-of-kilter.
Gathering data about your culture can uncover significant shortcomings about your company policies, procedures, management behavior, and attitudes within the organization.
Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is the key to creating an engaged workforce. Ongoing measurements are essential to achieving:
- Enhanced accountability
- Improved productivity
Key Performance Indicators to assess the company culture and internal performance are useful only if they are:
- Have an Objective
- Simple to understand
- Compatible with the objective core values and company culture
Since every situation is different, the process of creating measures for your organization’s performance must involve input from every level. Universal involvement in tracking improvement creates a more engaged workforce, greater accountability, and improved productivity. Continual improvement in measurements creates a more collaborative environment and a more satisfying workplace.
Improvement in KPI performance will mean advancement in your company culture.
Reinventing Your Company Culture with Equal Parts
Equal Parts helps CEOs and leadership teams solve existing and longstanding problems by creating company culture changes that will set your company on the road to growth and improvement.
By engaging third-party, wholly objective, and broadly experienced partners like Equal Parts, you will be able to refocus your organization on a collective vision and enhanced company culture.
Equal Parts will help you methodically organize your entire business structure to create a high-performance team focused on employee engagement, enhanced accountability, key performance measurements, and improved productivity.
The Equal Parts Strategy will help you create a more aligned and healthier company culture that involves:
- Ongoing, productive dialog with leaders
- Enhanced Team Dynamics
- Establishing visible Key Performance indicators that ensure success and uncover misalignment
By collecting and analyzing essential information about your company culture and the values that support it, you will be able to reconstruct your company culture to provide a more collaborative and successful business structure.