Is your corporate culture positive? Is it cut-throat?
Company culture is one of those things that just evolves organically… right? Not if you want to get ahead. It’s every bit as important and malleable as your business strategy or your core product. If you want a workforce that’s upwardly mobile and “comfortably in control,” you need to view your culture as a key business driver. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Encourage your team to socially connect at work
Positive social connections at work result in less mental and physical illness, faster learning, and better performance on the job. Some basic approaches to improving the social dynamics in your workplace include:
- volunteering to help others
- hosting end-of-week drinks
- regularly eating lunch as a team
- celebrating milestones
2. Communicate Regularly
Secrecy and rumors may work for Apple, but for the rest of the business world, it creates dysfunction and distrust. It can be illuminating and highly motivating for employees to know what’s going on in all areas of the business. Leaders need to set the standard by sharing what’s on their mind on a regular basis – a company “town hall” or end-of-month update will do the trick. Team leaders should be encouraged to facilitate discussion about the company in smaller groups.
3. Be clear about the company vision
Ask your colleagues if they can explain the company vision. Many leaders are surprised by how many employees can’t articulate it clearly. Take the time to communicate the vision clearly in a forum that encourages questions and conversation. People frequently cite the ‘why’ behind their work as a key driver of motivation, commonly rating it as more important than money. Employees who believe in what they do will be more satisfied and more productive.
4. Be human
Expressing empathy can go a long way toward gaining employee loyalty. It feels good to work with people who we care about and who care about us. Lead by example and spend time asking your employees about non-work interests and actually listen to their answers. If someone has a sick family member or another issue on their mind, don’t brush it aside or avoid the topic, pull them aside and ask if there is anything you can do to help.
5. Hire the right mix of personalities
All companies need talented employees. However, many hiring managers dismiss the benefits of likeability in pursuit of skill. In some cases you’ll have no choice but to overlook awkward personality traits because of the allure of pure intellectual horsepower, however, there shouldn’t be a need to do this too often. Don’t let rude people through the door without justification. Likeable employees will do wonders for morale and can underpin a positive working environment.