Renowned work cultures don’t happen by accident. Organizations with healthy, winning cultures are purposeful in designing, creating, and nurturing an environment where employees feel valued, are productive, and enjoy coming to work. The magic behind a successful company nearly always lies in its people and the inner workings of the culture surrounding them. When the workforce and culture of a company are strong, employees are aligned on purpose, vision, and strategy, teams are more productive, and the company is more likely to be successful in achieving goals.
“Company culture” is the overarching idea of “what you do, what you say, and who you are as a company,” and drives satisfaction among employees in concrete as well as subtle ways. For example, culture affects employee retention. People stay at jobs when the culture is strong. Retaining good employees needs to be a critical goal for company leadership. High rates of turnover are expensive and create diminished team morale, resulting in decreased work performance. Employees trust leadership when they believe in the vision and execution of the purpose of the organization, when they feel respected and challenged, and when they enjoy their day-to-day interactions with co-workers and the environment in which they work.
There is no single work culture roadmap that leads to success, however, there are some components of a healthy culture that any company can incorporate into its ethos that are likely to result in a happy and prolific workforce. Here are the five elements to an award winning culture:
- Trust and Transparency
Trust is the single most important indicator of the cultural health of a company. When there’s a breakdown of trust, the entire company suffers.
Leaders establish trust within the workforce by designing and sharing a clear vision, purpose, and strategic plan. Being a transparent company executive means sharing goals, as well as the why behind decisions and how they are to be achieved. Buy-in among senior leaders, middle managers and all employees down to the front-line staff create a culture of trust. This breeds motivation, leading to more effective work and output from teams at all levels.
There is a direct relationship between trust and accountability. High levels of accountability generate a positive workplace culture. When employees at any level are not held accountable for their actions and the outcomes that they produce, there is often a breakdown in trust, and therefore culture suffers.
- Empowered Employees
Healthy workplace cultures are comprised of employees who understand how their role fits into the big picture and who know that they add value and make a difference in their daily work. Empowered employees get to use their strengths every day in the workplace, leading them to feel both challenged and fulfilled.
Executives and managers of award winning cultures encourage their teams to be curious, ask the hard questions, and have the courage to speak up with concerns when there are problems to solve or with praise when there are wins to celebrate.
Strong workplace cultures arm their employees with the knowledge and tools to be successful in making informed decisions. Empowerment is not necessarily about who makes the decision, but more about providing a safe platform for anyone to question the status quo, if they have knowledge and expertise that adds value to the outcome of a decision. Healthy workplace cultures encourage high levels of appropriate involvement from the workforce.
- Change Agility
No matter what the industry, change is inevitable for every company. Change can be challenging from a leadership perspective, but handling it properly is the key to maintaining a positive workplace culture.
Change is absolutely necessary for growth, so leaders must accelerate positive change by using tools to guide how employees respond to shifts in goals, priorities, and workflows. Proactive change agility training helps shape employee attitudes and behaviors, strengthening the culture of the workplace.
- Opportunities for Learning and Growth
The strongest workplace cultures inspire excellence and continuous improvement for individuals as well as teams. When employers provide the space for employees to learn new skills, increase responsibility, or take on new projects, people feel challenged, valued, and motivated.
Strong workplace cultures recognize that a hungry employee is a good employee. Too often in stagnant cultures, people are pigeon-holed into their roles and job descriptions. Rather than boxing people into the typical expectations for their roles, allowing people to thrive, learn and grow nearly always pays off in positive attitudes and increased retention. A key to success, when allowing people to learn and grow, is providing a safe place to fail. This encourages risk-taking and divergent thinking without the repercussion of job loss or negative consequences.
- Rewards & Recognition
People need to feel valued in the workplace. Rewards and recognition go a long way in demonstrating appreciation for individual employee contributions and building a strong workplace culture. When designing a rewards and recognition program in your workplace, find a unique way to show gratitude for great work. Keep in mind that this may not be the same for every employee; make it personalized and impactful for each individual. For example, some employees may thrive when recognized publicly. Others may be motivated by financial rewards. Take the time to get to know what inspires each individual and act on it. The reward is increased engagement and retention, a galvanizing win-win for the company.
Are you ready to start building a plan to an award winning culture in your workplace? Contact us today to get started in creating your roadmap to success.
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