Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Too often, organizations treat workplace culture as something that just happens. Their idea of culture is based on “feel good” perks such as free food, birthday celebrations and ping-pong rooms.
When it comes to business profitability, culture is a bottom-line issue. As the saying goes, “you’re only as good as the company that you keep”.
In business, the people that join your organization play a key role in hitting your targets and serving customers. Think about it, what happens when you have a team of high performers who trust one another and are crystal clear about their goals and objectives? Does the group’s productivity and engagement skyrocket? Are they both physically and emotionally present on the job, ready to solve tough problems? Do they work together as a cohesive team? That, my friend, is what a strong workplace culture looks like and it’s vital to an organization’s bottom-line.
Too often, organizations treat workplace culture as something that just happens. Their idea of culture is based on “feel good” perks such as free food, birthday celebrations and ping-pong rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for throwing a good party and celebrating team wins. I’m also a firm believer that most employees, especially high performers, want to do great work and contribute to something bigger than themselves. They also want to be compensated fairly and have clear career growth opportunities. According to a survey by Hays, a human resources recruitment company, 47% of active job seekers identified culture as the reason they left their current role. In today’s competitive labor market, a strong corporate culture is crucial for recruiting and retaining top talent.
So, what exactly is workplace culture? I define it as an organization’s rallying cry, those shared behaviors that drive the organization’s call to action. Years ago, I worked at an energy company that had a strong safety culture. The company’s rallying cry was “Safety First”, and the messaging was that every employee should return home safely to their family. The shared belief came from a place of caring about the wellbeing of employees and their families. The call to action was communicated frequently and employees held each other accountable. It’s not a coincidence that my longest tenure was with that company.
In case you’re still not convinced that culture is a bottom-line issue, think about a top performer on your team. You know, the self-directed employee that oversees various projects, goes above and beyond, and looks for their own professional growth opportunities. Now imagine that, in today’s competitive environment, they decide to leave your organization for a new opportunity. Consider the ripple effect and cost impact of their departure.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to both experience and help transform workplace culture at various companies. One thing that I’ve learned is that every organization has a culture, whether it’s planned or not. The organizations that get it right are intentional about building a culture that propels high performance and growth.
I created the following steps to help organizations get started on their culture transformation journey (it’s my secret sauce that I share with my clients).
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
1. Develop a core set of behaviors as the standard for your organization (ex. safety, innovation, customer-centricity).
2. Hire talented people who reflect the behaviors and are excited about tackling business challenges.
3. Build a cohesive team by modeling the behaviors and holding everyone accountable.
4. Provide clear career growth opportunities.
5. Overcommunicate both business and individual goals; be sure the goals are crystal clear and agreed upon.
6. Treat your team like adults and trust them to do great work; be available when they need your guidance.
7. Reward team wins and learn from the losses.
Ready to get intentional about building a high-performance culture? Need some help resetting your corporate culture? Let us help you on this journey. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.