We’ve all seen it – organizational leaders who make it sound like their company culture is amazing, but their employees could beg to differ. You know the ones – the organizations that praise their benefits and work-life balance, but their employees are burnt out, underpaid and underappreciated. How do organizational leaders implement the culture they believe their organization has or the one they aspire to have? How can they create a positive company culture that goes beyond the boardroom?
What is organizational culture?
The Society for Human Resource Management defines an organization’s culture as shared beliefs and values of leadership and employees. Companies who have a strong culture have good reputations within their communities, have low turnover and increased productivity. A weak or ineffective culture can create unengaged employees, high turnover, poor customer relations and lower profits for the organization.
How do you create a strong, positive company culture?
Communicate: A culture cannot be created if all employees are not aware of the organization’s values and beliefs. These need to be clearly communicated across the organization so everyone is on the same page. By communicating regularly and transparently with employees, leaders will be regarded with trust and employees will more easily buy-in to the company’s values.
Value diversity: Strong cultures value diversity within the organization. They welcome individuals from all backgrounds. These organizations encourage employees to share their stories and wisdom. They promote inclusive language and many have specific D&I committees to focus these efforts.
Assess: Norms are bound to be created throughout an organization. If those norms don’t line up with the organization’s values, they need to be addressed. Organizational leaders should regularly assess company norms and ask for feedback from employees across the organization, not just high-level leaders.
Establish a positive environment: Give regular feedback and reward hard work. Employees will be more motivated to perform if they feel their work is being seen and recognized. But don’t just value hard work. Care for employees’ health and wellness as well. Stress will only create disengaged and apathetic employees.
Train and develop: Organizations with strong cultures generally have a culture of learning. They encourage their employees’ professional development and upward mobility by promoting from within.
Every organization can have a positive culture. It can be tempting to wait to implement any changes until a new quarter, fiscal year or even change in leadership. But there is no time like the present to start making small changes that can make a big influence on company culture!