When you evaluate your current culture, look for the alignment between what you say you want, and what really exists. It is all about creating a system. Systems are a result of what you are tolerating or creating. The system is developed when the culture is good and you as the leader are responsible for this. Craig Groeschel stated, “Strong systems make good people look great. Weak systems make great people look bad.” Let’s discuss how you can assess your current culture to begin to create a good system for your team to work within.
Pay attention to the company mission. As a leader, what you notice and reward communicates your values more than policy statements. If your mission statement publicizes providing excellent customer service, yet you are not delivering excellence, then your employees will see you as hypocritical. If this happens then your corporate culture is in opposition to your ideals. You need to develop the standard and assure that it is met.
Evaluate the atmosphere. The atmosphere is so much within the culture. Down to what people are wearing, if they punch a clock, what do lunch breaks look like, how are desk area’s set up and handled? Some controls hinder innovation, creativity, and communication while others enhance it. Assess the atmosphere and see if it reflects your company goals. Are you practicing what you preach in the interview process and are you providing a good system for your team to thrive in.
Consider your leadership style. How do YOU demonstrate leadership style within your team and company? Do you delegate responsibility, or make the final decision on everything? Do you visit with employees in the hallways, or must they schedule an appointment to meet with you? Culture is a direct result of leadership. Intended or not, your company will reflect the strengths and faults of your management. It is often said that the leader is the lid to the organization, this is where you as a leader need to make sure you become self-aware and purposeful in your leadership style and actions.
Once you have assessed your current culture you need to determine what steps you should take to grow or develop. These may be small steps or may be bigger leaps to this development. When interviewing candidates, talk to them about your values, philosophies, and leadership style. Ask them what they care about in and outside of work. Share the mission, vision and core values. Continue the practice with employees already on staff.
If you deem that your culture could use some improvements, continue to model the culture you want to create. If creativity and communication are a priority, take time to talk to your employees, set up brainstorming sessions to encourage new ideas, and be intentional to increase your communication efforts within the team. Employees are ultimately your greatest asset, so show them. Provide them comprehensive benefits, PTO, incentives, and encouragement.
Define the corporate culture you want, and work on it, but don’t force it. As a leader setting a good example is necessary, you have to show others that they want the change too. Communicate the values you want to see your employees mirror. Deliver the benefits of the desired changes to your team. They will begin to learn and develop new habits on their own and within their workplace. Culture can’t be mandated and shouldn’t feel unnatural. There are some small initiatives that can be taken to begin to improve your internal company culture.
Do the little things. Make sure your employees know they are valuable. Ask about their lives outside of work. Send birthday messages. Celebrate their on-the-job successes. Eat lunch with them. Show them that you have a life outside of work and can identify with other life challenges. If you want well-balanced employees, be a well-balanced boss.
Foster the culture. Be consistent. Don’t create an open-door policy if you don’t want to listen when your employees come to you. Communication and respect are two key components. If employees are unhappy, ask why and ask for their solutions. Evaluate the ways your current culture is helping or harming workplace efficiency and employee morale. Stay true to your mission and core values which allows the culture to grow around them. This involves constant effort. You cannot build a house in a day, sometimes not even in a week. This will be an ongoing effort to build and maintain the company culture.
Let culture evolve. Keep your company’s mission clear. If you have multiple locations it is fair to expect each place to develop its own subculture and style, based on the region and people. Providing the companies mission and core values as a true north, should be helpful for the culture to stay on track and evolve.
Your system within your company is a result of what you as a leader are creating or tolerating. When the overall culture is good, your team will create the healthy system. But it is the leaders responsibility to assure that the culture gets off to a healthy start and it continues to grow within the team and business. Culture is what ultimately motivates and retains the good team members.
At Summit SmartFarms we can help you to develop your culture by taking a look at your organizational health and helping you with communication and team-building. Our experts are qualified to coach you and your organization into a great workplace culture. Contact us today to request a consultation.