While a healthy paycheck is certainly of interest to many of us, the most successful employers have come to understand that pay alone does not attract or retain a company’s most desirable and talented employees. There is now greater employee emphasis on whether the organization aligns with their personal values, purpose, and has a positive work environment and culture.
In this climate having a strong company culture is not just a perk. It is integral for the success and continuity of your business. A strong company culture attracts top talent and most importantly, retains that talent for years to come.
Here are three strategies to build a strong company culture.
Clarify and Communicate
Your company culture reflects what your organization stands for, and as the voice of your business, your employees are vital to ensuring that it succeeds. Therefore, the first step is to clarify what your culture actually is and then make sure that your employees are on board.
Start by defining your company values, beliefs, purpose, mission, and standards. Then communicate these through your spoken words, written words, and actions – over and over again.
The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage which says that someone needs to see or hear your message at least seven times before they believe it and are willing to take action. This number is not set in stone however it does contain some truth.
The truth of the Rule of Seven is that you cannot expect that your employees will engage, understand, and implement your company values and mission if they have only heard you talk about them on a few occasions.
You will be partway to creating a strong culture when your employees start telling you about the company values and mission. Until then you need to continue to clarify and communicate them.
Leaders need to lead by example in order for employees to follow suit. It all starts from the top.
In my previous article, I wrote about how to be successful you need to connect with your self, others, and the world. All too often I work with business leaders who on the one hand talk about the importance of having meaningful relationships, yet on the other hand, they do not prioritize their schedules to include quality time with loved ones.
For leaders, practicing integrity is not always as easy as we would like it to be. In the moment it is often easier and more pleasant to tell people what they want to hear. The problem occurs when what you are saying to your employees fails to match your actions. The development of incongruencies will result in your company culture going downhill.
Leadership hypocrisy is a narrative I hear too often. It creates a toxic environment and is one of the most prevalent reasons why employees complain about their managers and decide to leave a company.
The good news is that hypocrisy is preventable. You have the choice to be mindful and re-evaluate yourself regarding some common areas of leadership hypocrisy:
- Expectations – Are you holding yourself to the same expectations that you hold for your employees? Do you actively listen to them? Do you respect them? Do you make yourself available for them? Do you collaborate with them? Do you treat them well and reward them for their high performance?
- Workplace culture – Do you take your employee’s career growth seriously and support them? Do you celebrate wins and company milestones? Do you communicate your mission, values, and goals? Do you participate in company events and programs? Are you open to feedback and willing to make changes for the better?
Focus on your employee’s well-being
Employee stress at work or home affects your business. Impacts range from over-reacting to everyday challenges through to lack of sleep or low energy preventing them from performing at the top of their game.
You cannot assume that your employees are robots and able to turn off their emotions and solely focus on the task at hand. In lieu of this, it is worthwhile to invest in their well-being. Implement a wellness program that motivates and engages employees to thrive in all areas of their life.
Before you go out and start researching corporate wellness programs re-evaluate whether you are doing the basics. When was the last time you asked your employees either of these questions and actively listened to their response?
- How are you?
- What can I do to support you?
The bottom line is that when your employees are happy, they will thrive and as a result, your company will thrive.
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Published on Forbes on Sep. 17, 2018