By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
Though it can sometimes be hard to define, company culture is crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive workplace. A solid company culture will also help you retain your best talent.
Maybe you feel your company culture needs a makeover. Or, maybe you are just getting started in your role and you are wondering how you can instill a sense of culture from day one.
Whatever the situation, here are three ways in which you can improve the culture of your workplace.
Improvement Through Inspiration
A regular dose of inspiration can help your employees remain motivated over the long haul.
Here are several things you can do on a practical level to keep your team engaged:
- Recognize achievements. Recognize employees who have done an outstanding job. If you like, you could award one person with the title of employee of the month and showcase them on your website and/or your social channels.
- Bring in guest speakers. At times, your employees can benefit from an outside perspective. Guest speakers can bring fresh ideas to the table that boost morale and heighten motivation.
- Offer ongoing training and development. Today’s workers are interested in improving their skills and in learning new things. Offer ongoing training sessions or give your team access to online and offline resources they can tap into on their own time, such as books and courses.
Do not rely on any one tactic to create inspiration. Rotate through each to create variety and engagement. Sticking to one thing for too long could prove detrimental for morale. For instance, if you are constantly recognizing a small group of people who are outstanding achievers, those who are not getting recognition are going to start feeling left out.
Improvement Through Reflection
Reflection is one of the most powerful tools available to leaders and workers alike. Thinking about what has and has not gone well can offer valuable insight into how to improve. This can lead to breakthroughs in the workplace.
Here are a few ways in which you can use reflection as a tool to improve company culture:
- Hold brainstorming sessions. Get your team together to think about how company culture could be improved. Make this a planned session rather than a spontaneous one and get your team members to come prepared with a couple of ideas.
- Gather feedback. Gather feedback from individual team members and reflect on the answers they give you. You can collect feedback in a variety of ways, but the number one thing you need to establish is trust. If your people don not trust you, they are not going to give you honest and transparent answers.
- Encourage personal reflection. Group reflection can be beneficial, but as we all know, meetings can easily become unproductive, especially without an agenda, and care and attention to organization and planning. Perhaps, at the end of each week, you could encourage your employees to reflect individually for 15 to 30 minutes or so.
Improvement Through Teamwork
“Joe should really connect with Sue, because Sue could help him gain perspective and understand his responsibilities better.”
Have you ever caught yourself saying something like this?
You must acknowledge that you are making a bit of an assumption here, as Joe probably is not seeing things from a bird’s eye view like you are. Perhaps you should consider pointing out the connection to Joe and give him an incentive to talk to Sue.
Many leaders wish they could encourage more teamwork and collaboration among team members. And, the reality is that you can.
Teams are often siloed off by department. So, one way you can encourage more communication is by breaking down those walls and getting everyone on the same page. This could be a literal or figurative “wall”.
But there is another way of looking at this. You could also create groups that include someone from each department. You could have these groups work together, or just get together on a weekly basis to discuss happenings in their specific roles.
Regardless of how you do it, the key is to get your team members interacting with each other and understanding how their role contributes to company objectives.
Do not make company culture an afterthought. Defining who you are and what you are about gives your employees an opportunity to connect to the vision and the purpose of the business. It also helps you attract likeminded people who can help you grow the company.
Let’s get to work!
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