In the last ten to twenty years, a focus on the importance of organizational culture has increased. Potential employees are now indicating that a company’s culture is a component of their decision-making process when deciding to apply to or accept a position. Not only is it essential for attracting quality talent, but it is also necessary for retention. When employees feel positive about their employer, they are more likely to be more invested in the company, which leads to quality work product and loyalty. While creating a positive culture is not rocket science, it does require deliberate planning and implementation. Here are some suggestions to help managers and supervisors create a positive culture for their staff.
Encourage a collegial atmosphere. Developing and maintaining a professional environment is important, but it’s also important to recognize that human capital is made of “humans.” People bring all of themselves to work; the skills, talents, personalities, and areas for growth. Getting to know your staff in the context of their role and encouraging your team to get to know each other can help create opportunities for creativity and innovation. This does not mean that everyone should share everything about their personal lives but know a bit about each other can help people know how to work better together. Colleagues that know each other well can play off of each other strengths and support each other in areas where coworkers aren’t as strong.
Cultural awareness matters. There has been a lot of discussion in the media lately about the impact of poor implementation diversity and cultural awareness policies. There are also a lot of misconceptions about what makes diversity and inclusion efforts successful. It does not have to be a painful process, but it does require organizations to do some honest self-reflection. Identifying areas for improvement related to creating a place where all employees feel they can do their best work and adhere to local and federal policy can be a great first step. Creating a position or a task force that is charged with learning about successful strategies and educating others in the organization can help maintain accountability.
Provide feedback and a clear system of rewards. Investing in your employees will create an atmosphere where they feel more invested. When they are doing well or going above and beyond, let them know. If you can provide rewards, bonuses, or promotions, be a clear a possible about the criteria and if you can tie them to measurable outcomes, even better. If they are struggling in error, not only should you provide them with feedback, but offer support to help them improve. Whether it’s training or a seminar, a modification in objectives, or a shift in workload, offering to additional support will showcase your investment in your employees and often create better outcomes for the organization.
Be mission-driven. Being guided by your organization missing is good in general, but it’s also ideal for creating a positive culture. Organizations that are truly driven by their mission are more likely to have employees that align with the organization’s goals and use that as their compass. Organizations that keep mission drift to a minimum have less confusion and staff that are more clear about their role and purpose in the company.
Create a culture of transparency. Working for an organization where people feel mislead or lied to can be challenging. When employees don’t trust their employer, it can cause a host of problems including a culture of gossip and rumors and a decreased desire to work together. Being honest and upfront with employees not only prevents issues or can increase staff buy-in and encourage loyalty.
A little time and planning can go a long way for creating a positive culture. Taking the time to show employees that you are willing to invest in their success will yield staff that is excited to come to work and willing to stay with the company long-term. Positive organizational culture is truly a win-win for everyone.