Company culture is hard to define, but it can make or break an organization.
A company with poor culture will struggle to retain employees and may not generate the best products or outcomes possible. Infighting within departments, workplace tensions, and overall low moods will drive away employees before you know it.
Companies with a more positive culture, on the other hand, will have happy employees who productively collaborate in their work together. Good company culture can motivate your employees to go the extra mile, leading to better products for customers.
Positive work environments are also better for fostering creativity, allowing team members the confidence to add their ideas to the mix.
Have you been struggling to maintain a positive work environment within your business? Keep reading for five simple, yet effective ways to improve your company’s culture and create a more vibrant and productive workplace.
Communicate the Mission and Values of the Company
The best and most effective teams are the ones that act according to shared values and beliefs. Values are important for any company because they help to guide everyone in the organization on how to treat each other.
As a leader, you should aim to communicate your company’s underlying values and the behaviors that correspond to them. Understanding what is expected of them will help reduce uncertainty for your employees; they will be more inclined to act by its mission and values as a result.
It is also crucial that managers and leaders lead by example, living and breathing the mission and values of your company. Employees who see you adhering to a clear set of values will take their cue and do the same.
The trust of the employees can thus be built on a solid foundation of shared beliefs.
Create An Environment Where Employees Feel Safe to Fail
Innovation can come from anywhere in the company, but only if everyone feels safe and able to share their ideas without fear of failure. Unfortunately, fear of failure is often prevalent in work environments, and this can prevent winning ideas from coming to the surface.
While failure may seem like a negative thing, it can actually be positive because of the lessons that come from it. Creating a culture that encourages risk-taking will help achieve new heights within the company. It can also boost employee morale and improve retention.
Employees who feel free to take risks will be happier at work because they won’t feel as though they are walking on eggshells; they will have the confidence to be bold in their innovations, allowing creativity to flow. Daily success improves productivity, so creating a culture that embraces the possibility of failure has benefits for everyone involved.
If your employees are afraid of taking chances, nothing new will happen within the company, leading to stagnation. Aim to create a culture where your team feels safe enough to fail without worrying about being judged or blamed for making mistakes.
Promote Healthy Communication Within the Company
Companies with a healthy flow of communication tend to see better results than those who do not communicate effectively. When employees regularly share ideas and suggestions with each other, new insights can generate and lead to success for the company.
An open environment encourages communication between all levels of the company hierarchy. To create such an environment you first need to work on building trust within the organization through open dialogue. Talk openly with your team and ask for their input, letting them know that you care about their opinions.
Employees will feel like they are part of a community where everyone is heard if there is an open culture in their workplace. They won’t feel quieted; instead, their voice will be listened to and their concerns validated.
To solve problems and innovate, employees from every department must be on the same page and share information freely. This requires a top-down approach where leaders make an effort to meet their direct reports often and converse with them regularly.
Creating this open environment helps remove any barriers between departments, leading to better teamwork and collaboration.
Reward Employees for Their Hard Work
Rewarding employees for a job well done will encourage them to continue reaching new heights. As a leader, you should aim to acknowledge your team’s work regularly so they know that their efforts are not going unnoticed or unappreciated.
When people trying to achieve a new fitness goal see their muscles becoming more toned or their running speed going up, they are motivated by the visible changes they’ve made through hard work. Similarly, when employees feel like what they do makes a tangible difference to the company’s outcomes, they will be more motivated to do their best work.
Being recognized for a job well done provides positive reinforcement and helps motivate employees to keep pushing themselves harder every day. By commending your team, you can help increase productivity and improve future outcomes.
Give a Flexible Work Schedule
Encouraging a flexible schedule can benefit your business in many ways. When schedules are not too rigid, and employees have some degree of control over how much time they spend at work, they tend to be more productive and experience higher levels of job satisfaction.
You will need to develop an ideal system that works best for your company, of course–but a general rule to note is that most successful organizations allow their staff to set their hours somehow. This helps employees feel like they are in control of when and how long they work.
Although bosses and managers are traditionally the people in ‘power’, handing over some of that power to your employees can have huge benefits in this case. Letting your staff set their workday can lead to increased productivity as they will be more motivated to get the job done efficiently rather than rushing through tasks just so that they can leave on time.
Additionally, giving workers this flexibility can encourage them to be more creative and innovative with their time–an invaluable asset in the current business climate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is changing an organizational culture important?
Changing your company’s culture from negative to positive is crucial for the success of your business. A company with a poor culture and morale will not be as successful as one that has a supportive and motivating environment, as employees will be less likely to innovate, collaborate, and work to their greatest capacity.
Is there an ideal way of changing an organization’s culture?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, unfortunately, as each company has different goals and priorities. The same strategy will not fit every business model–it’s best to work out a strategy according to your company’s specific values and goals.
Employees tend to be happier and more productive when they know that their opinions are being heard, so having an open dialogue with workers is an excellent place to start for any organization.
What should companies avoid doing if they want to improve company culture?
As a leader trying to improve your culture, try not to neglect other aspects of your business in the process. Successful companies are like a machine; every part needs to be in working order for the whole to function properly. Focus on culture, but not at the expense of everything else.
This is where a strategy like delegating can come in handy. Allocate those smaller, lower-priority tasks to other reliable employees so that all bases are covered. Paying attention to every aspect of your business–even the seemingly menial tasks–will improve your culture in the long run.
How do we work on cultural change alongside other goals and priorities?
Improving a business’ organizational culture takes time and effort from both leaders and workers alike, and this can be difficult to juggle when you have other big goals as a company.
The first step is to identify and acknowledge what needs to be changed within your company. Clearly identifying the issues will help both management and employees as they work together to make change happen.
Instead of trying to tackle many goals and projects at once, focus on fewer areas that have a more significant impact on the company. Give employees the opportunity to contribute their ideas and opinions so that everyone feels involved in the cultural shift. A change may not happen overnight, but lots of little changes can collectively yield big results.
How can managers achieve more openness in their organization?
If you feel there is a need for more openness within your team, consider having conversations with employees about this issue.
It can be challenging for management to recognize when your company’s culture needs improvement if it has been that way since the beginning. However, asking around and listening to what other people have to say is an excellent way to find out if more openness is needed.
The best place to start conversations like these is during meetings, where everyone can sit down and discuss important issues. This will help you to figure out what changes need to be made whilst giving employees a chance to voice their opinions.
The Bottom Line
The goal of every company should be the same–create a work environment where employees enjoy coming in each day with the knowledge that what they do matters. Keep this at the forefront of your company’s culture, and your success will be a given.