So here are some steps you can take to create a great business culture where employees feel valued and appreciated and quality work gets done:
Develop your vision, mission and goals
Businesses often have a mission, vision and goal statement that serves as their guiding principle when deciding what direction they want to take their business. It also helps customers understand the purpose of the organization and guides employee behaviors.
Identify your Brand Pillars
Start by identifying what you want your brand to be known for and what kind of employees you want to attract. Brand pillars are the fundamental points that set your company apart from your competitors. Being clear on these pillars will help you to identify your values.
Identify your company values
As part of the process of identifying your vision, mission, goals and pillars, you also want to identify your values. Company values are the center of a company’s culture, it’s what is important to the company. While the mission, vision and goal express the purpose of the organization, values serve as behavioral guidelines and shape the mindset of your employees, giving them a purpose.
When brainstorming company values, make sure they’re inclusive of all members of your organization. They should also be simple, easy to remember, concise and authentic. Your list of values doesn’t need to be lengthy, but needs to cover the core of how everyone should behave at your company. As an exercise, have each person on the leadership team, identify 1-3 values as a start, then discuss and vote on them, until you have 8-10 values solidified.
Break out behavioral norms that line up to the values
Once you have those values identified, start breaking out 3-5 behaviors under each value you would like to see in the company. These should speak to that value and offer a framework for coaching. For example, if you have chosen the value of Integrity, then some examples of behaviors that you could identify are:
- You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political.
- You only say things about fellow employees that you would say to their face.
- You admit mistakes freely and openly.
- You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you.
- You do what you said you would. You give honor to your word; even if you don’t do what you said you would; you clean up and re-establish integrity/workability.
Live by your company values
Company values shouldn’t just be buzzwords listed on your website or posted on your office walls — they should be actionable and integrated in your employees’ regular activities. In other words, your company values should be visible in the day-to-day operations of your company. Once the leadership team has gone through the exercise of identifying values and breaking them out as behaviors, write a culture doc that includes these values and behaviors. However, now add some context by explaining why they are important to the culture, why you chose these in particular and how they relate to each other. Share them with everyone in the organization and ask for comments and feedback. This is an interactive exercise with all employees, so that shaping it, becomes theirs and they feel part of the process.
Coaching & Feedback linked to your culture
Notice that once you have this and have shared it, make sure everyone reads it. Your managers throughout the company should read it many times, as they will become the keepers of the culture. They should make sure their teams read it. This should be embedded in the company and discussed regularly. The managers need to start coaching their teams in alignment with this culture doc; and when poor performance is displayed, bring up the culture doc to coach them against the expectations that were set in the doc. Regularly discuss a value and it’s behaviors in team meetings, so that the culture starts to embed. This part needs effort and a champion and is an integral first step to building a high performance culture; as expected behavior has now been identified and as a result coaching and feedback should happen in line with that.
Talent Density – Hire the right people
The most important part of building and maintaining a positive and high performing business culture is to employ the right people. Skills and talent are just a few things you should look for when screening applicants. It’s also important to look at the applicant’s ability to adapt to and embrace your company’s values. More importantly, most people have the tendency to cooperate and work well with people they agree and share similar personal values with. When hiring employees, look for ‘culture fit’ when hiring employees to make sure your teams align with the culture and the expectations. Lastly, make sure you have diverse workforce, which allows for varied perspectives, opinions and influences
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