In THIS article we discussed “What is a workplace culture and how do you get a good one?” To further that conversation, below I list 4 easy ways to make your workplace culture great. To an early career manager, it might not be immediately obvious why these strategies would work; however, to a seasoned manager, you should be able to connect the dots in the understanding of human emotion related to brand loyalty, trust, and work ethic.
#1 – Have a GREAT FIRST DAY
Think intentionally about each employee’s first day on the job. Do you have a handwritten note from the company owner and their direct report for them welcoming them? Do you have promotional items for them – like a cup, a koozie, a nametag, jacket, blanket, journal, pens, etc? Do you have YOUR act together in terms of telling them exactly what they should expect – e.g., an agenda for their first day, their first week, and their first month on the job? What impression are you making with them, and is this impression in line with your company values? If not, you might be creating a culture problem from day one.
#2 – Assign a CULTURE MONITOR
Who is in charge of taking care of your company culture? Probably no one. And the diffusion of responsibility is strong. With no one responsible for designing or building a fantastic culture that people are drawn to, I promise you that no one will. Company owners often are simply too busy. Also, they do not have the proper skill set. As one of my favorite clients has said, “Natasha, I do not have time to listen to Cindy talk about her neighbor’s sister-in-law’s son’s labradoodle named Jimmy John.” Okay. I hear you. Yet this IS THE JOB to get a great culture, so delegate it if needed.
#3 – Put your VALUES into everything you do
Are your values on the wall? Are your people trained on them? Do you have videos celebrating people who live them out? Do you have annual value awards and campaigns? Can people recite your mission statement on command? And are senior people-leaders living and breathing embodiments of these values? If not, you have work to do. Great cultures stem from companies that ARE who they say they ARE. Bad cultures stem from companies that are fake and do not stand with firm integrity.
If you are an ambitious, go-getter, sales-driven, achievement-oriented, fast-paced company owner – set these characteristics as your values. If you set values of ‘employees first’ and ‘world peace and ‘love and grace’ then it will never work. I’m being sarcastic here, but the point is you need to know yourself and own it proudly to build a positive culture.
#4 – Build culture through MEETINGS
If you are not talking about company culture in your regularly scheduled meetings then, friend, I hate to tell you, you are doing it wrong. Celebrating people who exemplify your values and mission, and reprimanding people who do not, publicly, and consistently is a rookie mistake. Think of all the regular meetings you have with supervisors, directs, colleagues, teams, etc. We are FILLED with meetings. In fact, it is hard to “GSD” which stands for “Get S@*! Done” because we have so many meetings. So fill your meetings with the things that make people want to STAY and not want to leave. Do you have an agenda item that celebrates people helping to build a positive culture and how they are doing that? Do you have an agenda item that problematizes cultural misfits or mishaps? No? Then make it a priority to infuse this into your meeting systems.
My colleague and I were having a good laugh yesterday about our annoyance with the buzzword “intentionality.” Yet I cannot think of a better word for this point. A workplace culture will emerge whether you design it with intention or you don’t. The best cultures, it goes almost without saying, are designed with intentional alignment to core values and intentional activities created with the expressed purpose of amplifying what you want to be amplified and minimizing what you want to be minimized.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Attend this month’s webinar on “Building a Workplace Culture that People Love”
Join us May 25th @ 12:00-12:30 EST via Zoom
This webinar will be a 20min presentation by Dr. G, where you will learn:
1) What is workplace culture and how do you get a good one?
2) 4 easy ways to make a workplace culture great
3) The 3 immediate actions to take if your company culture is tanking
Lion Leadership is an executive education company. We coach and train leadership teams and mid-level managers so that people don’t quit because of bad bosses. Whether you need 1-on-1 coaching for yourself, a custom leadership academy for your company, off-site retreats for your teams, or just a few hours of morale-building, we are here to get your organization ready for what’s next.
Natasha Ganem, Ph.D., is the founder and principal consultant.