As a manager or leader of a team, you know exactly what you company stands for (or you should.)
You know what the company strives for and how you want the team to work together towards that goal. You know what you want your company or team culture to be- whether it’s innovative or traditional, collaborative or competitive, flexible or strict, hierarchical or relatively unstructured.
Either way, an adaptive company culture that is aligned with the company’s goals has been shown to be more successful in the long term- up to 200% more than those with a weak or misaligned company culture.
The problem arises when there is a discrepancy between the intended company/team culture and what it actually is. You and the team are no longer on the same page, and conflicts arise.
This happens all the time. Along the way your company or team culture has changed, as personalities have come and gone, shaping the relationships and dynamics. Sometimes one key employee coming or going can really hurt morale, but normally it’s a progressive thing, one that you barely notice until one day the whole atmosphere of the office just seems different. And not in a good way.
Maybe your business has become bigger, so the culture has had to change out of necessity- you’ve found yourself having to dictate more and become less relaxed about employee autonomy, and you no longer have a close relationship with all your employees or team members.
Quite simply, the company’s changed in some way, and your company culture needs to change with it.
So how do you create a company or team culture that aligns with the company goals?
First: Assess. Look around, study the existing culture. Ask questions. Perhaps bring in a consultant to get an objective view of how your team members view the company culture.
Second: Determine. What is the company or team culture that you’re striving for? Write down exactly what it looks like and create an action plan.
Third: Appoint. Find a leader to be responsible for the transition to the new culture.
Fourth: Sell it. Convince the other company leaders. Culture is a lead-by-example game. If the leaders don’t believe it, it will fail.
Fourth: Communicate the new culture. To everyone. Repeatedly. Until you’re blue in the face if needs be. At first your employees may resist the change, and might think they can just ignore it and it will go away. Don’t give up.
Fifth: Hire well. Make it clear to new hires that fitting in with the clearly stated company culture is a non-negotiable part of getting (and keeping) the job. Make sure they agree to this at the outset and you should have a solid recruit that helps you transform the culture.
Sixth: Accept…to a point. The ‘new and improved’ company culture will inevitably change again over time; allow it to adapt to changes in personality and circumstance, but keep an eye that it doesn’t move away from core company goals and values.
The fun part: Some ideas for creating an enjoyable company culture
- Social occasions. We all know it’s easier to go in to work on a cold Monday morning when we have real connections with the people at the office.
- Voluntary projects. Studies show that human motivation is driven by a sense of purpose. If you create projects where employees feel they are making a difference, they will respect the company more, and bond together on these projects.
- Human touches. Yes, cake at birthdays is important. Everyone likes cake days, and more importantly, a bit of flour, eggs and sugar can make a person feel oddly special.
- Celebrate successes. When someone tries but fails, congratulate them too.
- Sport unites. Start a fantasy league in the office. Even better, start a sports team!
- Social media. Make sure your company social media page has a genuine voice to relate to.
- Food at meetings. Prizes at meetings. Anything you can do to make meetings fun.
Until next time,