Picture this. It’s your day of the interview.
Entering the office, the receptionist greets you with a friendly smile and serves you a warm drink. As you plop yourself on the comfortable couch, a beaming gentleman walks in and salutes her. Next, two ladies arrive with a distinct cheerful gait. Stopping for a light banter with the receptionist, they both also disappeared behind the glass doors. As the doors closed, you can hear the distant chatter interspersed with laughter. Wow, people here do seem to enjoy their work. How do you feel about this company? Inviting?
The average person spends over 90,000 of his or her life working. No wonder 94% of executives believed that workplace culture is critical to success.
Here’re four ways on how to build a positive company culture.
Do an inner inventory
This may take a bit of soul-searching. The core of a positive culture is positive values.
Ask yourself which values matter to you the most? What are the non-negotiables? You may have a list. But choose a couple only especially when you’re starting. From each value, you can spin off many ways of working. It is the outworking of this value which defines culture.
So, for example, honesty matters most to you. That means you expect integrity in dealing with customers, humility to admit mistakes and giving credit to whom it’s due. These are the ways of working stemming from one value. And how you play out this value depends on the individual. This gives freedom for your staffs to personalise this – how they can apply this in their work environment.
Walk the Talk
To get the ball rolling, the company owner would need to walk the talk. How does this value play out in real day-to-day work? People look to you for this.
So, let’s say teamwork is the culture we want in our company. In making major decisions for the company, you can involve your staffs by getting them to research for you. Lean on their expertise and listen to their opinions. Not only they feel valued and invested, but there’ll also be a higher sense of ownership and pride in their work.
Get your managers as well to champion the culture. Through repeated modelling, everyone will be aligned with the company culture. The key is consistency.
Create a Positive Environment
Gratitude empowers people and helps them to feel valued. Give a thank you note or card with each other. Set aside time in monthly briefings or meetings for the management to acknowledge the staffs’ hard work as well. This will boost the overall company’s morale.
Another way is to award your staffs with small tokens of appreciation for little milestones they make. A kind acknowledgement goes a long way as well.
Also, set a transparent policy for progression and promotion. This means everyone has an equal opportunity for advancement, as long one performs accordingly. As a result, teammates can healthily compete without any build-up of negative feelings or resentment.
Dealing with Nay-sayers
There’ll be people who don’t agree with your company’s culture. Maybe, their past experiences, misunderstanding or personality have caused that. Whatever the reason is, adopting a culture takes time.
Hence, provide a safe environment for them to express their opinions, feelings and thoughts. Sincerely listen to them. And see if we can help them overcome any negative thought patterns. Maybe a new insight or constructive feedback can come out from this discussion. Assume that they have positive intentions.
However, know when to draw a line to perpetually negative people especially bullies. Bullies should never be allowed to continue bullying. Set your expectations clear and root that behaviour out.
Positive company culture is not merely a buzz word but a necessity for any healthy work environment. That means happier and motivated employees who’re more productive and loyal. It’s a win-win situation!