Company culture goes far beyond the environment created and the people who create it. Culture lies within the foundation of a company, wedged between a concrete vision or mission and clear, attainable goals.
So, how can you tell if your company’s culture is doing its job?
One key indicator of good culture is employee engagement. At the Bradford Group, there is an endless amount of opportunities for employees to engage in “extracurricular” activities, such as online training courses and professional memberships. Speaking up in meetings is another way employees show that they are fully enveloped in their work. Even taking on additional tasks when a peer’s plate is full shows proactiveness.
Another indicator of great company culture is the happiness of the employees. Are employees excited to leave for the day/leave early, or do they arrive early or stay late to tie up loose ends? Do they complain frequently or take a positive approach to tasks? A common pitfall in the workforce is not caring about employees’ personal lives – employees do not live to work, but rather work to live. Employees will not feel loyalty to a company without a personal connection.
Culture has the ability to affect employees’ morale and enthusiasm for their craft. Here are 5 ways to create a solid foundation for company culture – and avoid workplace disengagement:
1. Espoused versus enacted company values
The difference between what a corporation says they do and what they actually do can make a big difference in company culture. The Bradford Group clearly lays out what they want from potential employees: to work smart, to be active and to generate results (our core values). Employees may find themselves between a rock and a hard place when they join a business and realize that the firm is not who they say they are. Be transparent – otherwise, risk losing top candidates for positions.
2. 360-degree feedback
It is just as important to give feedback to employees as it is for employees to give insight to upper management. Inaccuracies can occur at any level of a corporation, but 360-degree feedback allows for open communication to let the company’s mission take precedence. Employees will appreciate that their ideas matter and continue to contribute information. The Bradford Group maintains constant, open communication with “Rocks” meetings, which are based on the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, where team members discuss bi-weekly and quarterly goals and communicate one-on-one with a member of the leadership team.
It’s as simple as that. If employees do not feel appreciated, they may question whether their work is worthwhile. The Bradford Group has established a ‘Kudos’ board where fellow colleagues can post notes recognizing when someone goes out of his way to help with a task. The notes on this board serve as a daily reminder that the employees are appreciated and that they are capable of excellence. Establishing reward programs, or even weekly affirmations, can make an employee’s dedication to the company stronger.
A common pitfall in the workforce is not caring about employees’ personal lives – employees do not live to work, but rather work to live.
4. Team approach
Although it is important to establish independence in the workplace, a community helps drive results. Team members can work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses to build one another up. Employees want to feel that the people that they work with are a support system, not rivalry. One way to build a team-based company is through team-building activities. Once a week, Bradford Group employees sit in a conference room and brainstorm ideas for clients or work on skills that will help them with their jobs.
5. Growth and development opportunities
If employees aren’t being pushed to develop their skills, they aren’t pushing for the company’s growth. Invest time and money in developing your employees and they will return the favor. The Bradford Group allows its employees to take control of their workloads, and the lack of micromanaging allows employees to be able to grow their independence and be able to holistically view the business. Full-time employees are also given a budget for professional development, to be used on things such as online training courses or networking groups, and team members are encouraged to read business-related books and are awarded with money for completing them.
Although culture isn’t tangible, it can be clearly seen in the daily lives of a company’s employees. Creating a culture that provides everyone a place to both develop their personal skills and explore new business realms will ensure workplace engagement. Take the time to outline clear goals and expectations now, and it will mold a solid foundation for your company’s impending success.