Make your company culture part of your organisation’s processes and your staff’s functioning. This ensures that your company will mature and improve, not just grow.
Company culture needs to permeate all levels
Irrespective of what culture model is present, it needs to be present everywhere. Much like breathable air only being useful if it is available to all people in a room.
The key to making this possible is planning. Before making changes relating to company culture, make sure you have in place the mechanisms to help those changes spread. Typically, two aspects make this possible.
- The first is improved communication. While making positive changes is progressive, it means little if no one is aware of them. Build platforms and means to spread the changes, along with implementation plans, to all employees. In addition, always allow for feedback regarding the implementations.
- The second is a top-down, or waterfall, approach to company culture. Ensure that the leaders are following the culture changes, because this will ultimately filter its way down to the rest of the company. Furthermore, this reinforces strong leadership as well as leading by example.
Enlist the help of experts
Having a negative company culture is probably just as bad as not having one at all. If your resources do not include people who can offer solid assistance, you should opt to seek assistance from people who can, since this will greatly increase your returns on culture investment. There are many options to choose from when seeking advice. However, be sure to choose a source that is familiar with your industry.
Once you have decided to bring in a third party, set out your goals clearly. Allow the person or group assisting you to fully understand your needs, since this will enable them to draft a plan of action tailored to your requirements.
Finally, bear in mind that for any such plan to succeed, all staff need to take part. This ensures maximum buy-in and minimises any feelings of exclusion.
Company culture applies to everything
Make extra efforts to include your values, mission and vision in every aspect of your business, since this will allow you to unify a positive culture across the board.
First of all, using your company culture’s positives when dealing with clients allows for far better application of Treating Customers Fairly principles. In this prior article, we spoke about how TCF is an important foundation for company culture, and how to lay these principles down so they are ingrained.
Furthermore, a culture that promotes improvement leads to greater adoption of continued education. Having someone in the know consult on your company culture makes the process easier and more effective. Having individuals who are able and willing to add value to themselves and the organisation is also a boon with a hugely positive knock-on effect.
Another increasingly prevalent example is decision-making. Consider the relative ease of making decisions in a space where everyone subscribes to the same company culture. Sharing the same values enhances the sense of community and co-achievement. Consequently, staff feel as though they share trials, results and achievements.
It’s a never-ending story
Company culture is not a fire-and-forget missile for targeting culture shortcomings. The most difficult fact to accept is that it is a commitment staff need to make for the duration of their time with an organisation. Once implemented, it is crucial to keep up with all aspects and not lose sight of the permanent goal. Consequently, it is a regimen that needs success metrics and re-evaluation at regular intervals.
Fortunately, this requirement means that a successful approach becomes practical in nature, not just virtual. Once you have standards in place, it is easy to measure compliance and performance against them. In addition, you can more reliably award culture achievements. No matter how resistant an old culture may initially be to change, it becomes far more difficult to remain detached from constant positive influence as time goes by.
Investing in a better company culture is a long-term process. Accept this from the start, keep patient, and go for the slow and steady progress. Remember that the goal is to effect permanent change. In the organisational setting, this is not measured in days or week, but in months, and hopefully years. This is why it is so important to keep trending progress, and to keep the pace of change manageable.
We pride ourselves on constantly striving to improve our company culture, and welcome the lessons we’ve learned during the process. The relative successes we’ve enjoyed so far are more than worth the efforts we’ve put in. To that end, we are grateful to our staff, our partners, and most of all our clients. Without you all, we would have no way to celebrate our progress!