National Fire and Protection Association (NFPA) panels are displayed outside of buildings or on vehicles to give firefighters advanced notice of what they are getting themselves into when they arrive at the scene of a fire. The NFPA panel is a clear indication of what sort of dangers might lie inside. Wouldn’t it be nice if the same were true about displaying a company’s culture outside its building? It actually is true for some companies.
In Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Sinek says, “When the people have to manage dangers from inside the organization, the organization itself becomes less able to face the dangers from outside.” He goes on to note that when companies have to protect their employees from each other, the whole company suffers. Imagine all of the time, resources, and energy given to these issues and taken away from the bottom line and goals!
How do you create a company culture that inspires employees? You start by aligning the company’s culture with its business strategy and ensure that your culture exemplifies the company’s core values, rewarded behaviors, and performance drivers across the landscape of the business.
Then you communicate it succinctly and consistently across the organization. Here are the key places:
- In all job postings
- Employee handbook in the welcome section
- Company website (include visual proof like pictures of company outings, employee testimonials/achievements are a nice touch as well)
- All company social sites (include same visual proof as on your website)
- Communicate it clearly during the onboarding process (you can even have a fun quiz for new employees to take)
Next, be who you say you are being. Communicate your culture consistently to not just your employees, but to the world and live it. I have friends that have quit their interview process with a company because they quickly figured out the company was very different than what their website and social sites displayed. And what about your current employees? Employees who are not in tune with your company culture and values will never feel like they belong. They will disconnect and not put in the discretionary effort or go the extra mile to help your business succeed. Because of this, smart organizations actively manage their culture which leads us to your last step in building a culture that inspires.
Evaluate and make changes as needed. How? First, take on the discipline of actively managing the company culture every day. Take a minute to read this article from Forbes about a company leader who stumbled onto a cultural problem with an employee team. When you come across culture issues in the workplace, it is vital to act on them swiftly and appropriately. Second, schedule evaluations of your culture throughout the year (1-2 times). You can use an Employee Experience Survey (CLG has one available along with other tools) or something similar for these evaluations. Lastly, follow-up with employees after they complete any kind of cultural evaluation. They want and need to know you are listening and will make reasonable and profitable changes based on their feedback.
Company culture issues equal lost productivity, employee disengagement, money lost, and even negative company reputations. There are many ways to change your company culture over time. These changes might include tweaking your rewards system, how you communicate and make decisions, succession planning, or setting up your physical working environment to better align with your strategy. CLG can help you get started on building a culture that inspires at your company. Contact us today!