By Sal Gervasi
District Manager, Insperity
A company’s corporate culture is the heart of the organization. For most companies, it is defined as “the way we do things around here.” Corporate culture is important because it can influence recruiting, productivity, and employee and client retention rates. Research has also found that a company’s culture can directly impact its bottom line.
Business owners need to evaluate their cultures to make sure they are aligned with the company’s current goals and objectives. Below is an action plan designed to help employers build and refine a successful corporate culture.
How To Build A Great Corporate Culture
Assess the Situation
The perception and the reality of a company’s corporate culture may be very different. Poll a small group of employees or implement a company-wide climate survey to help gain a better perspective. Make sure employees know that candid feedback is required to help company leaders obtain a true picture of the environment in order to help improve it. Employees should not be concerned that they will be penalized for providing honest insights about the business.
Consider Your Mission
The company’s mission statement should accurately reflect the organization’s current goals and objectives. While reviewing or creating a mission statement, think about the goals: What steps or changes need to occur to help attain them? Whatever is decided, remember that the mission statement will set the organization’s tone, so it should be realistic and attainable. In order to help inspire employees to cultivate a corporate culture that they want to be a part of, company leaders must continually reinforce the mission statement.
Communicate and Educate
To help create a specific type of culture, good communication is critical. Many employers err by leaving employees in the dark. Earning trust requires company leaders to be open and honest, which calls for communicating both good and bad news. Simply posting a printed mission statement in the break room is not enough. The company’s mission should be intertwined with all aspects of the organization. Sharing examples of the different ways employees and company leaders are incorporating elements of the culture into their daily success can be helpful. New employees especially are eager to fit into the company, so this is an important time to educate them about the company’s culture. Monthly company meetings are a great way to help inspire employees and remind them of the organization’s mission and each employee’s role in helping to accomplish it.
Listen and Learn
The best companies are democracies in which everyone has a voice, and feedback is heard. Employees need to know that their opinions matter and that their input has value to the success of the company. Employee feedback often fosters creative thinking and new ideas, which can strengthen a business.
Put Words into Action
Communication efforts are more powerful when complemented with action. Leading by example can help energize or revitalize a culture, and demonstrates to employees that the leaders mean what they say. If there has been a breach in trust, management should acknowledge it, admit faults, explain the plans to change, and then take action. To earn respect from employees, company leaders must be forthcoming and demonstrate new commitments to help everyone successfully move ahead.
Recognize and Reward
Strong corporate cultures demand accountability at all levels of the organization. Consider establishing a program that allows employees and managers to recognize peers that exemplify company standards. Highlight individual or group achievements in the company newsletter or during a company meeting, as this can motivate employees. For example, an innovative culture should reward and recognize creative ideas. While every initiative may not be implemented, employees’ efforts should be recognized.
Understand It Takes Time
The most successful companies did not shape their cultures overnight. Take pride in small steps that may turn into leaps and bounds in time. Applaud success, whether big or small, and do not allow employees to lose sight of the bigger picture.
A Culture for All, Not One
Building a company based on a certain culture may not appeal to everyone, but it will attract new employees who will value it. And employees that choose to stay will help further solidify the company culture.
Corporate culture exists whether employers choose to guide it or not. But a company that is driven by similar values, beliefs and objectives has a better chance of outperforming the competition. When a common goal is set, employees are more willing to work together for the greater good. By proactively developing and following a plan that reflects the company’s desired outcome, leaders can foster a culture that can help the organization attain long-term success.
About the Author
Sal Gervasi is a district manager for Insperity and is located in one of its New York offices. Insperity (NYSE: NSP), a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 28 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2013 revenues of $2.3 billion, Insperity operates in 57 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit http://www.insperity.com.