How to improve your company culture

It’s been a rocky couple of years in employment generally, with the pandemic and lockdowns leading to a loss of team members across many organisations, but on top of that, more and more people are voluntarily choosing to leave the workplace. One reason for this can be poor company culture.

So what is company culture? A company’s culture is illustrated by what people do, how they do it, and what is tolerated on a day-to-day basis, despite what people may want it to be. Company culture can encompass everything from how customer service answers the telephone, all the way to how bosses treat their people and how team members interact.

So what can a poor company culture look like?

It can involve things such as:

  • Unrealistic workloads
  • Unclear expectations
  • Playing favourites
  • Blind eyes to unprofessional behaviour
  • Tolerating bullying behaviour
  • Allowing microaggressions
  • Shaming and blaming

There are many end results that these can manifest in. Apart from a general air of unhappiness, low morale and disengagement, high employee turnover is a strong red flag for poor company culture. If you’re struggling with high staff turnover in the workplace, it would be wise to take a look at your company culture and see where you can make changes.

If you decide to embark on a culture overhaul, be sure that this is something that you are committed to. It is a big job to change a company’s culture and to keep it changed – many people will be stuck in their old, learned ways and easily slide back into ingrained habits, and may need repeat re-positioning on the new culture and what it means for them and their behaviour in the workplace.

How to improve business culture overall

1. Engage your employees and first determine your values

Get input from employees about what are the values that would describe a culture you all want together. Consider what will inspire and motivate your people and what will help you reach the vision, mission and/or purpose of your business.

2. Create values-based behaviours

Determine what are the behaviours that will help each of your values come to life. Get clear about behaviours that will support these values and behaviours that would be contrary to them. Be sure to get agreement and buy-in from your top leaders.

3. Look at your policies, practices and procedures

Before asking all individuals to align with these behaviours, ensure that your policies, procedures and practices align. It is impossible for people to start using new behaviours to align with values if there are policies that encourage them to behave a different way. For example, if you instruct your team to handle conflict in one way, it’s vital that you don’t then model conflict resolution in a totally different way. Or, if you want to implement values around fairness and collaboration, then be mindful of rewarding individuals differently for the same achievements.

4. Design a roll-out plan

Beginning with the top leaders, have them agree on how they will display the company values by demonstrating the desired behaviours. Create a means for leaders to share values and behaviours with the next level down in the organisation. Then have the next layer of leaders to the same repeat that process until the whole organisation understands the desired behaviour and they have all agreed to how they will incorporate these behaviours within their team and with other stakeholders such as customers and suppliers.

Keep communicating about the steps of the roll-out plan – to all parts of the organisation – and create a feedback loop so that you know which behaviours are really being used, and which ones need more support.

5. Celebrate small wins

Share examples of how the values are working in different parts of the organisation and encourage teams to celebrate their own wins.

6. Recruit and onboard

Finally, allow the new culture to frame your recruitment process when you’re hiring new people. This will help ensure that new hires fit in well with the company and your new culture. And once they are hired, have an onboarding process that lets new hires know what the values are, what behaviours are encouraged and what behaviours are discouraged.

How to improve your organisational culture

At shooksvensen we specialise in helping organisations develop a culture where people and results thrive.  Click here to make an enquiry and speak to a member of our expert team.

Leadership Development

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