How to improve your company culture
Great culture vs toxic culture
I believe culture is one of the most important things your business should focus on but it is often neglected by leaders and staff alike.
Great culture leads to:
Shared goals and increased collaboration across departments
Increased revenue and profit
On the other hand, a toxic culture leads to:
Overworked and underappreciated employees
Misaligned goals and power struggles across departments
Reduced collaboration and innovation
High staff turnover
Missed opportunities to grow your business
As management consultant Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”!
How can you improve the culture at your company?
There are many ways to improve your company culture. Change is needed at all levels of the organization. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Lead by example. Treat employees as you’d like to be treated, with respect, trust and inclusivity.
Hire diverse teams. They are more likely to empathize with your diverse customer base and more likely to build a successful product/service that meets your customer’s needs.
Provide regular feedback. A manager's job is to coach and mentor their team. If their team wins so do they. Feedback should be given weekly, not just in a yearly performance review.
Give employees the ability to grow. This could be via training, cross-skilling, or a career path that has lots of steps. Appreciate that management isn’t for everyone and that your company will be healthier if you also offer a route that focuses on the mastery of a particular discipline.
Prioritize work that makes your employees’ lives better, such as automating manual tasks, so they can focus on more interesting work.
Provide reward and recognition. Baseline industry salaries every six months and then pay your teams what they’re worth. This will be far more effective than offering an incremental pay rise associated with a yearly performance review or a counteroffer when a team member resigns.
Don’t blame others when something goes wrong. Accept that failure is a part of all companies. Focus on resolving issues quickly, learning from mistakes and limiting the blast radius.
Align your business under a common set of goals. Over-communicate these, and when a conflict between departments arises resolve them as quickly as possible. A sale for the company should always take priority over a sale for a particular department.
Ensure that managers provide their teams with autonomy and “have their backs”. This approach creates a safe space and allows people to do their best work.
Build in slack time for your teams. When smart people are given time and space to work on things that are important to them, they tend to achieve great things.
Show off your company culture at the interview stage by challenging the status quo. Can you give the candidate feedback within 30 minutes of each interview? Can you make an offer after only one or two stages? Can you offer a high salary from the outset, rather than negotiating?
This is by no means an exhaustive list but is hopefully a good start at improving the culture at your company.