Culture – I hear this word all the time. I hear it from my boss. I hear it from our prospective clients. I hear it from our current clients. I even hear it from my friends in casual conversations. My point is, in the current professional landscape, this word gets thrown around a lot. What is your company culture? How do you build a great company culture? Who cares?
Too often businesses get more caught up in the bottom line. The workload increases, the paycheck stagnates and apathy sets in. A toxic culture of “it’s not my job”, “that was so-and-so’s fault” or “I’m not paid enough to care” comes next. Employees do just enough to not get fired.
Building a culture that shows each employee they are valued – one centered on encouraging, celebrating, and supporting employees – naturally leads employees to create an atmosphere centered around your customer and around creating great, positive customer experiences. But how? How do we keep employees engaged and happy? How do we keep their productivity the same on Day 1000 as it was on Day 1? How do we build a positive culture?
Charles O’Reilly III, a professor of management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, says there are 4 pillars to building a sustainable, positive culture:
- Communication. Managers set the bar through their feedback and the kinds of messages they send through words and actions.
- Alignment. Team Leads or Managers show how what individual employees do affects the large organization. This is the building block of making the team member feel valued.
- Goals. Managers drive employees to positive behaviors by setting the bar for what kinds of behaviors get positive recognition or approval.
- Recognition. This is the follow-through component. By recognizing the behaviors we want employees to exhibit, we reinforce performance of those behaviors.
Notice what (or rather WHO) each pillar starts with? Leaders and managers play a vital role in building consistent positive behavior and driving employee engagement. Just as Gallup’s State of the American Workplace has shown over and over, managers must buy in to the process. When leaders and managers are invested, employees will be more productive, customers will be happier, and you will enjoy a business that will see growth and increased revenue.