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Improving the Culture at Work

We can all agree, when companies start achieving success, they tend to forget how they got there. They remain focused on achieving even more success. But, who contributes to these successes? Dedicated happy employees who want to accomplish something for the company who gave them a chance to work for them and are committed to their company’s values and mission.

Employees are the backbone of the company. If employees are thriving, that means the company is flourishing as well. Coworkers are another type of family. Most people spend approximately 8 hours a day at work. Keeping employees happy means better results for the company all around. To retain top employees and attract new talent you need a workplace where employees are engaged, feel supported by management, and can collaborate with other departments.

More and more potential employees are considering an organization’s culture before even applying. It’s not just about the events organized, or the cool things available at the office, but the positive culture it promotes. Building a culture, lead by top-down and enforced by all levels in the organization, allows employees to be part of something great. Leading by example is the best practice.

We all remember what it was like to get our first job and how excited we are to work for a company. We also remember the disappointment when our expectations don’t match up with what we have heard or read about the company. I can say there has been several times where a recruiter (from an agency) has raved about an employer and the manager I would be reporting to, only to find out the opposite when I start the job. Some might ask, did you not get a feeling when you were doing the interview? Sometimes it is hard to get all the details during the interview. For example, while you wait in the reception area where you don’t see the rest of the employees and how they interact, or person interviewing you is putting on a show. Either way, the true colours show when you start working with an employer and the manager. Most of us have regretted a few jobs in the past, especially the ones where we left our current employment to seek better opportunity, only to find the grass wasn’t any greener.

Does your company culture need an overhaul? Here are some helpful suggestions.

Work Culture Audit

Work culture is the combination of the organization's core values and unwritten, unspoken norms. If there is a discrepancy between the stated values and enacted values your company will deteriorate. If you are noticing that your top talent keeps leaving, then it is time to audit the current culture.

As your company grows, the culture should grow as such. Having outdated cultures doesn’t provide any value-added benefits, no matter the structure of your company. The top people should pioneer culture and be modeled from the top.

Ideally you want a third party to evaluate your culture. If you don’t have the budget to get a third party to evaluate your work culture, another way is to appoint someone within the organization to hand out surveys and collect the responses.

When exploring your current work culture. You will be investigating the following:

  1. What does your organization promote the work culture to be? What are your actual core values and what is enforced?

  2. Ask employees what they think about the culture they are in and how it compares to the company’s values.

Understanding Current Culture

Once you have completed your audit you may proceed to the next step, which is understanding the different types of company culture and deciding where your company fits best. You will have to make a plan on how you will want to implement any changes to your organization’s culture as it will take time to develop. If one of your steps is to realign your core values, then that’s an important step to developing the culture you want.

Tips for Improving Your Organization’s Culture

Remember, change doesn’t happen over night. Changing your company’s culture will be time-consuming. Four things to remember when improving culture is to:

  1. Express to employees that their involvement is critical. Encourage employees to share their opinions.

  2. Ensure management's actions do not conflict with stated values. Employees will not be inspired if the leaders (founder, CEO, or other executives) are not "walking the walk".

  3. Align everything (department, initiatives, processes, etc.) to support company culture, and encourage employees to contribute to that culture through collaboration and innovation.

  4. Conduct intermittent (preferably annual) culture audits. Don’t wait until something immense happens.

Once you've improved your culture, the next challenge is to preserve it.

Tips for Preserving a Positive Company Culture

  1. When hiring your talent, ensure the potential hire is a good fit for your company’s culture, vice versa.

  2. Instead of focusing on qualifications, look at behaviours and soft skills as these are things that contribute to the culture of the organization.

  3. Be transparent to the candidate on your company’s culture. You can communicate this on your job posting and during the interview.

  4. Once you have acquired the candidate, you should encourage growth, leadership development and collaboration with all levels.

  5. Ensure regular communications with all employees, and ensure you enforce an open-door policy and not just claim to have an “open-door policy”.

We all want a healthy culture that contributes to the creation and accomplishment of the company’s visions and core values, as it attracts people to the company, as well as, it retains employees and focuses on employee engagement.

Culture is a very important element of your organization, your branding, and your people. It can either make you or break you.

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Stagecoach Payroll Solutions – “Your Canadian Payroll Solution”


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