Culture is one of the most important things to consider in your company, whether its just getting going or already a successful market leader.
Why? Because people want to work for companies with positive strong cultures that are aligned with their personal values and beliefs. If yours isn’t, they will take their talents elsewhere, leaving you with critical skills gaps. Don’t forget, your failings are out there for all to see on sites such as Glassdoor.
First, assess where you are
If you are already aware that your company’s culture doesn’t attract new talent or motivate existing employees, then you are one step ahead. We’ve seen so many leaders fall into the trap of believing everything is great, because no-one has told them to their face that there is a problem! Even leaders who pride themselves on being open to feedback and learning, and may well be truly great leaders, need to go beyond day to day anecdotal evidence to measure their company’s culture.
So, how to go about changing culture? First, diagnose the problem with a simple employee survey. Don’t overcomplicate it, focus on the key questions you think are important to your employees, or the type of issues you have picked up from your regular feedback chats. Once you are armed with knowledge, you can start to take action.
Using the data, you can analyse what the key issues are. Don’t feel downhearted if your employees criticise or are negative about ideas or working practises close to your heart. If you have used anonymous feedback (which we recommend, to get a true picture of your employee’s feelings), it can leave you wondering who said what and why. Our advice is not to dwell on the negatives, but to address them constructively.
Fixing your culture
For example, say you have found out that people don’t have clear objectives and are not clear what they need to do to get a pay rise or get promoted. In that case, look at introducing development objectives into the performance review process. Find out more about setting up a performance management system that engages people here.
Spend time talking to your people. Make sure you communicate why you have done the engagement survey and what you hope to get out of it. More importantly, walk the walk. You can’t expect to do a couple of surveys and “fix” the problem. Nor can you “delegate” culture to your HR person, even if they have “culture” in their job title. (Although a good HR Director should be able to lead much of the communication and planning). You can use a beautiful and simple tool such as Air to automate many of the routine HR tasks connected with employee surveys and other administration, to help your HR lead focus on adding value.
If you as a leader don’t buy into the culture change you want, forget it. Nothing will change. If you want change, you need to change yourself first. Start by asking yourself why you are in business. What is your purpose, what do you really want to achieve in your life. From this all else will follow.
It takes time
A word of warning. One employee survey does not a fantastic culture make. It takes months, sometimes years, to change things that are the root cause of recurring issues. And very often, YOU will need to change first! This is hard, and you will need to be patient.
We have lots more fantastic ideas on our blog for easily introducing state of the art culture engagement practises from the top rated culture companies into your business, without the big company budget!
Find out more about our best ideas on building a fantastic company culture here.