It’s no secret that company culture is essential. Scott Tillery, a Continuous Improvement Engineer from Liberty Township, Ohio, believes that It’s one of the most crucial aspects of a business. A thriving culture can make employees feel appreciated and motivated, while a harmful or toxic culture can have the opposite effect. While many factors contribute to a company’s culture, everyone can influence it. This includes executives and entry-level employees working in different departments or on entirely other teams.
What is Company Culture?
Before we get too caught up in building a company culture, let’s first define it. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture is defined as “the way of life including thought, speech, action and material objects characteristic of a particular group of people at a particular time.”
If you’re looking for an easier way to remember this definition, think of the word ‘lifestyle.’ Company culture is the lifestyle of a business. It’s how people interact and communicate within their department or attempt to communicate across departments.
What is Company Culture Made Up Of?
Just as every company has a unique culture, every company also has a fantastic set of cultural elements. Scott Tillery feels that there are four overarching aspects of the company culture that can be found in just about any organization: dedication, communication, recognition, and involvement. These pieces work to create an energized place for employees to thrive and grow throughout their careers with you as their employer.
One reason why culture is vital in today’s business world is that employers are finding it harder and harder to recruit top talent due to job satisfaction. A recent survey by LinkedIn revealed that more than half (51%)of millennials would like to leave their current jobs due to unmet expectations or lack of enthusiasm.
So how do you go about building a thriving workplace culture from scratch? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Focus On Building Relationships
A business can run smoothly with the help of processes, but even the best structure will fall apart without solid relationships. Scott Tillery believes that good relationships are just as important to company culture as they are for your personal life.
With that being said, you must take the time to get to know everyone on your team—especially those who work closely with you. The more relationships you can build in the workplace, the better. Connect with and learn from your team!
Being approachable is an excellent leadership quality. Although it may feel risky initially, building these personal relationships can improve company culture.
Focus On Feedback
Good feedback increases performance while bad feedback decreases. Leverage the relationships made through building a thriving culture by giving blanced feedback-we all want to know how we are doing! If someone at work does something well, tell them! If you see that a project is coming along nicely or that someone is going above and beyond their job duties, let them know!
It may be uncomfortable at first to give feedback, but as a leader it is our responsibility to develop our employees and this is one of the ways to do just that. It is important to give positive or constructive feedback using examples and facts. Everyone wants to do a good job and appreciate your input as long as it’s valid, fair, and sincere.
Respect Differences In Opinion
In the tech industry, where leading-edge projects are often developed in startup environments with small teams, new company cultures have emerged centered on creativity and innovation. Scott Tillery feels that one of the most critical factors in creating the right culture for these businesses is encouraging respect for differences of opinion. A critical part of a thriving culture is creating a safe place for employees to be vulnerable and comfortably share ideas-especially those who truly do the front-line work.
However, this can be difficult when specific project outcomes are critical to the company or its operation. This is why everyone in your organization should have an opportunity to share their thoughts and listen as passionately as they want to be heard- acknowledge the value of different points of view. All people and ideas are valuable. Everyone has an equal voice in the company, even if their opinion isn’t popular. Without other ideas, processes suffer, and projects outcomes are less effective.
Give Employees Space to Create and Learn From Mistakes
For entrepreneurs, being creative and learning from mistakes are two of the most valuable qualities you can have. Applying what you learn is the essence of continuous improvement. Learning is one of the fastest forms of growth—both personal and professional—and should be encouraged in all aspects of your company. Scott Tillery believes that the same goes for creating new ideas. It’s okay if employees don’t always have the correct answer because that means they’re asking questions and feeling safe to do so. Questions are how learning happens, so encourage your team to ask as many as needed.
Promote Responsibility Sharing
Getting things done at work requires more than just individual effort; it also needs buy-in from everyone on the team, regardless of their role or level. So once everyone affected has a voice in the outcome and once decisions are made on a path to move forward, the team agrees to moves forward together. The first step to ensuring a high level of responsibility sharing is to create a sense of ownership within your employees. If they feel responsible for specific tasks, they’ll be more likely to make sure those tasks are completed.
Prioritize Leadership Development
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to have a vision of the company while clearly understanding what your employees want from their careers. It’s also about understanding how they can grow and develop personally and professionally throughout their time with the company.
This may sound not easy but it’s worth it! Many tools are available for new managers to develop leadership development. Simple things like holding regular one-on-one sessions, developing training and/or mentoring programs, being an effective teacher and coach as a leader, and being clear of key performance indicators and expectations with team members will help create a healthy work environment for everyone.
Define Core Values and Turn Them Into Actions
Company culture is all about what you do and how you act. The key to creating a good working environment comes from giving your employees a voice and creating a safe place for employees to share ideas and provide resources to make them actionable, defining your core values and living by them. This involves setting fair standards for performance and productivity, rewarding those who go above and beyond, fostering creativity and innovation, and giving everyone a voice in their work.
It can take some time to build a thriving work culture that works for your employees, but the more involved you and your team are with the direction of your company, the better it will turn out in the end. By building trust and respecting each other’s ideas, everyone will feel comfortable being themselves while achieving success together.
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