Modern companies face the challenge of establishing a company culture conducive to facilitating their goals and values. Sometimes this endeavor feels like balancing on a tightrope. On the one hand, company culture should be intentional. But on the other, it’s impossible to force a certain culture into existence by willpower alone.
Actively shaping company culture comes down to setting top-down intentionality and helping employees put these principles into action on a daily basis. Here are four strategies for doing so.
Make Your Goals Transparent and Accessible
It may seem like stating the obvious, but first, a company has to make its goals transparent and accessible to all. Unless employees understand your objectives—and can refer back to them as needed—they will have a difficult time putting them into action. As Inc. points out, many companies inadvertently neglect to clearly and effectively convey their business priorities. This type of miscommunication allows company culture to get lost in translation between leadership and other employees—ultimately making it a moot point.
It’s important to reinforce company goals verbally and in writing. Post them electronically where employees can access them anytime, perhaps a shared workflow tool or portal. Incorporate them into meetings. Reinforce the connection between action items and overarching goals. This will help bring your culture to life.
Strengthen Your Human Resources Department
The human resources (HR) department plays a significant role in shaping organizational culture. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, one major way HR influences company culture is by developing training programs “that outline and reinforce the organization’s core values” while also ensuring “appropriate rewards and recognition go to employees who truly embody the values.”
There’s also the matter of hiring people who will fit and grow a company’s culture in the first place. In this regard, HR acts as somewhat of a gatekeeper. Make sure your hiring process helps your company “put its money where its mouth is,” so to speak. That is, make sure candidates are aware of your company culture before extending any offers. Consider how candidates’ attributes will help strengthen the fabric of your organizational culture. Only then can you assemble a winning team.
Make Each All-Hands Meeting Count
All-hands meetings are a tangible manifestation of your company’s culture in the sense that they allow participants to share energy and collaborate. What makes an all-hands meeting highly effective regarding culture building? Truly employee-centric all-hands meetings are interactive—allowing anyone within the company to ask questions and provide anonymous feedback. Opening up a two-way dialogue helps everyone get on the same page so that you can move ahead together as a cooperative unit rather than many individuals.
Incorporate audience response technology as needed so leaders can collect instant feedback and respond accordingly. This collaboration will go a long way in building an inclusive culture.
Redefine Your Relationship to Innovation
Innovation does not happen overnight. Nor does it happen perfectly the first time. So, why do so many companies claim to value innovation while remaining risk-averse? Some even go so far as to punish failure, which only encourages employees to stop pushing the envelope when it counts. If innovation is a foundational pillar of your company culture, then you have to adjust your relationship to this concept. Innovating means accepting that sometimes, the result will be a failure. But that should not stop companies from striving. Rather, it can serve as a learning opportunity for refining future action.
These four strategies for actively shaping company culture will help you define your strategy, and, more importantly, practice what you preach. The result? A better working environment and business outcomes.
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