Building the best company culture for your organization often requires big changes. This can be a real challenge, especially in older, more established, and larger companies. That doesn’t make it impossible, though.
Instead, what it requires is a lot of hard work, perseverance, and resilience. If you don’t have those things to start off with, changing company culture probably isn’t for you.
If you really do want to build the best company culture for your organization though, read on…
Be honest with yourself
The first step to building the best company culture is the most uncomfortable one for any leader.
It’s time for some hard truths. What’s really not working for your company culture? Has it turned toxic? What are the signs?
- How is underrepresented talent treated in their own words?
- Do you have a diverse workforce?
- How productive are your employees?
- How much time do they spend off sick?
These are some questions that can work as jumping-off points to learning more about your culture. The most positive working environments are diverse, welcoming, productive, and lose fewer days to illness.
Get feedback (from current and exiting employees)
Getting feedback on your company culture can be incredibly enlightening. It’s especially helpful to hear from departing employees who’ve been burned or who are just brutally honest.
Many employees may feel uncomfortable being as upfront as you need them to be. Therefore, it’s important to be clear that there won’t be repercussions if they are honest—and make sure there aren’t!
Also, make sure that, if you get feedback through a survey, it doesn’t go to someone’s line manager. It should go straight to you or HR.
If someone has issues with their line manager’s behavior, it’s a sign of a toxic culture. However, they won’t feel they can be honest about that behavior if they’re sending the feedback directly to their manager.
This weird system also creates more work for already busy line managers.
Explore what others are doing
Talking to other business owners and seeing what they’re doing to build the best company culture for themselves can give you insight into how to create the type of culture you really want.
Many businesses with a positive culture are open about it and share information on how to replicate it.
HubSpot is a great example. They talk about their company culture on their blog, social media, and even on podcast interviews.
Make a statement
To show people you’re really serious about building the best company culture, it’s important to make a statement. What do you feel is wrong? What needs to change?
Most importantly, how do you plan to change it?
This last question is the step that many miss. Or, they bring in some expensive consultant who doesn’t really do much other than eat into their budget.
Politicians often make promises during elections to win votes, but they really don’t intend to implement the things they’re promising. Then, those promises end up not happening and voters turn against them.
Don’t let that happen in your business—have a clear plan for what changes you want to make, how, and when. You’ll get far more respect from people inside, and outside, of the business if you have these steps in place before you make a statement.
Or, if you need to say something ASAP, you could make a statement about changing things and apologizing for toxicity in the workplace. Then, invite feedback to help you form your plan, which you can announce in a future statement.
Create new guidelines
Having clear guidelines that map out your new approach shows everyone what’s expected of them going forward and gives them a reference point.
Making it as accessible as possible with lots of headings and short paragraphs is key. You could even create a quick summary video for those who process things in a more visual or auditory way.
Set an example
Saying you’ll do things is all very well and good, but it’s important that you set an example. You need to be the one to follow your new guidelines first and foremost. If you don’t follow them, why should anybody else?
Hire new employees based on the culture you want, not what you have
This is why having new guidelines and setting an example is so important. It will help hiring managers to see what your business goals are and how they can help drive them.
If you want the best company culture, you have to engage the people who can help you implement change. This may mean bringing in new managers, as they’ll have a bigger influence over employees’ daily activities.
Once they’re in place, you need employees who want to work in a positive environment and can help foster it. They’re going to be the ones dealing with your customers every day. This means they need to be the ones with the right mindset and approach for things to really improve.
Learn from your mistakes
Far too many people are afraid to own up to their mistakes, let alone learn from them. And that can lead to the demise of any business.
When you own up to your mistakes, you come across as relatable. Only if you know what you did wrong, admit to it, and plan to change things going forward, though.
Shifting the blame, or hiding from accountability, is not learning from your mistakes. It’s unhealthy, unfair, and can negatively impact brand trust, internally and externally.
Building the best company culture is a real challenge, but it’s an important part of modernizing a business. This is especially true for ones that may be more uncomfortable operating digitally, or that have developed a toxic work environment from hiring the wrong people for too long.
To change your business’s culture, it starts with finding out what the problem is. Speaking to your employees, particularly those who are paid the least or are part of an underrepresented group, will help you to see where the problems are and get suggestions on how to improve things.
Then, you can begin setting an example, detailing what you’d like to change and how you plan to change it.
Another important part of building the best company culture is creating a thriving ecosystem of employee groups, programs, and events, and putting them front and center for team members. Employees today want more than just a job, so make it easy for your people to access learning and development opportunities, social impact activities, affinity groups and clubs, and much more with Workrowd.
Our one-stop shop offers tools to get your culture on track, plus customizable, real-time analytics to keep it there. Drop by our site to learn more, or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to connect.