Trying to create a winning business culture? It might not be as complicated as you think. Much has been written on the value of a great work culture and how it can support the goals of the business and maximize profitability. Companies that have bought into this are Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Google, and Edward Jones. They seem to be on the ‘best of’ lists all the time. It can be a significant differentiator from your competition and can create a competitive advantage for your company. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company named on Fortune 100’s best companies list? Imagine how much easier it would be to recruit and retain the best and the brightest talent. Yet it’s amazing how many businesses fail to make the long term investment needed to achieve this success. Many focus instead on slick marketing campaigns, reducing expenses such as rightsizing, implementing new technology and spending a wealth of resources on any of these and more. According to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People this is focusing on what’s urgent rather than what’s important. There is no harm in the short term, but in the long term, this is just firefighting and not getting to the crux of what will make you truly a company that will be touted by your existing employees and creating a line of applicants of the highly skilled waiting at the door. Here are 7 steps to get you started in the right direction to create a culture for which anyone would drool.
- Hire the right fit for the culture you are creating. This means being clear on what that culture is and even more importantly what it is not.
- Move the wrong ones off of the bus. This can be hard with long tenured staff who have provided much value in the past or are still contributing. Offering a severance package and signed release of claims allows them to leave the business with dignity and grace and giving them security for the short term.
- Start at the top with senior leaders and have well defined values that you hire and fire to.
- Hold others accountable to the values you have defined. Incorporate these into your HR and business practices.
- Start with your own team. Invest in them and help them become more effective as a unit. This is a great way to ignite other areas of the business once they have seen the positive change from within your group.
- Assess where you are and what needs to change. Conduct “stay interviews” to find out why your best and brightest stay and what they value in the current culture. They have their boots on the ground and will be able to give specifics about what needs changing.
- Develop an action plan and stay the course. Changing culture is not for the faint of heart. It takes perseverance but the rewards are plentiful.