A quick Google search on the importance of workplace culture yields over 102,000,000 results. TED talks, biographies and case studies all point to the importance of company culture, a term that (as we can see from the sheer number of Google results) millions have embraced. And while there are tons of resources out there, building a culture for success, however, is not a fake-it-till-you-make-it proposition. So what is it that makes a culture so successful?
Just like developing your leadership style, finding the true culture of an organization is a naturally developing and dynamic process. Cultivating a work-life balance or offering perks shouldn’t be used as a Band-Aid to cover up opportunities to make a genuine connection and find out what’s really important to people in your organization. At times, those opportunities may present themselves as challenges. But before you start trying to Google your way out of it, read these three keys to building an authentic culture for success at your site.
Create a place where people feel supported, inspired and engaged.
What do yoga rooms, flexible work schedules, and personalized feedback have in common? They’re all designed with the employee’s well-being and success in mind. Think back to the famous experiment about positive change and productivity conducted at the Hawthorne Works company in the 20s. It didn’t matter what changes were made or how they were implemented. Every time a variable was changed, productivity increased. Researchers determined that the actual changes were less important than the positive attention that the employees were receiving from the supervisors. People love knowing that you’re committed to and focused on them. Often, that’s enough to inspire them to do their best, because you think enough of them to invest in their well-being.
Create a place where people want to be because it feels good.
We spend a significant amount of our day at work, so it stands to reason that how we feel when we’re there has a marked impact on how we feel everywhere else. When people feel good at work, they’re likely to work harder, call out less, and be more invested in resolving challenges when they arrive. That has an important spillover effect for seasonal staff, who simply won’t return if they didn’t have a good experience for the last go-around. Aside from building camaraderie, it will reduce turnover, which will in turn cut costs and improve the productivity, happiness and overall skill level of your team.
Create a place where people grow and excel.
People don’t want to be recognized only when they’ve done something wrong. Make it a daily–and maybe even an hourly–habit to celebrate the wins, big and small. If you have a morning meeting, communicate the team goal and acknowledge (with genuine excitement and enthusiasm!) when it’s been met. Incentives are great, but be sure to also put effort into training programs and creating opportunities for motivated teammates and budding leaders to take on more responsibility and bigger challenges. There’s no need to create competitions—when people feel empowered and rewarded for doing their best, competitions are a natural by-product.
*Look for our upcoming article, “Creating Recognition Programs That Work.”
Above all, pay attention to your team and your leaders. Look at previous incentives to see what got results and what didn’t. Look for where your culture falls short and find ways to change it. Remember, building a culture for success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to help people find a genuine way of interacting, communicating and being together—but when they do, it’ll pay dividends.