Cultivate Corporate Culture

Shelley SmithBlog, Workplace Culture

Make Your

Vision vs. Reality

We’ve all heard the buzzwords surrounding today’s business and corporate company culture: empowerment, engagement, diversity/inclusion, retention (opposite of turnover), and succession planning (talent replacement, potential development, exit planning), and more.

What do these words really mean? Culture.

Culture exists in your company whether you’ve cultivated it intentionally or not, and it has a very important purpose, related directly to those buzzwords up top. A good, strong culture achieves many goals, including attracting qualified candidates for employment and highly-sought-after customers for partnerships.

A good culture is so pleasant that these desirable employees and customers will likely stick around for awhile, too.

In this post I take a deep dive with a past client of mine, ADS, Inc (Atlantic Diving Supply) in Virginia Beach and Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) in Newport News. We’ll take a look at consistent culture and how it relates to employee morale, satisfaction, and productivity. Click Here to read the interviews!

Culture Success = Company Success

Here are a few of the things both companies do regularly, which I have no doubt contributes directly to their continued success. Enjoy!

  • Listen: Annual opinion surveys administered by 3rd party consultants
    • The key is to walk the walk. It’s not enough to ask how you’re doing, feedback must be absorbed, acknowledged, researched, and implemented if appropriate.
    • When an employee feels they have no voice and no say in how their company is run, they begin to feel invisible, replaceable, and powerless. It is critical to empower employees with regards to decisions that directly affect their day-to-day responsibilities, roles, and lives.
  • Talk: Having real conversations with team members regularly
    • This approach not only gets things done, but it helps everyone in the company get to know everyone else, their purpose, goals, and responsibilities. Such camaraderie can only help workflow, as employees are much more likely to help and support a coworker with whom they feel a kinship.
    • This is another super-effective way to reinforce to your employees that they are not faceless, valueless drones, but real people with thoughts, opinions, and aspirations.
  • React: Good work is recognized and rewarded
    • If there is no difference when submitting mediocre work and exceptional work, then why would anyone continue putting forth the effort? Show your top-performers you see and appreciate their contributions, and reward them in some way. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire office of top-performers looking for your affirmation.
  • Improve: Leveling out means it’s time to level up
    • Companies that want to attract and retain top talent know they must invest in that talent. Even the knowledge of a freshly-graduated expert will soon be obsolete if there is no continuing education. Deliver training and develop new skills in employees with high potential, and they’ll be far more likely (and happy) to develop that potential with your company, rather than your competitor.
  • Commit: It’s a team effort, and if you’re not all in, it won’t work
    • Each member of the team, from every top-level executive down to the newest intern, must commit to the culture you’ve defined.
    • Clearly outline the mission, vision, values, and expectations on how to implement them.
    • Lead by example—your employees will be watching like a hawk to see whether you truly intend to empower, engage, and invest in them. If they see that management is not walking the walk, neither will they.
  • Give Back: Everyone loves to support an organization that supports others
    • By giving back to the community, a company shows that it cares about more than the bottom line.
    • In their free time, employees are more likely to talk about a job they are proud of. Wouldn’t it be great if they were boasting about how compassionate you are, instead of complaining about how the boss never listens to them?
  • Choose: Be the employer applicants choose
    • When you treat employees well, lead by example, and commit to culture and community, you’ll have more hopeful candidates than you could ever hire. Trust me.

Click Here to read my interviews with leadership at ADS and PAF!