What do you think is the similarity between shoes, coffee, airlines and a search engine? You’ll probably find the answer If you look more into the brands that represent these commodities or services: ZapposStarbucks,Virgin and Google
All of these companies have without a doubt achieved huge success with their businesses, but the common thread we’re looking for here is their ‘Company Culture’!
Yes, these companies are now a household name and are one of the top most revered and celebrated brands due to their ‘company culture’ – A culture that customers love to be associated with and employees take pride in. A culture that nurtures employees’ growth and builds meaningful relationships, and a culture that rides above the tides of adversities and disruptions with strong leadership.
‘Culture’ basically refers to a set of shared beliefs, values and practices. Frances Frei and Anne Morriss at Harvard Business Review define company culture as:
Culture guides discretionary behaviour and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”
If you dread going to work every day and are constantly checking to see if the clock has struck five, then either you’re at the wrong job or your workplace has a weak company culture that cannot sustain employee enthusiasm and happiness.
A culture that inspires employees to look forward to going to their jobs, to find joy in being with their coworkers and one that is designed to alleviate work-related challenges and stresses, is key to breeding an enthusiastic and engaged workforce.
An enthusiastic employee is a ‘happy’ one, an important trait that fuels more productivity in an organisation. Studies from Gallup claim that only 13% of employees around the globe are truly engaged with their work.
Other estimates say that unhappy workers are 10% less productive and happy workers are 12% more productive. That explains how Google’s productivity is always soaring above its competition – Their ‘Employee Happiness’ figure has increased by 37% percent!
What are the key characteristics required to build a great ‘company culture’ that breeds enthusiasm, engagement, happiness and productivity? Let’s explore below:
1. Culture In ‘Sync’ With ‘Core Values’
So, what's your ‘mission’ statement? Or your ‘vision’ statement? These are generally infused through your ‘core values’ which will in turn shape your company culture.
Would you like to foster a ‘work hard play hard’ mentality, or do you appreciate a much more relaxed yet engaged environment that brings the best in people? These attributes should reflect in everything your organisation does and how your employees behave, interact and grow in the workplace.
Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh was clear that the crucial values that would distinguish his company on the ‘service’ front was the ‘humility’ and ‘humanity’ traits portrayed by his employees. He took these attributes and carved it on the stone’ as the company’s 10 point list of “Zappos Family Values”. The company has been built around these ideas, which are now the core philosophies and guidelines of the organisation, when considering anything from hiring, marketing or growth strategies.
Such core values will always have the potential to drive your company and team forward and find inspiration and motivation to bring out the best in teams, even in challenging times.
2. Exceptional Leadership – ‘From Managers To Mentors’
As per Tim Rutledge’s book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, an employee who is truly engaged, cares about his work and the company, beyond the pay check or the quality of coffee in the office. Such workers will always put in the extra effort to make sure the job is done, and in the best possible manner.
This consistent surge of motivation and enthusiasm to perform at their best, can only be invoked via a culture that places exceptional leadership into every fabric of the organisation.
Today if there are 900 million ‘not engaged’ and 340 million ‘actively disengaged’ workers around the globe, then one primary reason could be they lack the motivation, the zeal and the purpose to give their best effort, which by the way rests highly on the Managers and team leaders, as they can play a pivotal role in harnessing these positive traits amongst their team members, or not. Victor Lipman rightly conveys this message in his book The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World, “People leave managers not companies”.
A leader who listen to his/her employees, mentors and encourages them at work, creates the right opportunities for them and appreciates and thanks them for their contribution, is most likely to build that trust and loyalty from his/her subordinates.
These are the leaders who are loved and respected because they put in the effort to transform themselves ‘From managers to mentors’, hence nurturing a remarkable ‘culture’ that thrives with positive, healthy relationships amongst its people, who are highly motivated and performing at their highest potential.
3. The ‘Fun’ Element
It goes without saying that we spent most of our waking hours at work, than at home. And if it’s all about work and productivity, then you’re bound to create a dull and boring office environment, with even bored employees, who can’t wait to go home.
A company culture which is based on the concept that there needs to be a good ‘work-life’ balance, and promotes fun activities within the office space, will breed a much relaxed, creative and engaged employees.
Whether it’s a fun-filled, two-day ‘end-of-the-quarter’ Strategic Planning Workshop at a nearby resort, regular celebrations of staff birthdays with cakes, an occasional potluck lunch gathering, or as Google would like it, huge slides that drop from the second floor, hurling bosses and employees running late for a meeting. Fun elements like these are crucial in adding that much needed respite from the drudgery of day to day work.
It sends a positive message to the teams as they will find work to be a rewarding experience. An ambience where they can bond, grow and make meaningful relationships with their peers and mentors, in a fun-filled manner!
The following is an infographic by SingleGrain that has great takeaways on Company Culture:
Leaders and CEOs who aspire to build a great company culture by instilling exceptional work ethics and values amongst the employees, should first be passionate enough to follow one’s own rules, only then the employees and mentees will be inspired to emulate the leaders!
If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email email@example.com
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