The secret to improving connections between your people and your company culture begins with a simple task: take a moment and try to define it.
For some organizations, their company culture only exists as a reiterated mission statement: a broad, “kill-two-birds-with-one-stone” approach – it isn’t defined separately. For others, it’s the complete opposite: it’s a culture that’s truly alive, thriving and indicative of an engaged employee mindset.
Sure, the latter is an ideal place to be, but it’s not easy to get there overnight.
Confronting a Disengaged Company Culture
The perfect time to diagnose your company culture in-depth is before it starts to lack any real involvement or understanding. If you can’t even begin to define it, therein lies the issue! Make confronting the concerns you have your first priority.
Ask yourself (or your team) what your company’s goals or objectives are. How do the rest of the people in your organization fit into this equation? Are you looking to foster a positive learning environment? Maybe encourage the development of their levels of intrinsic motivation? Narrow down these questions or ideas you have to identify a need or problem area. After all, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Identifying the Right Culture for Your Company
Confrontation. Diagnosis. Problem area. It all sounds so negative! But once you’ve gotten past figuring out what might be wrong, you can focus all your energy into making it right. Based on your objectives and needs, come up with a strategic treatment plan to improve your culture. Medically speaking, treatments are intimidating. Instead, think of this plan as a menu of options to choose from, perfectly crafted for your organization and your people.
The following are some of the most prominent options available to connect your people with your culture. While these aren’t the only choices, there is a strength that stems from simplicity.
3 Powerfully Simple Ways to Connect Your People:
1. Improve Your Communications Strategy
Well-developed internal communication strategies are often times preached about rather than practiced. Convey your ideas, goals, concerns or objectives clearly and concisely. Be open to new forms of communication wherever possible and whenever time allows, whether it’s verbal, visual or even non-verbal, such as body language. Your people will appreciate and respond well to honest, genuine communication efforts that seek to inform and include them in the culture you’re cultivating.
2. Maintain Credibility
Follow through with what you’re communicating, otherwise it won’t be considered valid. This is especially important for “big-picture” thinkers who need to carry their ideas to full fruition. You lose credibility with your people when you don’t do what you say you’ll do, or when you do nothing at all.
3. Increase Employee Engagement
The means to increase employee engagement are endless. Build your engagement efforts around what your people value and ultimately, what your company values. Create an ongoing movement with experiences that immerse your people right into your culture. This could be a live event or brand experience that fosters collaboration and seeks to transform the members of your organization into brand advocates.
Where Company Culture is Transformative
At this point, a little inspiration always helps. Take a peek into what major brands are doing to make their culture meaningful and recognizable. The search engine experts at Google have crafted a culture that seems like a “small company with an informal atmosphere… where every employee is a hands-on contributor.” And when the Ford Motor company noticed they had too many separate focuses, they built the “One Ford” leadership model to unify the multiple brands and platforms they utilized.
Southwest Airlines merged communication and employee engagement together during their “Rally” tours, spanning across six cities. At each location, the members of Southwest Airlines had direct access to senior leaders to learn more about key company objectives.
These experiences allow the members of your organization to witness strong leadership while also giving them the ability to contribute to the success of the culture overall.
What a Meaningful Culture Reveals About Your Company to Your People
Can your company culture ever be cured of its weaknesses? When it comes to culture, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, let alone a universal solution.
BOTTOM LINE: Your company culture should reveal how you’re invested in your people – that you care about their well-being and growth. Identifying, fostering and maintaining a unified culture is a dynamic and continuous process. Your company will evolve, just like the people within it, so take a proactive approach. Be mindful of growing together.