How do you create a culture that engages, satisfies, and empowers employees and customers?
A positive company culture impacts every fibre of an organisation, increasing productivity and staff retention rates and reducing absenteeism.
A positive company culture impacts every fibre of an organisation, increasing productivity and staff retention rates and reducing absenteeism. When the culture is good, consumers benefit.
So, how do we create a positive culture?
Design the company purpose, vision, and values
Your organisation should have a well-designed company purpose statement describing how the company sees itself and the work it does. When constructing this inspirational statement, it is useful to think about why the company exists.
The vision provides the direction of the business and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It should inspire and motivate your people and give everyone something to aim for.
The unique set of values underpin everything you do. They give people an idea of your priorities and what is important to your company. They also give customers a feel for what it would be like to work with your organisation.
You should enlist all your employees to co-create all of the above because they will have to work by the values, work to achieve the purpose and vision, whilst contributing to your company culture. Therefore, they must actively be a part of creating and maintaining your new world. In return, you’ll get buy-in and, the chances are, they will love working with you.
Make sure your purpose, vision, and values inspire behaviours and run through everything you do
Often values are fairly obvious, such as honesty, and delivering high quality, but this doesn’t matter. What’s most important is they inspire the right behaviours. If you succeed in this then, naturally, your values will run through everything you do, instead of being just a collection of words that have been strung together and left to gather dust.
Every process and tool, the environment you work in, the business operations, and the way you deliver to your clients should all be connected to your values.
In addition, governance should work with you and compliment your values rather than block them. For example, if you’ve decided that giving people autonomy to make their own decisions is important, then the governance process shouldn’t dictate that they need approval from various people before they can buy a box of pens.
At Clarasys, we reward people for living out all of our values. Every quarter, we are each allocated the same number of bonus points. We can donate all or some of those points to colleagues who have helped us on projects. This aligns well with our ‘collaboration’ value. These bonus points aren’t worth a lot of money, but they are a great way for us to thank one another for living out our company values.
Collaboration is also written into our promotion process; consultants must illustrate how they work in a team to reach the next level at our company. This approach also helps us to stay true to our core values.
Tools that can create a positive employee experience
Focus on the types of levers you want to use to create a positive employee experience. It’s important that employees feel supported in their roles. At Clarasys, every member of the team has a coach who can offer guidance at work as well as provide a friendly ear for more personal issues. Setting clear expectations and goals gives staff something to aim for. A positive work environment in the form of flexible working opportunities, or recognition and reward programmes will also drive up employee experience. And investment in training will help a team to grow and offer individuals career mobility and diversity.
Test tools that will improve the employee experience
Once you’ve decided how you are going to improve the employee experience, don’t make a big bang by launching it overnight. Test one or two ideas discreetly, observe the reaction and learn. This agile approach allows you to tweak the idea, or not launch it all and start again. It also helps employees to feel valued and part of the process.
In the past, we have introduced new development tools with a subset of employees first. This enabled us to iron out some of the kinks and improve the processes before extending them across the business.
Regularly inspect and adapt
New initiatives that have been tested before a complete rollout are usually well-received and will often move the employee experience in the right direction. But it’s also important to regularly test the pulse of your team because time moves on and the environment around us shifts. The pandemic is a good example of this in practice.
At Clarasys, our people complete a short weekly pulse survey. We ask all our staff how it feels to be a member of the team at that moment. The survey is anonymous, and it gives us valuable information. It helps our people understand how they are feeling and encourages them to speak to their coach or a member of the People Partner team if they are feeling low.
We also have two company surveys a year where we focus on different aspects of the business. These are deliberate interventions so that we can get further feedback. And at every monthly company-wide meeting, there is an opportunity to ask anonymous questions. All these tools help us to continually improve and address things that come up around employee experience and culture.
But it’s important to remember that people will only be honest if they feel safe enough to do so.
Involve your team every step of the way
Finally, every company’s most valuable asset is its people. Without their commitment, any organisation will falter. Value people, get to know each person and help them play to their strengths. This helps people to feel like they are a significant member of the team, rather than just a number.