We continue this month's theme this week around company culture. How can a company determine what their culture is; and if that culture does not align with a company’s goals and values, how can they change it?
Not every company has spelled out their mission & values, and hired, trained & promoted based on that vision. In fact, most company cultures develop on their own, usually mimicking the founders’ beliefs, but not always.
So if you have not yet flushed out what your goals and values are, you really should - especially if you are growing and hiring new employees. Next, take a step back to see if the culture that has already developed is in step with these goals and values.
How can you tell what your corporate culture is, and if it is a positive one? It is actually fairly simply. Just take a look around. How do your employees act when they’re on the job? Are there common behaviors – either good or bad? What does having this job mean to your employees, and would they go elsewhere if they had the chance? Culture is about how people interact with each other and function in a company when no one is watching them.
Whether your culture is collaborative, competitive, traditionally hierarchical or a horizontal structure, there are certain factors that need to be present for any type of corporate culture to remain positive and help your company grow. These factors are the ones you want to look at and improve first. So what are they?
Outlining your company’s purpose is not enough. Your employees have to also believe in it and feel that their work matters and impacts the success of the company. Just writing a few sentences about vision, mission and values is only the start. You need to reinforce those values every day, hire new recruits based on those values, and show everyone how following these values will help the company succeed.
Certainly if employees feel their work matters, it will help to engage them. However, they also need to feel empowered to make decisions regarding their role that allows them to do their work in the best way possible. Even in traditionally hierarchical companies, employees need to have some level of autonomy regarding how they do their work and how they interact with customers – whether they are internal or external customers.
Trust is absolutely critical in the workplace. As the business owner, you must demand trust from all employees and make it a company value. Employees shouldn’t worry about whether co-workers will have their backs on a project, or if management is really telling it like it is. This basic tenant is the foundation of a safe and worry-free work environment.
Continuous learning and improvement go hand in hand with purpose and engagement. If you want your employees to truly engage in their work and contribute as much as they can to the company, they need the tools to do so. Learning new skills will not only make each employee more valuable to you, but will give employees challenges to overcome that will keep them interested and enthusiastic about their job.
Corporate culture is not just a trendy buzzword that will go away when the next human resources movement comes around. You already have a corporate culture whether you like it or not. Make sure that it will move your company forward, not hold it down.
By Ann Condon, Marketing Manager
Ann Condon has been with Dion for 16 years, working in Dion’s Marketing and Business Development Department. Although this was her first position with a jewelry manufacturer, she has learned a lot over the years. Ann enjoys getting involved in “All Things Dion” from volunteering at the Dion Golf Tournament to being a part of the Dion Diamonds Relay for Life Team. She has quite a number of Dion event t-shirts to show for it!
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