No matter how amazing your products or services are, a toxic company culture can create high turnover and low morale, ultimately disrupting business and causing clients and customers to look elsewhere to meet their needs. As an employer, you can be proactive and take steps to influence and reinforce a positive company culture before any negativity creeps in. If you’re already struggling with your company culture, these four steps will help you turn it around.
- Brainstorm a positive and inspiring set of company values. A great place to start is by looking at your company’s vision and/or mission statement and pull ideas from there. However, rather than focusing on financial goals, create a conversation you can have with your employees that centers around how their work impacts customers’ and clients’ daily lives as well as impacts on the local community, creating more of an emotional incentive to the job. Think about the ideal image you would like your clients and customers to have about your company and your employees as well as the type of language you would like to hear from your employees in regards to their work.
- Lead with the natural leaders. After you’ve developed your ideal company culture, start bringing your leaders and managers into the conversation. A study by Meliorate found that about 70% of all change initiatives fail, in most cases due to negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behavior. Go beyond using managers and supervisors to influence values and also include employees that already show outstanding values and act as role models within the company.
- Reward positivity and discourage negativity. Once you have a great set of change-influencers in place, you’ll start to see a difference between the employees who are happy to join in, and those who are resistant. Reward the employees who embrace the company values or go above and beyond them. Use negative behaviors and resistance as examples of what not do (redacting any employee information of course) to not only encourage all employees to strive to maintain the values you’ve set in place, but to help them encourage each other as well. A 2015 report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce found that 88% of Human Resources leaders felt that positive recognition was helpful in reinforcing common values – resulting in 90% employee engagement and 68% employee retention.
- Be consistent with feedback to reinforce values. As your company grows, you may hire more employees, or merge with another company, adding an entirely new culture that you’ll need to integrate into what you’ve already built. Peer recognition programs and positive reinforcement are essential in maintaining employee motivation and engagement, and consistent feedback and coaching can help remedy the negative behaviors that hinder your focus and values as your company grows. By keeping the conversation open with constant values-based feedback, you are giving employees the opportunity to grow alongside the company and creating an engaged and culture-minded workforce.
As you create your plan, keep in mind that you might not need a complete overhaul in order to have a major impact on your company’s culture. Sometimes, changing just one practice can mean a world of difference between employees who come to work for a paycheck, and those who live the company’s value on a daily basis.
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NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of their clients.