Culture. What do we hear most from business owners and non-profit directors about this topic?
It’s usually one of these two statements:
We are going to create a great culture! OR
We are going to work hard at keeping our great culture as we grow.
And what is the biggest issue we see?
The disconnect between what you, the leader, thinks the culture is and what it REALLY is.
A great work environment with happy employees doing great work happily. It’s what everyone dreams of and many strive for. But it is not reality for many organizations. While their organizations’ websites may tout work/life balance, benefits, and even have videos of employees expounding on the amazing opportunities, check out Glassdoor or Yelp or Facebook to see what the employees really think. And yes, it’s not just the whiners and complainers in their midst.
As the leader, you want your company to be a great place to work, and heck, maybe even be recognized for it. So, how do you find out if your dream is reality? Collect and analyze the data. What? Yep, data is important and valuable even in the touchy-feely world of HR.
Gather information on a regular basis, see what is working and what is not and then, and this is very important, change what is broken and make it better.
Does this sound familiar? It’s the continuous improvement loop system. It’s been used successfully in manufacturing, development, support and even sales to improve the quality and cost of products and services, the customer experience, and the internal operations of businesses.
So, how do you apply it to your organization to ensure you have the positive culture you want?
- Create a feedback mechanism and gather information during the entire employee lifetime from the interview process to the exit interview. It can be as simple as a short survey of 10 or so questions.
- Review the data you have collected. Maybe it tells you that the majority of candidates love the process except for the fact they have to pay for their own parking when they interview in person at your downtown location. Your exit interviews tell you that while your amazing kitchen, stocked with upscale snacks, and the foosball tournaments were fun for employees, they are leaving because there is no career path, training assistance and the managers are not mentoring or providing any feedback.
- Now for the tough and tricky part of this process, make the changes. Invest time and money in management training and coach supervisors on how to mentor and communicate with their staff. Have your recruiting team research and implement a solution to the parking fiasco, or not. Maybe you decide that it’s not worth it, but then, make sure the recruiters communicate it to candidates up front.
Creating a positive and productive culture is basically about constant and continuous communication, now that is a lot of alliteration! If you want a good culture, dialogue with your employees. It works, I promise.
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.
2 Responses to “It Takes Constant, Continuous Communication to Create a Cool Culture”
Great advice and perspective on building and sustaining a high-performance culture. To your point, the data is essential for tracking the ebb and flow of the culture and making adjustments over time. What motivates one employee may not motivate another. Finding the right combination – -while avoiding flavors-of-the-month or fostering entitlement – is equally essential. It’s what I refer to as, Performance Chiropractics : )
Great article. Too many businesses take the approach of trying to convince their employees that the company has a great culture instead of listening to the employees to see what tweaks might improve the culture.