The fact is that for most businesses organizational culture just happens. Everyone on the team is focused on growing the business and other day-to-day concerns, and before you know it, a culture has developed.
But is that what you really want? Structuring your organizational culture from the ground up should be the goal of every business. Our Employee Engagement Report found that work environment and culture is strongly correlated with employee satisfaction. When you think about what kind of culture you want to build, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions.
01. What is our current company culture?
Sit down and take a hard look at where your company stands. If you’re not happy with where you’re at, examine why that might be. What parts of your company are lagging behind? What are the day-to-day problems that might be having a negative impact? Talk to your team about what they see as strengths and weaknesses. Drawing some honest conclusions will help shape how to foster a new, better work culture.
02. What are our company’s values?
Your organizational culture should reflect your company’s values. For example, if your company values transparency, then your floor plan shouldn’t involve a lot of walls and big corner offices only for the higher-ups. If your company values collaboration, then you should evaluate team performance more than individual performance.
03. How do we communicate our vision for organizational culture?
O2E Brands CEO Brian Scudamore takes the idea of organizational culture so seriously that he fired all eleven of his employees so that he could build his company in an intentional way.
“People spend more than half their lives at work – it should be fun,” he wrote in Forbes. “At O2E Brands, we have a casual, open-office environment that enables interaction and collaboration.”
Of course, starting from scratch isn’t an option for many companies. But your words and actions demonstrate how serious you are about establishing a positive environment. To reinforce this, Scudamore put the phrase “It’s all about people” on the front entrance wall.
04. What kind of people do we want?
You may have a very strong, qualified candidate for a position. But you need to ask yourself if their personality is going to work well with the team and represent the company well.
Our research has demonstrated that employee satisfaction is correlated with peer satisfaction. If you don’t have people who fit well together, you don’t have a strong organizational culture.
05. How do we want our employees to grow?
A thriving work culture isn’t stagnant. Providing consistent professional development is key in any field. Offering new challenges at work is essential too. Establishing a structure that helps employees become better at their jobs and trains them in new skills ensures that the workplace remains dynamic. Employees who don’t feel challenged won’t grow — and will start looking for a new job.
One thing we’ve learned is that you should never underestimate the power of culture. Change won't happen overnight, but taking intentional steps toward shaping your company’s culture is a good way to improve employee engagement and satisfaction.