In our last blog, we talked about how culture is so much more than fun throw pillows. It has to start from the very beginning and be lived and breathed by the people in an organization.
But what good is culture if there is no education on what it means? And how can you fix culture if its sentiment isn’t being measured?
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR CULTURE
As much as culture needs to be fluid, it also needs to be somewhat guided to keep everyone aligned. This doesn’t mean rigid training or brainwashing - it means ensuring that the definition of a company’s core values are readily available and understood. It also means there should be ongoing education on how those values affect what everyone is responsible for in their roles.
Employees need to understand that core values aren’t just pretty words that are nice to say out loud or plaster on the walls - they are the guiding principles to be considered with every step and every conversation. Core values should be tied into everything - whether it’s sales content, client presentations or internal communications.
In the contact center world, this can be put into action by weaving core values into employee rewards, recognitions and contests. These types of initiatives should be posted on intranets, highlighted on the company’s social media account and announced at company-wide town hall meetings. Engagement can be hard in an outsourced environment, so this is a way to keep everyone excited and closely connected to the culture.
Some example questions to ask when implementing initiatives based around culture:
- What do our core values mean to you?
- Who would you nominate as someone who lives out our core values?
- What core value really speaks to you in your role?
- How do our core values affect your every-day life at work?
IF IT’S BROKE, YOU GOTTA FIX IT
What good is culture, if you can’t measure it?
Employee-wide surveys should be sent out on a regular cadence to assess how culture is being perceived across the company. Companies that work closely with their partners, like contact centers, should send and evaluate client-specific surveys to ensure cultures are aligned.
Every company has its own style and goals when it comes to measuring their culture success, but the following 10 elements can be used as strong starting points. These metrics help to dig deep into whether or not the culture is resonating positively within a company.
Communication: Employees should feel comfortable communicating their thoughts and leadership should be effectively communicating important information to employees.
Are the current channels of communication effective in helping everyone in the company send, receive and understand information?
Innovation: Innovation is closely related to communication and is a factor to consider in things such as processes, behaviors and products.
Do you feel that you have the ability to move ideas through the organization? How open is your company to new ideas?
Agility: Agility is key to staying competitive in the market. Leadership might feel that they are adapting well to changes, but other employees might feel other effects.
How agile do you feel the company is? Do you feel negative or positive effects of this?
Wellness: Workplace wellness leads to happier and more productive employees.
How would you rate your overall physical and mental wellbeing at work?
Environment: Workplaces should be comfortable and productive environments. (This type of feedback usually provides some of the easiest things to improve quickly.)
How do you find the temperature in your workspace? Do you find your chair comfortable? Are you inspired by the decor?
Collaboration: Collaboration has many layers. For example, maybe the Marketing team works awesome together, but struggles to collaborate with other departments.
How do you feel your team collaborates with each other? How do you feel your department collaborates with X department?
Support: Employees should feel supported by the overall company, their manager and their coworkers. Digging into this metric exposes important trends in engagement.
How supported do you feel by the company? Does your manager support you? Do you feel supported by your peers?
Performance Focus: Everyone should have a clear understanding of what determines success in their role.
Do you feel like you have the tools and support to be successful in your role? Do you feel rewarded accordingly to your performance? Do you feel appreciated for the work you do?
Responsibility: Responsibility should be measured on a company-wide level. Normally, most people are eager to report back on their experience in this area.
Do you feel like you are held accountable for your actions and results? Do you feel that your boss is held accountable for their actions? Do you feel like you have the ability to make decisions regarding your work?
And most importantly...
Mission & Value Alignment: The easy part is creating a mission statement and core values. The harder part is measuring how employees understand and live by them.
Do you know what your company’s mission and values are? Do you understand them? Do you feel like leadership lives by these values?
So here’s what we’ve learned:
Culture is learned behavior. And at the end of the day, culture needs to start and end with leadership emulating and believing in the culture that they want the rest of the company to emulate.
Culture takes effort. Building and scaling culture within a growing company is not easy. It takes intentional focus, measurement and action. Focusing on maintaining a positive corporate culture ensures that every employee will find true value in their work - creating a ripple effect that will ultimately affect the bottom line.
Culture is forever. Organizational issues will come and go, but the culture is what people will remember about a company 100 years from now.
Read our thought paper to learn more about how companies can build and defend their culture, no matter how much they grow.