Having a ping pong table at the office doesn’t quite equal having a company culture, and neither does enforcing “Casual Friday” or “Fruit Juice Week”.
Without a purpose or end vision, these implementations may be nothing more than futile attempts at building a culture that isn’t really there. So how do you go about actually creating a culture in your community? Company culture expert Barry Phegan suggests two straightforward steps to kick-start the creation process yourself or with your leadership team.
Step 1: Decide the Culture That You Want
Identify Your Motivations
Start by having your end goals in mind. What kind of culture do you want your company to have? Recall a time when your hands were literally itching to start on a project, be it personal or work-related, and your mind was flooding with amazing ideas as you tried hopelessly to get some sleep. What was it that triggered that enthusiasm?
Was it a sense of camaraderie your team had in pursuit of a passionate goal, the possibility of recognition from a respected figure, knowledge that you had adequate resources, or all of them? Whatever they are, make a list of these thoughts and write them down, no matter how trivial you think the reasons are.
Take Twitter for example. Their passion and purpose lies in the simple expression of moments and ideas, and hence, “communicate fearlessly to build trust” is incorporated as one of their core values.
Describe Your Ideal Community
Afterward, whilst keeping the above list in mind, consider the qualities or ways of doing things that you want to see in your workplace. For example, an all-round productive and harmonious atmosphere, or an innovative environment where ideas are bounced off each other regardless of position.
Chances are, you’ll find that what motivates you is linked to what you want out of your ideal work environment, and the list of qualities you’ve just curated are your culture’s goals.
Step 2: Reinforce it with Your Actions
Show That You Mean It
Now that you have your objectives in mind, it’s time to put it into action. Let’s say one of the qualities you’ve decided your company culture should have is “to always be helpful and understanding towards one another”. What are some of the actions your team can take on an individual level to achieve this objective?
Begin brainstorming and list everything, big or small, that might help turn it into a cultural norm for your company – from sending an encouraging text to offering help to someone who seems to be overworked. Start small from actions within yourself, ensure consistency, and the wave of kindness will spread across workplace.
Recognise Effort and Commitment
It’s not just about yourself. When you see your employees displaying the type of behaviour consistent with your ideal company culture, recognise it by praising and rewarding them both publicly and personally.
Who said promotions and raises need to be based simply on quantifiable results and KPIs? By reinforcing the idea of what the company is all about, you can encourage others to do the same and eventually turn your goals on a piece of paper to a company culture you can be proud of.
It's all happening at Speak for Change 2018