Having a strong culture can help with recruiting, hiring, retention, employee engagement, productivity and profits. How do you know if your organization is on the right track? Look for these signs.
People Want to Join Your Team
Most people can list off five companies known for their great corporate cultures. Zappos, Netflix, Southwest Airlines, Warby Parker and Google might be a few that come to mind. These organizations create the same buzz as a sold-out Broadway show. People want to work there, and it’s hard to get in. Southwest accepted less than two percent of applicants in 2015. How do candidates feel about joining your team? Excited or ho-hum?
Your Employees Believe Their Work Is Important
Author and organizational consultant, Simon Sinek explains this concept as Finding Your WHY? Your WHY is your company’s purpose, its cause, its belief. Sinek warns not to answer WHY? with What? or with How? For example, Apple makes phones. (This is a What?) They are beautifully designed and user-friendly. (This is a How?) However, Apple’s 1980 mission statement read, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” This is a WHY. How do your employees view their work? As meaningful and impactful? Or, as just a job?
You Have Clearly Defined Goals
As Daniel Coyle writes in his book, The Culture Code, “In order to move toward a target, you must first have a target. Listing your priorities, which means wrestling with the choices that define your identity, is the first step.” Positive cultures not only clarify their goals, but also effectively communicate them so everyone knows exactly what they are. If you ask any one of your employees, “What are the three most important things our company is working on right now?” could they tell you?
Your Employees Feel Safe
In 2012, Google’s People Analytics team decided to study why some teams click and some don’t. The initiative, code-named Project Aristotle, found personality types, skills or backgrounds didn’t make a difference. What did matter was psychological safety. Researcher Amy Edmondson defines this as, ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.” In strong cultures, group members don’t waste energy worrying about self-image, status or career. They trust and respect one another, so they are comfortable sharing ideas, taking risks, working toward common goals and being themselves. Are your workers willing to experiment with innovative ideas and push the envelope? Or, do they hold back because they are afraid of making mistakes?
Finally, an organization’s culture is a work in progress. If things are going well, cultivate that energy. If things aren’t going well, start making changes today.
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