16 Tips To Rock Corporate Culture
Let’s face it, regardless of how much you pay your employees, engaging and motivating them is always a challenge. It is for this very reason that corporate culture has become the top issue on the minds of CEOs worldwide.
There are plenty of ways to motivate your employees, even the ones earning lower wages. With the right approach, you can boost morale, increase productivity, reduce turnover, and improve overall employee satisfaction. The trick is to understand what makes your employees tick, then create a culture that caters to those needs. (Oh, and it’s usually not financial benefits.)
Here are some tips to start creating a high-performance culture that fulfills the non-monetary desires your employees have in your work environment.
Empowering Employees for Success
- Power vs empowerment: In order to survive and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace, progressive organizations have begun looking at corporate culture in new ways. Old habits like making excessive rules and micromanaging– rooted in a lack of trust– are giving way to a new leadership paradigm based on respect, where core values and high standards empower and inspire employees to go above and beyond. Today’s top leaders recognize that empowered employees are more productive and loyal to the company’s overall mission.
- Create a fun working environment: We have all worked in a place where we are constantly looking at the clock, and can’t wait for the day to end. The first rule of business success is…fun! Without fun, there is no commitment, enthusiasm, or energy for the hard work at hand. As a business owner, you want to create an environment where people enjoy themselves while still working hard. Organizing softball teams, bowling leagues, and other activities encourage employees to socialize after work hours. Not only will your people build relationships with their coworkers, but it will contribute to teamwork and collaboration on the job as well. This will bring out the best in your employees, and your customers will enjoy it too!
- Make employees feel like key players: When employees don’t feel they are making a significant contribution, they become deflated and lose motivation. It’s critical to upgrade employee attitudes by treating them as part of something bigger and more important. Try to instill a feeling that they are part of an exceptional group working for an exceptional operation. Remind them frequently about your “mission”, “ core values” and what makes your business special. And about their important role in making and keeping it special. Treat them as key contributors to the company’s future success.
- Pile on the praise: Recognize and incentivize your employees often, continually reinforcing the attitudes, behaviors, and results you want to promote. Employees love positive feedback; it lets them know how they are doing. When employees feel valued they give more discretionary energy– that extra effort that people voluntarily invest in their work.
- Treat people with respect: Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. What you say, how you say it, your facial expressions, all your interactions should convey a message of “I care.” Your goal should be to always demonstrate your appreciation for each person’s unique value, no matter how well an employee is performing in their current task. Recognizing birthdays and anniversaries always helps to acknowledge the intrinsic value of each individual.
- The power of “Thank You”: Research from the Wharton School of Business confirms what most of us already know, which is that simply saying “Thank You” is a powerful way to engage and motivate staff.
- Communicate frequently: Nothing discourages workers more than being kept in the dark, especially when changes might be coming. Communicate regularly, and be transparent. Talk about operational goals, share news, discuss business developments, and keep your staff apprised of imminent changes. Good news or bad, open communication makes workers feel valued and part of a team. It allows them to share their own insights, concerns, and ideas with management– all critical components of a high-performance culture.
- Focus on intrinsic rewards: Research shows that intrinsic rewards can be just as motivational as money. Key intrinsic motivators are a sense of choice, purpose, and meaning, competence, growth, and progress. Make sure your staff gets to experience the impact of what they do for the business. Create a sense of social significance around their work. Also, give staff some choices around how they work. Brand the job using carefully-chosen words, and turn it from a job….into a profession! Turn employees….into leaders!
- Show employees a little flexibility: Employees want flexibility, and progressive companies are working hard to deliver this benefit in their work environment. Whether it’s virtual workplaces or flexible scheduling, work-life flexibility is a trend that’s here to stay. A great way to motivate low-wage workers is by giving them limited autonomy in scheduling. Try to accommodate them as much as possible. By giving employees flexibility and choice, you demonstrate you really care and appreciate them.
- Run competitions, contests, raffles, and leaderboards: A healthy sense of competition or some gamification can be a great way to motivate people without money. You can put up a simple leaderboard and pitch teams against each other in terms of productivity or quality. Various gamification strategies can create a fun environment, boosting morale, improving productivity, and increasing teamwork and collaboration. Just make sure everyone wins at least some of the time.
- Be good, do good: Prospective and current employees care about your reputation as a company. This reputation encompasses your employer brand plus your company’s social responsibility efforts such as corporate giving, volunteerism, and sustainability. People want to be part of a larger mission….they want to find meaning and purpose in their work. Incorporating social responsibility as a core value is the right thing to do– and it’s good business!
- Help employees look to the stars: All employees look forward to a bright future. However, motivation may be a challenge for low-wage workers when financial incentives are few and far between. In this case, ambition and career progression can serve as key staff motivators. It’s important to make career progression, development, and training key parts of the low-wage worker’s consciousness. Celebrate employees who came in at the bottom and worked their way up to a higher paid role. Career paths within your operation should be well established and clear, listing necessary experience, skill sets, and required qualities. If you can, create new job levels or badges to reward achievement within each job band.
- Promote from within: Employees need to see the end game. They want to know, is this an organization where I can learn, grow, develop, and reach my unique potential? Is there an opportunity for advancement? Helping employees grow is critical to creating a vibrant workforce. Minimum-wage workers also need to see an opportunity for advancement. By promoting your best minimum-wage workers to positions of greater responsibility and authority, you motivate your entire staff.
- Promote personal and professional growth: Talent development is a critical component of high-performance cultures. Progressive organizations know that to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace you need to develop talent because you can’t always hire it. Educational benefits, training, and internal promotions are good for both employees and their organizations.
- Deliver effective training: Research shows that in some industries, attrition is greatest the first week on the job. When people are ill-equipped to perform the tasks required, they feel inadequate and are more likely to leave. Train up front, and when you do train, make it count. Deliver the best, most effective training possible, and couple it with an on-the-job mentoring program. Effectively training employees before assigning them vital tasks boosts morale, builds confidence, increases job satisfaction, and ultimately reduces turnover.
- Hire the best: Making smart hiring decisions is crucial to building a high-quality workforce. Taking the time upfront to determine the skills a job requires, and the personality or attitude you want from an employee will pay large dividends in the end. Use your mission and core values as a guide to ensure the person you hire is aligned with your organization’s short and long-term objectives.
Rock Your Culture
With these tips in mind, you are well on your way to creating a high-performance culture. Remember, your culture is what makes your company unique! It’s your DNA, your corporate personality…..it’s simply what makes you tick.
You will never regret investing in your workplace culture. The goodwill that you create with your employees will inevitably spill over into your company’s overall success. Happy and motivated employees pass that energy on to your customers. So rock your culture….your employees and customers will thank you!