Research shows that during our lifetime we spend more than 13 years just working. Much more than we spend with friends, or going out, or traveling. The impact our job has on us is profound. Once we figured this out it became clear that company owners need to do more than simply provide people with a job. Actually, they need to do much more.
Once you have provided your employees with the bare necessities, such as tools to work with, tasks and duties, code of conduct and a snack bar, it is time to go deeper. The average person changes their job an astonishing 12 times in their lifetime. What does that mean? It means that employees have no problems changing jobs if they are not satisfied. And what is the main reason they leave?
Although some people leave due to salary issues, changes in their job tasks, relocation or wanting to focus on their families, all of those reasons are minor. When you list the biggest reasons why employees quit their jobs you will realize that it all comes down to culture. Relationship with the boss? Lousy teamwork? No room for growth? All of that is actually culture.
So, it is fairly obvious that if you want to engage hard-working, talented and proactive employees the first change that you need to implement is regarding culture. And we are more than willing to show you how.
Positive company culture starts with an open mind, tolerance, and inclusion
Where to begin? Well, start with the attitude you are showing, that daily translates into behavior. How open is your company? Do you promote and hire based on merit, or do you let bias take over? Do you show flexibility towards parents returning to work after a career break? How flexible are you with your employees that are still going to school? Are there any discrepancies between genders or races?
Take a big, hard look in the mirror and start from the prejudices that already exist in your company. Positivity starts with inclusion and has nowhere to grow when faced with discrimination. You will never lose a talented employee if they feel they can get far in your company solely based on merit.
Include your employees in the decision-making process
Once you start rebuilding – or even creating from scratch – the foundation of your company culture, you might make an honest mistake and forget to include your employees. Many companies don’t. The values, mission, promise and all other symbols of company culture are created by the top management, or sometimes even by an external party.
This means that employees get served with a finished product and they are required to obey the rules and guidelines they don’t necessarily connect with. Usually, this leads to employees mocking the fancy writing on the wall and following their own set of rules. In many cases, their culture is way better than the top management thought.
For example, your workers are maybe very connected and enjoy helping each other. But that isn’t reflected in the values because no one noticed and put it in writing. Praise your employees for their contributions and let them take part in the creation of your company culture. This way you will make sure that they respect it daily, and new employees will just join them.
Follow through with all the promises you make
If you want to foster a positive company culture, your employees need to trust you. Trust is extremely difficult to earn, and one bad move can completely tarnish it. There are many things you can do to improve your situation but in the end, it all comes down to the value of your word.
Whether you are leading a small team or all company employees will be looking at you for guidance and management, the promises you make (although you may not see it like that) will carry a lot of weight. The more promises you fulfill, the stronger their trust in you will be.
It is better to make fewer promises and follow through with each of them than to tell them what they want to hear and then fail to deliver. They will hold it against you, as they should. As you improve your own position, you can hold them accountable for the promises they make as well. Leading by example is the most effective approach you can take. That way a ripple effect will be created throughout the company and a very solid foundation for a positive culture will be created.
The most important thing you can do as a manager or a leader is to rely on your people – to tell you what they want, to keep you in check and to foster the culture they helped create. That way no one will even think about leaving.
By Michael Deane
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.