Both business owners and employees desire a workplace culture that not only supports a rewarding work environment, but also encourages high performance. While this goal is ubiquitous, the management practices and leadership traits required to achieve this goal are not always understood or implemented with consistency.
Creating the right workplace culture for your company is not complex, but it does require discipline and changing old habits. This discipline requires company leadership to implement six management practices:
- Create a company vision shared by all.
- Develop an accountability chart (identify the right seats).
- Establish both performance and behavior expectations (match the right people to the right seats — You can do this with my Performance Culture 2 x 2 Employee Evaluation Matrix, which I’ll write about in a later column).
- Develop 90-day company plans (goals, company priorities and action plans).
- Facilitate weekly leadership meetings.
- Schedule team-building activities.
Implementing these six practices will reward high performers and team players. It will provide a workplace where expectations are known and employee contributions are appreciated. Customer service will improve (research has shown employees provide better customer service when they enjoy their work). Leaders will feel comfortable delegating tasks and not feel compelled to micro-manage. Your organization will be aligned with a common purpose. Candid communication will identify issues before major problems arise. And last, but not least, you will work less and the company will grow without your day-to-day operational involvement.
A Company Vision and Mission Shared by All
Your company vision and mission are the foundation of its core values and the cornerstone of your workplace culture. They establish focus, purpose and energy for your entire team. A strong vision and mission should address the following questions:
- Why would a customer purchase your product or service? (1a)Why is your company, product and service unique?
- Why would somebody work for you?
- Why would society allow you to operate in its defined geography?
- Why would somebody invest money in your company?
After you create your company vision and mission, you should share it with everyone and embed it in everything you do. As your company evolves, your vision should too. Each year when you prepare your annual plan, you should test the vision to make sure it’s still relevant and on target with the company’s direction. If you need to revise, do so and communicate the revisions with the “why” to your entire team.
To embed your company vision in your workplace culture, make sure:
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- The vision is communicated during the employee recruiting process and reinforced when the employee on-boards.
- Annual planning sessions begin with reviewing and testing the company vision.
- 90-day planning sessions compare the company’s performance to the company vision.
- Employee job descriptions and employee evaluations include the company vision.