A company’s culture is defined by its values and vision. Management courses and case studies indicate that corporate culture can have an enormous impact on profitability and future viability. Since human nature resists change, the task of permanently improving a company’s culture is not an easy road. This fact should not stop a committed management team from pursuing these changes. The future profitability of the company may well rest on the success of this project, since the human element of any company ultimately controls the success of a business.
Assess the Current Company Culture
As easy as this task sounds, it can be difficult for managers or executives to fully comprehend their own company culture. Since the culture includes all employees, top management rarely gets a true picture of how the staff at the bottom feels and how motivated they are to reach corporate goals. Considering this workplace reality is crucial in formally assessing the current health of the culture.
By reaching out to employees and opening up communication channels through surveys and suggestion boxes, employees are provided some anonymity so they can provide honest feedback. Employees afraid of rocking the boat with supervisors or peers may not feel free to open up without some assurance that their remarks will remain confidential. One-on-one interviews is another way to gather important information about work ethic issues, challenges and morale.
Another excellent way to grasp current company culture is to review corporate communications. How are employees communicating with one another? Are they talking or sending emails? Are the emails formal or informal in tone? Is there any hostility and condescension present in emails? Are employees being acknowledged for work well done?
Start Change with the Leaders
In order to make changes that will last, it is important that key employees buy-in to the plan. Starting with executive management works well for getting the rest of the company committed to a new agenda. Clearly stating expectations for change and how it will better the company is the first step to making that change a reality. Being specific about key changes is recommended since it eliminates misunderstandings.
Managers must change their behavior if they expect subordinates to take them seriously. Since it is impossible to get everyone to buy in to change all at once, managers will need to select and nurture the influential members of the team first. Others will likely follow their lead once the group leaders start adapting to new company philosophies.
Rebuild the Staff to Shape the Desired Corporate Culture
It is easier to train a new employee on technical information than it is to change an existing employee’s personality. For this reason, it is crucial to hire employees that fit into the new company as team players. Letting go of negative employees that refuse to conform to new expectations is a necessary evil for the health of any business.
Reward Employees for Change
In order to achieve real change, the employees must know they have good reasons to commit to the effort required. Clearly identifying achievable goals and rewards is a great way to get employees motivated.
Flexible working schedules and attainable advancement opportunities are two excellent incentives that smart managers use to encourage desired behavior. By simply rewarding employees for meeting defined objectives and showing appreciation for their hard work, managers can eventually establish the corporate culture they want.