Start the year as you intend to finish
If you’ve spent the latter end of 2018 putting out fires and trying to keep the business running, then maintaining a positive corporate culture probably hasn’t been top of mind.
These 5 tips will help you refocus and reset your vision for the culture you want in place for 2019.
As we know, building a team and setting the right culture are essential in a successful business, helping attract and retain valuable employees and reinforcing your brand and company identity. In fact, your increasingly millennial workforce will likely expect a strong, positive work culture.
But all of that might sound like a distant dream at the end of the calendar year when you’re tired and worn down by the grind of decision making and staying profitable.
With a fresh year in your sights, it’s a good time to set aside some planning hours, rally the troops and inspire a commitment that has your people working enthusiastically toward business growth, not just doing as they’re told.
Here are five starting points for getting culture back on the agenda.
1. Get everyone together for an audit
Most businesses like to celebrate with a Christmas soiree, but what you might also consider is a ‘culture audit’ early in the new year, when staff are back from leave.
Whether it’s a day out of the office or a series of coffee-and-cake sessions, it’s an opportunity to re-visit your company culture – the shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that govern how your people are to behave – and see if they’re still relevant.
You can ask how employees are feeling about the business, get feedback on systems and processes, start to rough out ideas for 2019 and engage everyone in road-mapping.
2. Refresh leadership skills and/or develop new ones
Organisational culture usually starts with your founders’ or senior managers’ leadership style. And good leaders are constantly learning and reinventing themselves.
Turn your focus on yourself and seek feedback from people you trust. Work out where you’re excelling, where the gaps are in your leadership abilities and seek expert advice on how to plug them.
Ultimately you need to develop a leadership style that aligns with your workplace culture and inspires others.
3. Amp up your appreciation and recognition
Never assume your people know how valued they are.
Now might be the time to instigate a new system for recognising and communicating the talent, dedication and positive attitude of staff members.
That might include face-to-face thank yous from the CEO for a job well done, emails highlighting special achievements, or regular prize giving – even the smallest pats on the back can have untold feel-good power.
4. Create a feedback loop
Giving staff the ability to give feedback on their managers and the business not only makes for more engaged employees and better staff retention, but also makes for more profitable business units, according to Gallup research.
You’ll only know if your culture is healthy if your staff back it up; and your staff need to know they’re being heard and valued.
And rather than doing one annual employee satisfaction survey, the idea of a feedback loop has become more popular in recent years.
5. Consistently reinforce important ideas
It’s not enough to have a few meetings, agree on your values and then ignore them for 12 months.
You need to be reinforcing the culture year-round. One way is through traditions you set up – regular celebrations, a weekly morning tea, a daily huddle, maybe even a channel set up for sharing successes so people have concrete examples to aspire to.
A strong corporate culture needs to be nurtured by a management team that’s involved, that commits the requisite time, and that leads by example, all year round.
As you refocus and reset your culture for the year, make sure you also have the right insurances in place to protect your business as it evolves. For a broker that specialises in the needs of small businesses, visit Advisr.