A business’ fate is determined in large part by its culture. That culture is the internal architecture of an organization created by how people act, react, and interact with each other based on their attitudes, beliefs, and ambitions. It is determined by the leadership of the organization. In order for it to be developed and maintained, the leadership must commit to it and model it. If that is not done, the culture will develop inconsistently and often ends up as a disrespectful, unhappy workplace.
In the following portion of this article, I will outline both what can damage a business culture as well as how to build and maintain a culture for success.
The most poisonous business cultures are those in which aggression, neglect, disrespect, micromanagement, and a lack of appreciation are present. This approach leaves employees feeling unappreciated, unmotivated, uncomfortable, and lacking in the ability to do their job as they see fit. All of those feelings can lead to low achievement, low productivity, poor efficiency, many sick days, and high turnover. All of which cost the company dearly. In addition, it usually means, that in the end, the organization ends up with “disengaged bums in seats” who are stuck and only coming in to collect paychecks because they have family and other personal commitments they need to fulfill. The reason this happens is because all the motivated and valuable employees will have left for workplaces that are more engaging, challenging, and appreciative of what and how they can contribute.
When HR departments do exit interviews they usually find that most people do not leave due to money. Rather most leave because they feel disrespected, unappreciated, bored and because they did not get along with their manager or co-workers. If an organization has a high turnover rate, it is likely time to examine the culture and consider a change.
Instead, what you likely want to create is a culture that unites, engages, acknowledges, supports, and encourages employees to be the best that they can be. It should also be one that exemplifies teamwork, collaboration, and respect for everyone’s contribution to the aims, goals and core values of the organization.
A culture that is built principally around rewards just for individual or group performance pits individuals and teams against each other, often in ways that can create class systems, in-fighting, and divisive loyalties. The winners in these sorts of cultures find meaning in their rewards, while the rest are left wondering what the point is for them and their employer.
A passive, benign, unappreciative, and inert culture can make the business subject to the resultant confusion that occurs when each individual’s quirks, tendencies, and even potentially questionable morality and ethics are accommodated. Again, this sort of approach will cause people to feel disrespected, unappreciated, and unsupported, resulting in poor performance and outcomes.
The most successful business cultures that engage their people with support through the offering of training opportunities to improve the skills they have and also to gain new ones which could provide them with expanded duties and the possibility of advancement. This sends the message that management cares about their well-being and their accomplishments and is helping them to be the best that they can be. This approach sends a very different message, one that speaks to encouragement, emotional support and the possibility of a more ambitious outcome for each individual.
In addition, when management allows their teams the autonomy to do their jobs as they see fit as long as they meet the outlined criteria and timelines allow the individuals to feel empowered which increases their self-esteem and self-confidence, this, in turn, enhances their performance and creates feelings of self-motivation and innovation.
By consistently and intentionally conveying positivity and encouragement toward high performance as well as acknowledging the contributions that each employee makes to the team goals, you will be providing a set of unique and positive emotions which can greatly improve the workplace so that employees feel valued and appreciated. This generally results in a high happiness factor which greatly increases performance levels, productivity, efficiency, and creativity. In addition, you will get the added value, that happiness changes a person’s brain chemistry causing it to release more endorphins which not only give one a feeling of well-being but also enhance one’s immune system. Which means, that there will be less downtime and less turnover…..great money savers!
All in all, it is certainly up to the leadership of the organization to develop, commit to, and maintain the culture of the organization. When this approach is adopted, success, longevity and great happiness will be the reward for all connected to the organization.