How to Improve Your Company’s Culture [Get the Most Out of Your Team]

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Company culture takes time, attention, and initiative to get right. Human expectations and behaviors change over time. Even after establishing a positive culture, keeping the workforce aligned takes constant adjustment. It is imperative to treat culture not as a one-time shot, or even an annual consideration. Rather, it should be approached continuously, as a business strategy.

Culture is how your employees work together to accomplish the goals set out for your company, and ultimately the bottom line.

Though guided by formal policies, culture is also everything that happens in between. It’s how employees communicate on and offline, it’s how you recognize and reward each other, it’s how you sit together in the office.

Culture should align with and help you accomplish an explicit overarching business strategy. When you approach culture as a business strategy, employees will learn to work in accordance with what benefits the business, and do so happily. But how do you get there?

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Measure Culture as You Would ROI

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To harness and leverage culture as a business strategy, make targeted improvements and measure changes accordingly, rather than changing company-wide policies and wondering why employees don’t seem engaged. When company culture is applied not as an afterthought, but as an intentional strategy, your goals are more likely to be met.

Recognize Your Company’s Melting Pot of Cultures

 

Even small companies can have different cultures across teams. For enterprises of 5,000 or more, these types of divisions increase exponentially. It is easy to make the mistake of assuming a one-size-fits-all approach for cultural improvements is a good idea, and while there’s a foundational culture at every company, long term success depends on individual departments, locations and roles. Before you even begin to leverage the overall culture of your company, you must first recognize and embrace the smaller cultures.

Clarify Mission, Vision, and Larger Business Priorities

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A clearly articulated mission statement and vision is the hallmark of good leadership and a necessary step in securing buy-in from employees. In tandem with clarifying company visions, setting larger business priorities is the best way to go about delineating expectations and performance objectives, which sets a solid foundation for developing the culture environment desired.

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Evaluate Current Culture

To be sure that you aren’t spending time, resources, and energy addressing non-existent issues, identifying current strengths and weaknesses in your culture can help channel efforts towards achieving appropriate goals and articulated executable priorities.

Articulate Priorities and Select an Appropriate Culture Management Platform

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Objectives may vary from company to company, from prioritizing professional development opportunities to fostering better communication channels, to enabling employees to determine hours they work from an office or remote location, to performance incentives. The point is to articulate these priorities, select an appropriate culture management platform, and drive your bottom-line success. When company culture is considered a priority and approached with an intentional strategy, results are inevitable. However, it is important to realize that culture isn’t created in a day.

Aspects of your company’s culture will continue to shift with new talent, shifting business priorities and innovation. An approach that looks at your organization holistically and scales to adapt to ongoing changes is one that can contribute to the bottom line consistently boosting workplace productivity and satisfaction. Treat your company’s culture as an important part of your business strategy and you’ll immediately see the results.

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Greg Besner

Greg is the Founder and CEO of several companies and an adjunct professor at New York University Stern School of Business.

Greg is the Founder and CEO of CultureIQ, a software solution that helps companies better understand, manage and strengthen their organizational culture. Prior to launching CultureIQ, Greg was the CFO of SecondMarket Holdings.

Greg is an investor and Board member for numerous companies. Of note, he was an active investor and consultant for Zappos.com until the company’s sale to Amazon.com. Greg also serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations including the Willa’s Wish Foundation, Inc., The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, and the Young Presidents’ Organization (“YPO”) NJ Chapter.

Greg earned his M.B.A from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his B.A. from Rutgers University.