The most successful companies today project a positive, authentic company culture that is attractive to consumers. And employees today are looking for more than ‘just a job’. They expect some sort of validation that what they are doing is important, that they are making a difference in the world by working for your company.
If you have ignored your company’s culture so far – focusing instead on other things such as growing your market share and providing the best possible products and service – don’t worry. It’s not too late.
Here are five steps you can take beginning right now to transform your company’s culture into one that will be appealing to both your customers and your team members.
Step 1: Understand There Is Only One Google
When you think about a corporate culture, Google usually is the first thing that comes to mind. With its high-tech, Silicon Valley campus, modern Dublin office and its commitment to innovation, Google has become one of the most sought-after places to work in business today.
That didn’t happen by accident. Google CEO Jeff Bezos and other company directors have spent a lot of time and energy developing that type of fun, youthful and eminently appealing corporate brand and culture.
While there is a temptation to simply adopt the kind of culture that has made companies like Google and Apple successful, it’s not as easy as that. Adopting another company’s culture won’t ring true with either your customers or your employees. You are going to have to find your own way to your own genuine, authentic corporate culture.
Image Source: Peter Würmli, Camenzind Evolution
Step 2: Together Is Better
To take your company to the next level, it’s important that you actively seek out people who are going to challenge you. Not every great idea is going to spring from your brain. To achieve greatness, you need smart, idealistic people who share the same ultimate goals as you but who aren’t afraid to tell you that you are wrong once in a while.
If everybody in your company agreed on everything all the time, there could never be any true growth. You can share a passion without always agreeing on how to turn your dreams into reality.
Bringing on board people from different backgrounds and encouraging creativity are two of the fastest ways to build the trust and respect that are going to be critical to achieving your new company culture.
Step 3: Make the Hard Choices
It’s important that you show your team that you are loyal and committed to their success. But you have to balance that with the practical decisions that come with guiding your company to the next level.
Sometimes there are people within your organization who are great performers, but who are poisoning the well for everybody else by treating customers or coworkers poorly. When looking at the big picture, there’s more to long-term success than the short-term bottom line. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to part ways with a high performer who is bringing everybody else down in order to raise up the entire organization.
As the captain of your ship, sometimes you have to make the hard choices. It’s not going to be easy, but its part of the job.
Step 4: Weed Out the Bad Apples Quickly
When reinventing your company’s culture, it’s important that you only hold on to the people who are going to buy in to your vision.
If you are expanding, you are probably going to be bringing a lot of new people on board. While practically everybody will be on their best behavior during the first few weeks on a new job, eventually most people will let their true colors fly once they settle in and begin feeling more comfortable.
One way to get rid of the bad apples quickly before they can ruin your culture for everybody else is to implement a 60-day probationary period for all new hires. At the end of this period, you can assess both the performance and the attitude of your new hires so you can keep the ones who are going to advance your company and get rid of those who are going to hold you back.
Step 5: Be the Agent for Change
As the leader of your company, everybody will be looking for you to set the tone. If you aren’t projecting the culture you want every minute of every day, your team will pick up on that and won’t take it as seriously.
Consistency is the key to building the kind of buy-in you need to transform your company’s culture into something great. Make it your top priority every day to embrace and promote the culture you want and, eventually, you can convert your vision into a reality.