When it comes to culture, companies have to walk the walk and talk the talk.
HR professionals have all been there. A potential new employee comes in for an interview. Company representatives question the prospect and then ask if the candidate has any questions. With surety, the first question uttered will be about the company’s culture. The response has to be real and backed-up with proof.
In addition to the usual reasons (truthfulness, respect and ethics and so on), look at the current make up of the workforce for guidance. Companies are dealing with one that’s multigenerational; one that stretches from spectrum to spectrum in terms of what they want and need from their employers. Take Generation Z for instance. These workers are very confident and that bleeds into the way in which they approach the interview/hiring process. They will want to explore the office and talk to current employees. They are going to test what HR says about the culture.
Having said that, what constitutes an excellent company culture?
Company Culture Tips
An excellent company culture is:
- Richly Diverse – A company culture thrives on diversity. This doesn’t just push toward ethnic or gender diversity, though that is equally important. It must also embrace cognitive diversity; the different ways in which people perceive and digest information. Leaning on this allows for ideas to be evaluated from multiple angles and can reveal both the pros and cons of an action. A diverse company culture also looks at all dimensions of diversity including hiring or seeking employees from diverse backgrounds both personally and professionally. That may include, as an example, hiring a candidate with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Other examples include hiring more veterans or the formerly incarcerated. These present unique challenges, but given the right action plan, those issues can be overcome and the company can benefit.
- Innovative – A company culture must always look to the future. That means embracing innovation. Employees at all levels need to feel the freedom to posit ideas for consideration. And those ideas need to be thoroughly discussed and evaluated. That’s the key to innovation. Most employees just want their ideas considered. If it’s not an idea that is feasible or realistic, that’s fine. The importance lies in that the employee has a voice.
- Open to dissent – Speaking of employee voices, workers need to feel they can dissent from leadership. This doesn’t mean protest or rebel against a decision, but that their concerns will be heard and they will not see retaliation from sharing those ideas.
- Transparent – A company culture that embraces transparency will not, in most cases, fail. Why? In a transparent culture, everyone knows the important bits of information, but more importantly, they can take ownership of what’s happening. Employees who are proud to work for their employers ultimately take more ownership in the company’s destiny. They will be more engaged and will pour more energy into ensuring success than the average employee.
- Aligned with company brand – Employees and customers must see value in the brand which helps support the culture. It has to resonate with them. For HR, this might include a partnership with the company’s marketing or public relations department.
- Supported by all, especially leadership – If leaders don’t see value in or support the culture, expect the same from employees. Leaders have to actively engage in the culture and make it a staple in their normal operations. Lead by example. When the CEO cares… the employees care.
- Aligns with strategy and process – Think about this from a talent perspective. The culture needs to align with processes like hiring, compensation and benefits, development and hiring. And don’t forget about succession planning. How will the culture align in the future?
- Collaborative – This is a great way to instill the culture for your employees. Look at ways to encourage collaboration between teams of employees. This reinforces the idea that everyone is part of a much larger team.
- Feedback driven – Give employees regular feedback on performance. This will help in aligning their performance with the goals of the company. But don’t save this for a once-a-year event. Any time an employee or team makes progress toward the company’s goals and in doing so supports the culture, it’s time for some P.R.O.P.S. or Peer Recognition of Peer Success.
- Deliberate – Culture should be deliberate. It’s not something that just happens. Values must be known and supported, especially by leadership. Otherwise, the culture that is trying to be built will slowly pass into oblivion and the process will have to start all over again.
Benefits of an Excellent Company Culture
The tips listed above are just that, tips. If they’re not internalized and not used properly the company will not benefit. On the flip side, if those pieces are practiced well, companies will see some huge advantages.
For one, expect to see an improved environment. It will truly become a pleasant place to work. It’s pleasing socially and psychologically. If that’s the case, expect to see the quality of work improve. That means higher increases in productivity which leads to more business success.
By Mason Stevenson
Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com