A Strong Corporate Culture Is Important, Now More Than Ever
David Leithead, COO, Morgan McKinley, outlines issues that you need to consider when setting and maintaining your company culture in 2021 as well as 6 steps that can be taken in putting this plan into action.
When a crisis happens, and times are tough it can be easy to lose focus on the importance of supporting and growing a strong corporate culture. As we start the new year – and with working patterns still disrupted - it is important to refocus on the vision you have for the company, strong communication channels, embracing the new working environment and encouraging innovation and autonomy in what looks to be another year of disruption.
Beyond employee wellbeing, company culture has also been shown to have a tremendous effect on companies' financial performances. Managing workplace culture is a critical business function nowadays and in summary, a strong and positive workplace culture is believed to:
- Promote innovation within teams
- Enhance a firm’s reputation by creating a positive public perception
- Help with the attraction and retention of highly qualified talent
- Reduce the risk of misconduct from employees
Key issues to consider in maintaining company culture in tough times
Quite often, simple human actions can really help keep morale high and ensure that the true spirit of your business carries on breathing throughout your teams.
- Let your employees have a voice - Never assume you know how they are feeling or what they need. Encourage them to tell you and really listen to what they say. This will show them that you care for their interests and will increase the trust they have for you as their leaders.
- Honesty is always the best policy - Being transparent is crucial. Even when things are bad and people are more sensitive to what’s happening, your teams have the right to know what’s going on. Let them know that: “We’re all in this together.”
- Show that you’re controlling what you can - When so many external factors influence the situation, it can be easy to park all the blame on them and claim it’s out of your control. Whilst this may be the case, you should still focus on what you can control like the tone of the working environment and the tasks each employee should be completing. This will massively ease the concerns your workforce may have.
- Release your creativity - Too many businesses jump to careless changes as a quick fix when their situation needs salvaging. Instead of making wholesale changes to your culture, be thoughtful and come up with creative solutions to preserve the spirit of your organisation.
- Show your support for employees - Supporting the wellbeing of employees is an important aspect of management in any organisation at any time, but it is especially key in difficult times when individuals will all have unique worries and concerns. Showing you care instils a level of trust which will permeate the whole business.
- Regular communication - Above all else, making regular contact with your employees is integral to maintaining a strong corporate culture. If a large portion of your workforce is working remotely, avoid long emails - why not give updates via company wide conference calls or post video updates on your intranet? Having a real person delivering the information is much nicer and easier to digest than reading through an email which can be deemed as soulless!
In short, these considerations are common sense and you really should be thinking in this way already. But when the situation is difficult, a rush of blood to the head and rash decisions occur more often than you may think.
6 simple steps you can take
How exactly do you go about developing a good corporate culture or improving your existing company culture?
- Establish regular work processes: Employees should share their work processes for specific tasks to establish a common way of working, saving time, conflict and questions.
- Focus on people, not profit: Culture must have a clear purpose that is communicated to everyone; leaders must follow the company culture passionately.
- Develop what already exists: Stay true to your business values, don’t try and force a culture based on a misguided perception of what you want it to be.
- Communicate your culture: Guidelines which unpack core values reinforce corporate culture across the workforce and suggest how employees should act.
- Reward those who help others: Create a culture where common values of caring and sharing are not just words, but actions.
- Foster social connections: A sense of social connectedness at work boosts employee satisfaction and increases engagement with tasks.
A positive culture will reduce the risk of misconduct, promote innovation within teams, enhance reputations, as well as helping with attraction and retention of talent.