Over the past two months, we have been exploring the impact of culture on performance and employee satisfaction in the workplace.
In the last blog of our three-part series, we will discuss how to cultivate and maintain a high performance culture once it is introduced and implemented.
As we discussed in last month’s blog, culture affects every aspect of your company, from the public’s perception of your brand to your employees’ job satisfaction to your bottom line. Because there’s so much at stake, it’s important that your corporate culture is focused on efficiency, collaboration, adaptability and open to improvement – and all starts with articulating just what kind of culture you work in and what you aspire the culture to become.
A few things to keep in mind - high performance culture is not dependent on one simple factor or as a result of one or two things. The entire context you operate in greatly impacts your results. This context includes the culture of the company – how things get done, how decisions get made, what works and does not work, and what gets rewarded and how. The key to building a high-performing culture is to make sure you consider the “‘what” and the “how” you will get to your destination points – the clear definitions of where you are going in a specific time-frame.
The specifics of a high performance culture are unique to your company because they are based on what will work best for you to achieve your goals and get to where you want to go. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to culture.
You worked hard to implement the components and philosophy of your culture. The management training and communication to the team is now complete. Can you just “set it and forget it”? As you have already assumed, the hard part is now just starting! Culture and its ongoing philosophical tenets must continually be cultivated, maintained and allowed to evolve as the business grows. Listed below are my thoughts regarding how best to cultivate and maintain a high performance culture once implemented:
#1 – UPHOLD VALUES AND APPROPRRIATE BEHAVIORS
Defining a set of guiding principles and values is the easy part – upholding them in the light of changing business and client needs is the challenge. What if your best employee violates a sacred value? What if a key client or vendor does not share your values and adversely affects one of your employees? These are all questions that you will need to be prepared to address when the situation surfaces. At the end of the day, values and principles define your culture and how you operate – if violated without repercussion, then they no longer hold the same importance. Values either define expectations and behaviors or they don’t. And believe me, your team will be watching how you address these situations when they occur.
#2 – SET AND REWARD STRETCH TARGETS
Employees tend to rise to the standard set for them. The more you expect, the more they will achieve. But there is a fine line between good stretch targets, which can energize an organization, and bad ones, which can dampen morale. Be sure to set realistic goals for individuals and the organization, and properly recognize and reward when those goals are achieved!
#3 – CONTINUALLY CONNECT TO THE BIG PICTURE
The majority of employees want to be a part of a compelling future, want to know what is most important at work and what excellence looks like. For targets to be meaningful and effective in motivating employees, they must be tied to larger organizational ambitions. No matter what level the employee is at, he should be able to articulate exactly how his efforts feed into the broader company strategy
#4 – DEVELOP AND EVOLVE AN OWNERSHIP MENTALITY
When individuals understand the boundaries in which they can operate, as well as where the company wants to go, they feel empowered with a freedom to decide and act, and most often make the right choices. The boundaries are likely to move over time – be sure to help your team understand their shifting roles and responsibilities as growth and priorities change.
#5 – IMPROVING PERFORMANCE THROUGH TRANSPARENCY
By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership. However, being open is not enough. You need to be sure your employees are trained to understand financial statements and have enough insight into their own jobs to know how to affect the numbers. Focus on additional metrics besides the financial ones.
#6 – INCREASE PERFORMANCE THROUGH EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Consider a routine feedback process to measure employee engagement and the means to identify areas for improvement. Work to improve in those areas that are most critical.
#7 – STORYTELLING
Storytelling can be a powerful tool when you want to drive organizational change and performance improvement. The leaders must be able use stories to motivate their employees to achieve more than they thought possible. Also, be sure to reward and hold up to the rest of the organization examples where team members displayed the culture values and principles, in essence “doing good”.
#8 – INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
Internal communication needs to be on the top of the agenda – Have they heard the message? Do they believe it? Do they know what it means? Have they interpreted it for themselves, and have they internalized it? Focus groups have often been helpful to managers to ensure that the intended internal messages were received as intended and understood.
#9 – TAKING THE TIME TO CELEBRATE
Remember to celebrate milestones once they have been reached. Taking the time to celebrate is important because it acknowledges people’s hard work, boosts morale and keeps up the momentum. If you want something to grow, allow it to enjoy the sunshine!
Many of the concepts shared here are similar to the ones introduced in the last blog regarding how to effectively implement an HPC. This is not by accident – the ideas by which you introduced HPC will continue as you build on its success.
Thank you for joining me for this series and I wish you all the best as you begin or continue on your journey to building the culture you envision! For more information on building your high performance culture, visit our Sioux City law firm, Sioux Falls law firm, or Omaha law firm today!