“I want a bad culture.” said no manager ever.
However, a recent Gallup Report Survey shows that 63% of employees are not engaged, which would indicate that even though no manager intends to have a bad culture, it is happening.
In this case, research would state that employee turnover is at an all-time high and productivity is at an all-time low. While many things can affect turnover and productivity, a poor company culture is near the top of the list.
How does this happen? Here are three common obstacles standing in the way of having a positive culture.
3 Obstacles That Stop You From Having a Successful Culture
Lack of clarity of expectations.
People don’t feel they are being invested in.
When you look at an organization's culture, you must look at it in its entirety.
A shared mission gives a clear sense of where you’re going and the “why” behind it. Employees want to feel part of something purposeful. Establish a clear vision and reason for being that states where you’re going as a company, but then have a strong change management model in place to make sure it is executed.
While the mission must be fully embraced in the C-suite, it can’t live there alone. It must live throughout the organization.
To build a culture throughout an organization, top management must be absolutely transparent in their commitment to the company’s mission while seeking input from all levels of the company on exactly what that mission should be and how each individual department can contribute to fulfilling that mission.
Management must also be willing to enact changes if needed to execute the mission. “We’ve always done it that way” cannot be an acceptable attitude when building a dynamic, positive culture.
“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”
- Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO
Lack of Clarity — Valued Voice
Have you ever tried to put together a complicated piece of furniture, or a bike, or a new piece of equipment?
Imagine doing that without the directions.
It would be time-consuming, frustrating, and counter-productive. Ultimately, it just doesn’t work.
It’s not enough to say in your mission statement that you will offer world-class customer service. You must then detail what that looks like so that your team knows they’re achieving that goal.
As leaders, we must set realistic expectations and provide clear, detailed direction on how to achieve our goals. And remember, it’s wise to seek input from your team. They want their voice to be heard.
- What do they believe represents world-class service?
- What do they hear from their clients?
Once you and your team agree on the goals, make it possible to achieve them. And removing obstacles will go a long way toward building the kind of culture that will excite and invigorate your team.
Invest in Your Team — People Development
Are we, as leaders investing in our team members? And what does that look like?
If we don’t know, it’s pretty certain that this is an area that needs improvement.
Employees who feel that they’re not being invested in report higher degrees of dissatisfaction. Often, this area requires managers to have a keen sense of balance.
For example, sellers who receive too much training can cut deeply into selling and servicing time and can be counter-productive. But not enough training is certain to leave your sellers feeling ill-equipped to do their jobs.
Training must be meaningful, and you must help your sellers clearly understand how what they are learning will improve their performance and increase their value in the industry.
Another question of balance; do you provide your employees all the tools they need to do the job? Are they the right tools? Are there too many tools?
Like too much, too little, or ineffective training, too many, too few, or ineffective tools will frustrate your employees and hurt both productivity and your culture. Management must provide the best tools for their specific market and situation and the training necessary to properly use them without overloading the staff.
“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”
- Doug Conant, Campbell Soup
Overcome Roadblocks to Create a Successful Company Culture
There are almost endless possible stumbling blocks.
- Are we too product focused verses client focused?
- Do we have too many meetings or too few?
- Does out team perceive the meetings as having value?
All of these, and more, are questions which contribute to whether our team members feel valued and invested in. Addressing these issues can help build a positive and productive culture.
Doing so requires that we define the shared mission, set clear expectations, and make our employees valued contributors to the process who know that we are committed to their growth and development. This happens when we give them clear, honest feedback and honestly listen to their feedback in return.