In today's hyper-connected environment, each of us is made instantly aware of both the company culture don'ts (like UploadVR's "kink room") and the highly coveted dos (like Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky's push for a more transparent customer feedback experience).
If you are a business owner or executive, it's almost certain you want to differentiate your company in order to draw in and keep top talent. What do you need to do to avoid the don'ts and create a strong company culture?
Here are seven steps you can take to create a high-performance culture at your organization:
1. Implement Weekly Rituals and Continuous Feedback
Weekly sales updates and marketing reports are crucial, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with them. Celebrate wins and highlight the people who make such wins possible. A great way to do this is to send out regular emails to the team that spotlight "wow" moments when employees go above and beyond the regular call of duty.
When it comes to the big wins, make sure to go big! Recognize your employees for providing great service and receiving positive feedback from clients. Give your employees a way to nominate their colleagues for recognition of their hard work, great attitudes, and collaborative spirits.
In business, it can be a good idea to over-communicate, especially when working with a remote team. It's difficult for messages to get misinterpreted if you repeat, re-repeat, and clarify them every time.
(Before going any further, it bears mentioning that "over-communicating" does not mean "micromanaging." When you over-communicate, you give employees clarity while informing and instructing them. When you micromanage, you seek control over every piece of a process, task, conversation, etc.)
As mentioned above, over-communicating is particularly important when working with remote teams. You should check in daily with your remote team members to share updates and clarify expectations. You should also over-communicate to let people know when:
You receive a project: Take a moment to send a reply confirming the receipt of any project; confirm that you understand messages when you receive them. This is called "closing the loop," and it is a basic component of strong communication.
A project is underway: For long-term projects, it is best to keep your teammates and managers updated on the progress you make each day and on the anticipated completion date.
You obtain new information: If you obtain information on a project that will affect when or how it will be completed, communicate that immediately.
A task is complete: When you complete any task related to a collaborative project, it is important to close the loop and let your teammates know.
3. Get More Face Time In
Email, chat, text messages, and phone calls are great tools for communicating, but the value of face time can't be understated. There is no replacement for in-person conversation and collaboration.
If your team works remotely, video conferencing software can help you get in some virtual face time. Whenever possible, try to use video conferencing software to connect with clients, partners, colleagues, and prospects.
4. Craft a Clear and Compelling Vision for Stakeholders
A clear vision that resonates with both your employees and your clients will drive your business forward. A strong, shared vision gives purpose and guides employees to make decisions that align with the company's overall goals.
5. Give Everyone a Voice
Autonomy in the workplace drives engagement, so why not make it easy for all employees to contribute and share their ideas? Giving employees a voice in your organization will generate deeper engagement and satisfaction.
6. Create Space for Non-Work-Related Collaboration
Collaboration is crucial to the success of your organization, so it's important to make sure you carve out time for team-building activities. Non-work-related activities, like volunteering together, can foster better communication and collaboration among your team members. This, in turn, improves overall performance and fosters a sense of community and belonging that drives purpose.
7. Commit to – and Prioritize – Building a Great Culture
This is perhaps the most important step in building a high-performance culture. Anything short of full commitment and top prioritization will fail to take your company's culture to the next level.
It's not enough to know you need to work on your culture; you have to put the work in. Don't have time to implement and manage critical changes? Delegate! Consider forming an internal committee, nominating one or two employees to manage the process, or adding ownership of the culture-building task to an existing employee's job description. If you'd really like to build a strong company culture that can stand the test of time, you may want to hire someone to specifically manage this aspect of your company.
Creating and maintaining a top-tier company culture can be a challenge, but resources you can use and examples you can follow to help you achieve this lofty goal abound.
Deena Anreise is the marketing manager at Prialto, a Portland-based business that provides managed, dedicated virtual assistants to executives, entrepreneurs, and companies of all sizes.