With the 2017 baseball season underway, America's favorite pastime is back in action. Organizations can learn a thing or two from the league's best sluggers: Just like them, companies want to focus on protecting the plate and hitting a home run – when it comes to developing strong workplace cultures, that is.
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If you want to give employees a great culture, watch out for these three strikes:
Strike One: You're Inauthentic
A lot of organizations talk the talk, but hip vibes and copious buzzwords like "transparency" and "creativity" are not enough. Walking the walk is what matters most in building and managing workplace cultures.
According to the 2016 "Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report" from SHRM, 55 percent of employees say trust between employees and senior management is very important to their satisfaction. If your company isn't putting its values into action, that trust will go down the drain, along with any shot at building a positive culture.
A couple ways to become more authentic include:
1. Elect a Culture Ambassador: Appoint a culture ambassador who promotes your culture campaigns within the organization. This individual will recognize others who put values into action, ensure the culture is properly communicated to new hires, and offer insights into how to manage and improve the culture to better fit the needs and wants of the workforce.
2. Celebrate Publicly: To improve your employer brand and attract top talent, your culture ambassador can share stories of employees putting values into action through your company's social media presence and on its careers page. Doing so will show talented candidates you prioritize trust and authenticity.
Strike Two: Silos Are Emerging
Silos can do a lot of damage to your workplace culture. When offices start to form cliques and departments start to divide, you have a major problem.
A collaborative culture supports happier, more engaged employees. In a 2015 survey, Google found that "88 percent of respondents who strongly agreed their company 'fosters a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration' agree that 'employee morale and job satisfaction is high in their company.'"
Two ways to prevent silos from forming:
1. Define a Shared Purpose: Break down walls by unifying your team around a shared purpose. Consider creating an internal social network for employees to connect with one another. Find a significant aspect of your culture and host an event themed around it. For example, if your culture is health-centric, you can plan friendly health-related competitions. Use informal social gatherings as company-wide meetings where everyone can engage with each other in a comfortable setting.
2. Create a "Culture" Page: Create content to use in your employer branding strategy. Add a "workplace culture" page to your website. Consider using video, employee testimonials, or a team podcast to share messages about what it's like to work for your organization.
You can also share your company's team-building challenges with candidates to give them a taste of your culture. For example, if you're running a wellness challenge, place a live leaderboard on the culture page where candidates can follow along. Bringing these activities closer to candidates is a good way to get candidates who will be a strong cultural fit interested in your company.
Strike Three: Employees Are Boxed In
The rigid policies and procedures in place, at your company limit employees and fail to cater to their individual needs. If your culture is not empowering, A-players are bound to look for that empowerment elsewhere. People – especially top performers – want to work for employers who understand and respect their unique preferences.
To empower employees, the most important step you can take is to give them a voice.
Establish policies that work for your staff and encourage employees to find ways to perform at their best. The most important aspect of rewriting policies is getting everyone on board. Host company-wide meetings to discuss changes and conduct surveys to see what options are most popular. Some people may prefer flexible work options, while others may love the idea of a pet-friendly workplace. You want to create a culture that works for everybody and helps all employees be their most productive, their happiest, and their healthiest.
By avoiding these three strikes, you can create a workplace culture that promotes autonomy, productivity, and passion. When it comes to attracting A-players, you need to swing for the fences and establish an awesome culture; you can't afford to strike out.