Corporate culture is manifested in the attitudes and values set forth by management. Ideally these are shared by employees and determine how they carry out their jobs. Corporate culture contributes not just to the psychological environment of the office but the cumulative behavior of those who represent the company.
As such, a rotten corporate culture can impact employee performance and, consequently, customer satisfaction, productivity, and overall profitability. How can you tell if employees are dissatisfied with the corporate culture? If your company is experiencing any of the following:
Increased employee attrition
Problems with attendance
Difficulty attracting new employees
Increased customer complaints
Reduced participation at company events
These issues do not necessarily mean the corporate culture is entirely to blame, but it is a good place to start especially when it comes to change, which can be very challenging. Here are three elements to consider if looking to make a culture change.
A “New Look” to the Corporate Culture
No company can make truly substantive culture changes if they cannot identify what the “new look” will be. Success is measured not by how much you change; rather, it is defined by the ability to understand what was “wrong” and knowing where to make it “right.” Ask yourself:
What are the goals?
What basic company functions need to improve?
What new processes can be introduced?
Can the company structure be modified or adjusted?
Is the current staff capable of initiating change?
In some cases, a small tweak to any of these — processes, performance, personnel –will make for a strong corporate culture change.
Keep Your Employees Informed
Employees understandably will become nervous and apprehensive if they see signs of change without knowing what is coming. (We’re professionals and we’re human: we fear for job security and our livelihoods!) A staff that is kept informed means they won’t rely on the terrible office rumor mill to keep them “in the loop.” How do staff stay informed? Regular updates, transparency by company executives, open and honest opportunity to ask questions-all will contribute to an employee’s awareness of a corporate culture change. And because employees will be expected to adopt the change, managers and supervisors must be trained on how to answer questions and provide information, so they don’t alarm or confuse their staff.
Don’t get locked into the idea that once a culture change is made, no additional attention will be needed. Wrong! It is important to evaluate how the change is being received and implemented, and to gauge how it is benefiting the company. If “more” change is needed, do so by re-engineering but not re-introducing “old” methods and means. Change is a process and it’s fine to have detours along the way to success. Review what is working and what isn’t, and keep re-engineering until you arrive at a new company culture that offers a positive work environment for your employees and supports your goals and vision.
Don’t wait too long. If your existing company culture is toxic there is no way it will fix itself. The only solution is to change it by being proactive. And though change may be tough, the outcome and reward will be well worth it!