There is no one path to creating a quality culture in your company. Often, it is a trickledown effect starting with the founders or officers of the company. If these individuals possess the attributes for effective leadership, then the other pieces fall into place. However, as the company grows, it becomes difficult to maintain a quality culture as more people and personalities enter the mix. Here are some things to keep in mind in your efforts to avoid a toxic culture and create a quality culture.
Creating a Quality Culture: Support your Staff
It is easy for employees to adopt a negative attitude when they believe that they are being taken advantage of. If employees get the impression that they are just replaceable parts, and easily replaceable, then it is hard to avoid a culture of resentment and a sentiment of exploitation. In order to avoid this sort of toxic mentality, it is important to treat your employees respectfully and provide enough verbal, emotional and financial benefits to keep them contented. Rewarding initiative and verbally recognizing a job well done shows your workers that you know what they do, and you appreciate their efforts. Separation between managers and subordinates frequently occurs due to a disconnect between the two parties. This is fostered by their disparity between expectations and reality. Workers often feel that management does not have a working knowledge of their day to day activities, and therefore, unrealistic expectations are placed upon them. This sort of relationship can bring on distress and resentment towards management.
With that in mind, it is important to not only understand what your workers do, but why they do it. Are they fulfilled by the work itself, or a job well done? Are they in it purely for the money, or is their motivation due to something else entirely? Obviously, all employees, to some extent, are there for the financial benefits and the benefits that companies provide. However, if that is their primary motivator, then it will be difficult to keep them satisfied for long. Small businesses offer opportunity for growth, and promotion, which can lead to increased wages. Those who enter the company with this as an expectation, can quickly become dissatisfied when the trajectory of the company does not meet their expectations. This sort of resentment can then lead to a ripple effect that impacts other employees.
Creating a Quality Culture: Carefully Select Supervisors
With the diversity that exists in the workplace, it can be difficult to manage so many types of people, personalities and account for all of the various motivators in play. This makes it vital to select supervisors and managers that are empathetic and effective people wranglers. Seldom are the ones that started the company actually the ones that can effectively manage the growing work force. They are the founders, the visionaries, the go-getters, but that doesn’t make them effective managers of people. This is the reason that many companies are placing an emphasis on soft skills and emotional intelligence. In order to understand, relate to and navigate the various motivational factors in play throughout your workforce, emotional intelligence is a vital component of an effective management strategy.
Creating a Quality Culture: Celebrate Success and Reward Initiative
Despite the variance in employee priorities and motivational factors, even the most cynical appreciate incentives. Incentives can take many forms and there is no one incentive that is going to work for everybody. The important thing about any incentive program is to motivate, and show that you appreciate your employees. Celebrate small steps toward success and rejoice when milestones are met. Let your employees revel in successes with you and make sure you communicate that they play a big role in these victories, and you are all in it together. You can show your appreciation in the form of a company party, a gift card, a celebratory cake or any number of other ways. The important thing is to know your employees, what they like, and provide something that is meaningful and motivational.
There is no one path to a quality company culture. It is a combination of the right people, the right motivational tactics, and the right people to manage both. While there is no surefire way to create a positive culture, it is easy enough to destroy one. Be mindful of preserving a level of caring and cognition for your employees, to make sure you remain an atmosphere of positivity and solidarity, and avoid a culture of toxicity and dissent.
About the Author:
Kirk Kerr is an entrepreneur and small business owner. He has experienced both sides of company culture and takes pride in sharing the insights he’s gained with other business scholars. Find him on twitter.