It seems as though everywhere you look nowadays you’ll see something related to ‘culture’ and the benefits of a good company culture and of course the disadvantages of a bad one.
So what is this ‘culture’ I speak of?
If you do a search for ‘company culture’ you get a few different definitions – at simPRO we don’t have a Culture Policy as such. I don’t believe you can define it in a paragraph or three. I like to define it as a force or momentum that invisibly swirls around the building or company.
How is this force created?
Well, in my experience it requires:
- a mission, vision and set of values
- good leadership
Mission, Vision and Values
Starting with the MVV every staff member needs to know and understand the purpose and goal of the business, then its values. We define values as the expected behaviours within the business.
These behaviours are interesting. They define the culture by creating a non-negotiable set of expectations set by the company as a whole. At simPRO these are currently printed and displayed around employees desks and the office in general, visible to everyone.
In case you’re wondering, our simPRO values are:
Integrity – We act with respect, honesty and transparency in an ethical way.
Accountability – We deliver on our promises
Collaborative – We work together with all stakeholders to deliver exceptional service and outcomes
Initiative – We have the courage to stand up, speak out and embrace challenges
Fun – We enjoy what we do and celebrate achievements
Commercial – We must be economically sustainable
1. Embed your values
These values are made clear from the outset. It begins with our staff induction, staff meetings, performance reviews and are often quoted when making business decisions. Interestingly enough, every employee was given the opportunity to input to these values when they were initially formalised.
When the values of a company become embedded, it creates a reference or set of guidelines. If a member of the team is not adhering to a particular value then a team member, HR or the manager have something to reference.
Invested staff do not like it when these values are not adhered to. Often colleagues will have no issue objecting to the fact.
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing collaboration between the Documentation, Product and Marketing departments (or ‘simPEEPS’) at a meeting – the result has so far and will continue to be awesome!
2. Emphasise good leadership
Good leadership in a business whether it be the CEO or the Executive team or a General Manager set and promote the strategy and direction. There are many definitions of a good leader.
I think a ‘people leader’ lives and breathes the values everyday, solidifying the expectation of the team. Anyone can display good leadership skills or attributes. A good ‘people leader’ will motivate and coach the team either as a group or to individually to do their best. If the team are happy and motivated they will proactively assist the company in its vision.
A highly performing team means that the standard of work is high and the work gets done because staff want to come to work.
Lastly, good leadership also means praising and enabling team members to do their best, a simple face to face “thank you” at a cafe or in a public forum like at a staff meeting is a way of celebrating achievements. Leaders don’t take the credit but credit the team for the success.
3. Remain consistent
Consistency is important so all employees understand that the rules apply to everyone – there are no favourites. For example, a disciplinary process can be applied to everyone. The rules, processes and values are applicable to everyone.
If everyone is swimming in the same direction then the current is strong. If the current is strong:
- you retain staff and the quality of work is high
- your team want the company to do well
- the workplace is a happy healthy environment (Increased morale)
Consistency is about credibility, and it goes both ways.
The above three points have worked well for us here at simPRO. The best thing we’ve done is remain open, honest and transparent.
At some stage or another an Executive has stood and faced the entire team to deliver either good or bad news. Even if something hasn’t worked we have tried to be as transparent as possible. Staff have been appreciative. We’ve made mistakes but remained honest about it. As a leader it pays to admit your shortcomings. Keep it real.
The phrase ‘woop’ appeared. You heard right, ‘woop woop’ used randomly at any time of the day. Strange as it sounds, the phrase is introduced during staff inductions and by the end of the HR segment. For the remainder of the day there are often a few newbies wooping around the office. Its also about having a bit of fun along the way.