If there is one force, as intangible as it might be, that’s more crucial to business success than we give it credit, it’s the company culture. The often-unwritten practices and habits that constitute the workplace will affect how your team feels about their role, their relationships, and the goals they’re working on
Forgetting to make use of your workspace
The physical space that everyone works in can be a terribly powerful tool when it comes to making people more engaged, more comfortable, and more motivated to get their work done. Making your office employee-friendly should be a priority. There are practical concerns affecting their productivity to tackle, such as how cubicles can feel isolating, yet spaces that are too open makes it hard to focus on work at times.
However, you should think about how spaces are used for things other than work. A family-style kitchen/break area can help people get away from their desks, refresh, and build their relationships, energizing them for the latter half of the day rather than simply sustaining themselves while they wind down.
Not finding the right fit
Although you can influence it in big ways (for better or worse), the company culture isn’t just dictated by the one who holds the reins on the team. It’s made up of every member who makes up that team, as well. That’s why you should put a little more thought into the recruitment process. It’s all too easy to miss key indicators of quality of hire, leading to bringing in those one or two people who can stir tensions and change the landscape of workplace relationships.
Being a bad fit for the culture is, in many ways, worse than being unqualified for the job. Pay attention to their ability to understand company values, whether they share the same professional principles as the rest of the team, and how engaged they seem with the team’s mission.
Avoiding your responsibility
However, if one thing can tank a company culture above all else, it is the culture of blame that is so prevalent across many different work environments. This culture is created by fear. People fear that, if they will
You should also set a positive example of accountability for others to follow. If someone is found to have failed at a task or made a mistake, turn it into a learning opportunity and address the mistake rather than the person. This can end up making the team much more open to holding their hands up and accepting accountability, which ends the toxic habit of blaming others.
Forgetting the sense of purpose
You want your team to be engaged in their work, but why should they be? Getting paid isn’t quite enough. Deep purpose is crucial for motivation and for them to have that, they need to be aligned with the company goals. Taking the time to get them on board with company goals, explaining how they align with their own, and highlighting the benefits of reaching those goals is important. It helps them put their own work into context and develops a shared motivation that can be a catalyst for better teamwork.
Not investing in your environment
If you want people to be invested in the company, you have to invest in your people. It’s really as simple as that. Ongoing training and development are the most practical way to keep your individual employees’ fates tied to the team. However, emotional investment is just as important. Recognizing and rewarding good work, finding team-building opportunities, taking them out for lunch or dinner every week.
Invest in the connection that every individual has to both the company and to their coworkers. That connection is what will keep them motivated to make the business as successful as possible. They will want to make things better not just for themselves, but from the person at the next desk, too.
Don’t treat a good company culture as an optional bonus. It drives motivation, productivity, and innovation in every workplace. Identify what might be holding your team back from their potential and do what you can to eliminate it, change it, or grow from it.