Company culture is something that needs to be nurtured over time. All too often, companies check a few boxes and think they’ve created a solid company culture. While they may have created the start of a great culture, without consistent and diligent action to maintain and preserve it, that culture doesn’t last.
The process of nurturing your company culture over time isn’t all that different from how you might approach creating and caring for a garden.
Creating company culture
Creating company culture includes actions like defining your values, setting your workplace atmosphere, and writing your employee handbook. These are some of the foundational things you need to establish your company culture, much like you need a clear area, quality soil, and a general plan for what you plan to grow when creating a garden.
When you have a focused, intentional process that looks at the full picture before you begin, you get better outcomes. Don’t rush the process of creating your company culture.
Maintaining company culture
The process of maintaining company culture includes all the work you put into nurturing the culture you’ve created, much like you would plant seeds, water them regularly, and check on your garden to see how it’s doing.
This is where consistency matters most in maintaining company culture, just as it does in a garden. If you’re inconsistent with planting, watering, or tending your garden, it’s going to suffer. The same is true of your employees and your company culture.
One of the critical steps in maintaining company culture is training your managers and front-line supervisors to pay attention to what’s going on with employees and to have the necessary conversations to help maintain your desired culture. Does your company hold people accountable to the standards outlined in your employee handbook in an equitable way? If someone isn’t playing by the rules, are your managers empowered to have difficult conversations with that employee?
Yes, maintaining company culture also includes fun stuff like social outings or casual Fridays during the summer, but culture goes much deeper than that. Keep in mind that non-action is a choice. You may not have given an employee permission to do something, but if you don’t take action to stop it, other employees notice. Be sure your managers are consistent in their actions with employees to maintain your culture.
Preserving company culture
When it comes to preserving company culture, we’re talking about the tough decisions that sometimes must be made for the good of the company. In gardening, if a particular plant is diseased, you may need to pull that one plant to keep the disease from spreading to the rest of your garden. It’s never a fun step to take, but it’s necessary for the greater good.
The same is true with your company culture. If you have an employee who doesn’t think the rules apply to them, that can become a disease in your company. Other employees get frustrated that expectations aren’t consistent from one employee to another, and eventually your great employees start leaving because the mediocre employees always seem to win. Ensuring that your management team is equipped to write performance improvement plans or terminate employees, when necessary, is a big step toward preserving your company culture. If you ignore the issues and don’t take action, the bad stuff starts to take over and you lose all the work you put into creating and maintaining your culture.
Overall, it’s not easy to create, maintain, or preserve company culture. It takes intentional thought and action day after day, not only from the business owner but also every manager and supervisor. It’s worth the effort though, as having a solid company culture can increase recruitment and retention for your company.
If you need help with establishing your company culture or training your management team on key steps to maintain it, get in touch with the WhyHR team today to talk about training options.