Last month’s blog post was an introduction to organizational culture. We’ll continue that topic here by discussing ways in which you can build a healthy company culture.

Whether you are a relatively new business owner, are taking over an existing company, or have been in business for a while, developing a healthy organizational culture is something that you will want to prioritize. And the good news – it really costs nothing to develop a healthy culture. However, an unhealthy environment – as discussed in our last blog post – can be costly to your organization. For example, staff turnover will likely be higher if the organizational culture is suffering. Recruiting and training new staff can be expensive, and knowledge constantly exiting your organization will have a negative impact on your competitive advantage. As well, reputation will play into potential employees wanting (or not wanting) to work for you. After all, we’ve all heard of those organizations that would supposedly be a nightmare to work for!

The following are a few ways to build a healthy culture:

• Show vulnerability as a leader. Allowing your employees to see you in an open, honest way will set the tone for a positive culture.
• Make it a point to get to know your employees. For example, asking Judy how her son’s hockey season is going, or asking Ted how house training his new puppy is working out can go a long way in building connections with people. As well, hire other leaders who will make getting to know their employees a priority.
• Encourage your employees to take (calculated) risks and urge them to try new ways of doing things. Of course, not every new idea will work out. That’s okay. It beats the status quo and creates a culture of innovation.
• Provide learning and development opportunities for your staff. Continuous employee learning and growth will contribute to a positive environment.
• Hold people accountable. This is a good thing, and if you are hiring the right people, accountability is something that your staff will appreciate. Of course, this is only possible if your employees know what is expected of them.

Additionally, organizational culture is something that needs to be worked at in order to be maintained. Ways to do this include the following:

• Annual employee engagement surveys. Results from these surveys will ideally provide you with some valuable insight into the work environment.
• Stay interviews. Occasionally interview your staff to find out what makes them stay with your organization, what they like, what they would change, and what would potentially make them want to move on.
• Exit interviews. Find out why people are choosing to leave your organization. Exit interviews should be viewed as a process improvement activity.

When it comes to feedback, create an environment where people are as comfortable as possible in being open and honest. As well, ensure that you take action with the information that you receive. Otherwise, employees will be less apt to participate in activities such as engagement surveys and stay interviews in the future.

A healthy culture will lead to a great place to work. And employees will put in that much more effort if they enjoy coming to work each day, which is a win for everyone!

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