||Great leaders inspire.
They pull in talented and high-performing staffers.
But behind each leader you'll
find something equally powerful: a company culture that motivates
people to work hard and stay with the business.
As long as you have a
business, you have a company culture. Instead of leaving it to grow
on its own, you can nurture it and make it into something that will
breed loyalty and motivation. Creating a strong culture -- one of
fun, sharing, collaboration, and connection -- can be done in five
simple steps, according to Carol Skube, A Minneapolis-based human
Step 1: Understand
A strong culture is founded on more than just paid lunches or
personalized parking spaces. Great leaders understand what is important to
their employees. As a business leader, developing a strong company culture
starts when you take steps to find out what motivates the people who work
The process of understanding start
with communication. Talk to your employees to find out what you both expect
from the job, Skube says. This will help you clarify your expectations of
your staff and, in turn, help you to learn what motivates them. It will also
send a message to your staff that collaboration and communication are
important to your company.
Step 2: Take action
Once you've taken the time to understand you employees, it's time to
take action. This follow-through is important, as it shows that you have
taken your employees' interests and concerns to heart.
Try this simple exercise: Divide a
blank piece of paper into four squares labelled fun, sharing, collaboration,
and connection. For each heading, brainstorm a list of actions you can
implement to improve your company culture in this area. For example under
"fun" you may have things like a Friday drawing for free passes for dinner,
a movie, or some other treat.
When you take action, it's important
to set yourself up for success. Rather that doing everything at once, try
implementing a selection of ideas that you know you can do and do well.
Highlight a few of the items from your brainstorming list that you'd like to
implement immediately. The rest you can save on a prioritized wish list of
things to do later
Step 3: Involve
A company culture comes from all employees. When it's successful, it's
something that you can start and that your employees continue.
Ask your employees how they think
they can contribute to the success of the business and its culture.
Encouraging them to take a personal stake in the company can nurture a new
and positive energy., Skube says. When this happens, your employees have
gone beyond their day-to-day duties. They now feel responsible for the
Step 4: Collaborate
At this stage your employees should be involved in your company culture. Now
comes the time to grow, deepen, and further develop the business culture.
This is where collaboration comes into play.
Give your employees the room they
need to follow through with their own ideas. This doesn't mean allowing them
to go off in all kinds of different directions. In your pivotal role as
leader, it is up to you to oversee and guide this creative force along the
right path. Encourage them, but discuss concrete ways of putting ideas into
action, and hold them to any agreed-upon action plan.
It's important the employees
understand that the perks and benefits they enjoy come as a result of this
work. Individuals who view them as an expectation can potentially effect the
entire group attitude in a negative way. "Are people going to be held
accountable for meeting their objectives and delivering their commitments?
If I'm not held accountable, I may or may not do it," Skube says.
Step 5: Demand accountability
Company culture isn't something you start and ignore. Like a well-tended
garden, a strong culture is the result of creativity and care. Make
accountability part of your culture, through strong communication and
You will know if your culture has
been built effectively if your employees are not only trying out new ideas
but meeting expectations and commitments regularly. Their interests and
needs will change as our company grows. Take the time to re-evaluate these
motivation factors if you a find a change in performance.