Company Culture & How To Work On It
Company culture refers to the way of life within a work environment; this includes the values and behaviours of employees and the corporation itself. There could be a focus on the business mission statements and how they serve their customers, for example, LUSH Core Values, to align staff members.
Company culture also serves the workers as it aims to uphold specific values shared amongst them upon themselves. For instance, Apple work on "inspiring minds by augmenting reality." A standard and shared set of values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits creates a bar for the institution's behaviours.
Let's start with the basics.
The main thing for a company culture to thrive is a responsive open dialogue between team members. Even if a business is just for oneself, it would still be essential to ask and respond to questions. Actively asking questions makes sure every member feels engaged within the company as they are trusted to do a good job. Openness can help improve discussion within the company. Prospective employees may ask about the work arrangements to understand the environment they will join; if it is face-paced, what does a typical day involve? Questions to ask within an existing company could be:
Are our team members happy to be at work?
- Would you recommend working here with friends or family?
- How well do we live up to our core values?
- What do you think about the product from your perspective?
- What don't we talk about around here that we really should be talking about?
It is vital to seek differences and use them as an advantage. Jeff Bezos would ask his team to "disagree and commit", suggesting that a common goal can help bring people together and even varied views and ideas can progress and ensure success within the company. A suggestion to implement could be brainstorming sessions for the company to acknowledge any feedback and work on intentionally implementing solutions from customers and employees. There could be an open section for feedback; for example, Facebook has a page for users to provide input on the system; whether it is troubleshooting or a feature, there is an option available to provide information.
Of course, when you think of work, it is an intense environment for productivity, but we are all people, and we are all allowed a bit of fun and friendships within the workplace. There are so many benefits to enhancing employee well-being through social connections, including:
- feeling happy and more fulfilled
- lower stress levels
- more loyal and engaged staff members
- reduced risk of health problems, e.g. depression and high blood pressure
There are many ways to make a safe environment where people feel cared for, for instance, having a break room or a social spot for employees to decompress throughout the day or socialise with others in the workplace. Also, it is important to celebrate small wins from employees, whether that is a sincere comment of gratitude or a bonus to show appreciation for their hard work. As a leader, it is vital to increase the morale of your employees, and this could be by using positive messages in meetings to create a comforting and uplifting environment. Even simple acts like buying snacks for the team can boost workers' emotional well-being by giving them something to enjoy and bond over that is not focused on work.
Maybe it's time to switch things up.
Agile Project Management
An adaptive strategy for managing an assignment; this is a non-hierarchal system that is receptive to feedback. Focusing on adding additional functionality as you define, design, build, test and implement; ideal for rapid development; defining a start, adding solutions as you go. The plan would be a time-constrained set of functionalities with:
- project manager - the person who makes overall executive decisions with the aims in mind at every step
- product owner - working with users & customers to be able to prioritise development
- project team - design, development
- scrum master - liaising between teams, access resources to clear roadblocks, focus outside project
- vision - product owner for goals
- roadmap - team sets requirements with targets
- release plan - team decides deadlines
- product backlog - archive every fortnight or so, and then retrospective meeting to work better as they go ahead
A visual method for managing the creation of products. For example, using Trello to process with swim lanes and cards, each process position is apparent to help address issues quicker. A shared board can help keep everyone on the same page so that there is a clearly defined path of progress for the project.
However you choose to work on the company culture, it is necessary to make sure it is now something that needs constant recognition and improvement. There is a lot to be learned from the people helping you run your ship, and strong connections between the team can lead to great success.
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