When it comes to cul­ture, com­pa­nies have to walk the walk and talk the talk.

HR pro­fes­sion­als have all been there.  A poten­tial new employ­ee comes in for an inter­view.  Com­pa­ny rep­re­sen­ta­tives ques­tion the prospect and then ask if the can­di­date has any ques­tions.  With sure­ty, the first ques­tion uttered will be about the company’s cul­ture.  The response has to be real and backed-up with proof.

Why?

In addi­tion to the usu­al rea­sons (truth­ful­ness, respect and ethics and so on), look at the cur­rent make up of the work­force for guid­ance.  Com­pa­nies are deal­ing with one that’s multi­gen­er­a­tional; one that stretch­es from spec­trum to spec­trum in terms of what they want and need from their employ­ers.  Take Gen­er­a­tion Z for instance.  These work­ers are very con­fi­dent and that bleeds into the way in which they approach the interview/hiring process.  They will want to explore the office and talk to cur­rent employ­ees.  They are going to test what HR says about the culture.

Hav­ing said that, what con­sti­tutes an excel­lent com­pa­ny culture?

Company Culture Tips

An excel­lent com­pa­ny cul­ture is:

  • Rich­ly Diverse – A com­pa­ny cul­ture thrives on diver­si­ty.  This doesn’t just push toward eth­nic or gen­der diver­si­ty, though that is equal­ly impor­tant.  It must also embrace cog­ni­tive diver­si­ty; the dif­fer­ent ways in which peo­ple per­ceive and digest infor­ma­tion.  Lean­ing on this allows for ideas to be eval­u­at­ed from mul­ti­ple angles and can reveal both the pros and cons of an action.  A diverse com­pa­ny cul­ture also looks at all dimen­sions of diver­si­ty includ­ing hir­ing or seek­ing employ­ees from diverse back­grounds both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly.  That may include, as an exam­ple, hir­ing a can­di­date with an intel­lec­tu­al or devel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ty (IDD).  Oth­er exam­ples include hir­ing more vet­er­ans or the for­mer­ly incar­cer­at­ed.  These present unique chal­lenges, but giv­en the right action plan, those issues can be over­come and the com­pa­ny can benefit.
  • Inno­v­a­tive – A com­pa­ny cul­ture must always look to the future.  That means embrac­ing inno­va­tion.  Employ­ees at all lev­els need to feel the free­dom to posit ideas for con­sid­er­a­tion.  And those ideas need to be thor­ough­ly dis­cussed and eval­u­at­ed.  That’s the key to inno­va­tion.  Most employ­ees just want their ideas con­sid­ered.  If it’s not an idea that is fea­si­ble or real­is­tic, that’s fine.  The impor­tance lies in that the employ­ee has a voice.
  • Open to dis­sent – Speak­ing of employ­ee voic­es, work­ers need to feel they can dis­sent from lead­er­ship.  This doesn’t mean protest or rebel against a deci­sion, but that their con­cerns will be heard and they will not see retal­i­a­tion from shar­ing those ideas.
  • Trans­par­ent – A com­pa­ny cul­ture that embraces trans­paren­cy will not, in most cas­es, fail.  Why?  In a trans­par­ent cul­ture, every­one knows the impor­tant bits of infor­ma­tion, but more impor­tant­ly, they can take own­er­ship of what’s hap­pen­ing.  Employ­ees who are proud to work for their employ­ers ulti­mate­ly take more own­er­ship in the company’s des­tiny.  They will be more engaged and will pour more ener­gy into ensur­ing suc­cess than the aver­age employee.
  • Aligned with com­pa­ny brand – Employ­ees and cus­tomers must see val­ue in the brand which helps sup­port the cul­ture.  It has to res­onate with them.  For HR, this might include a part­ner­ship with the company’s mar­ket­ing or pub­lic rela­tions department.
  • Sup­port­ed by all, espe­cial­ly lead­er­ship – If lead­ers don’t see val­ue in or sup­port the cul­ture, expect the same from employ­ees.  Lead­ers have to active­ly engage in the cul­ture and make it a sta­ple in their nor­mal oper­a­tions.  Lead by exam­ple.  When the CEO cares… the employ­ees care.
  • Aligns with strat­e­gy and process – Think about this from a tal­ent per­spec­tive.  The cul­ture needs to align with process­es like hir­ing, com­pen­sa­tion and ben­e­fits, devel­op­ment and hir­ing.  And don’t for­get about suc­ces­sion plan­ning.  How will the cul­ture align in the future?
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tive – This is a great way to instill the cul­ture for your employ­ees.  Look at ways to encour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion between teams of employ­ees.  This rein­forces the idea that every­one is part of a much larg­er team.
  • Feed­back dri­ven – Give employ­ees reg­u­lar feed­back on per­for­mance.  This will help in align­ing their per­for­mance with the goals of the com­pa­ny.  But don’t save this for a once-a-year event.  Any time an employ­ee or team makes progress toward the company’s goals and in doing so sup­ports the cul­ture, it’s time for some P.R.O.P.S. or Peer Recog­ni­tion of Peer Success.
  • Delib­er­ate – Cul­ture should be delib­er­ate.  It’s not some­thing that just hap­pens.  Val­ues must be known and sup­port­ed, espe­cial­ly by lead­er­ship.  Oth­er­wise, the cul­ture that is try­ing to be built will slow­ly pass into obliv­ion and the process will have to start all over again.

Benefits of an Excellent Company Culture

The tips list­ed above are just that, tips.  If they’re not inter­nal­ized and not used prop­er­ly the com­pa­ny will not ben­e­fit.  On the flip side, if those pieces are prac­ticed well, com­pa­nies will see some huge advantages.

For one, expect to see an improved envi­ron­ment.  It will tru­ly become a pleas­ant place to work.  It’s pleas­ing social­ly and psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly.  If that’s the case, expect to see the qual­i­ty of work improve.  That means high­er increas­es in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty which leads to more busi­ness success.

By Mason Stevenson
Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on hrexchangenetwork.com