It is up to a company’s leadership team to create a winning workplace culture. For many companies, workplace culture is easier to create than it is to change. Instilling a corporate philosophy to foster a growth mindset at work requires a comprehensive effort and ongoing commitment.
While platitudes and happy talk are commonplace in describing a corporate culture to stakeholders, the real work of improving workplace culture must be more than public relations. It requires top-to-bottom reviews and goal-setting.
Anyone who has worked for more than one company, or even more than one team in the same company, understands that each workplace has its own culture. From that first day in a new role, we begin to develop an idea of what kind of organisations we’ve signed up with, and we do what we can to fit in.
Any plan for improving workplace culture can’t just be implemented and forgotten. There must be an ongoing effort to maintain, revise, and, if necessary, reimagine a company’s commitment to fostering a growth mindset at work.
Below are six ways to promote a growth culture in the workplace. While each is a crucial element of an overall strategy, they should also be considered in the order in which they are presented as a roadmap for creating a functional and flexible plan to create a winning culture for your company.
Improving Workplace Culture Means Hiring the Right People
Obviously, the notion of hiring the right people sounds like common sense. Begin with the assumption that you are only hiring people who have the training, skills, and temperament to succeed. Once you’ve determined your hires are qualified, the next step is determining if there is a “culture fit”.
In her article “How to Create a Workplace Culture That Organically Feeds Your Candidate Pipeline” on Sprout Social, Aria Solar suggests, “Ask your current team to share the words that they feel are most descriptive of your corporate culture, and then take these terms with you into the interview and look for evidence of them in the things your candidates do and say.”
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) suggests interview strategies to elicit applicants’ attitudes towards corporate culture. SHRM advises to wait until after you’ve asked interviewees about their workplace experiences before introducing a conversation about improving workplace culture. Instead, SHRM suggests, “First, listen to what they have to say about their experiences and beliefs. This tactic will reveal more candid responses to help determine whether they are a fit for the organisation.”
Even the best screening methods can’t guarantee that new hires will fit into your company culture for the long-term. Mentorship under a tenured colleague goes a long way in facilitating a new hire’s growth, and by leveraging your tenured employees to help on-board and monitor the growth of a new hire, you’ll be able to ascertain any red flags earlier.
Harness Digital Communication Systems to Facilitate Success and Collaboration
In the wake of the global crises we have seen, companies now need to be particularly sensitive to the specific challenges of onboarding remote employees. As many businesses pivoted to 100% remote work, tools like Zoom, Slack, and MS Team made the transition easier. That said, how employees were able to adjust to virtual networking with their colleagues presented new challenges for morale.
This reality underscores an essential truth of the twenty-first-century workplace is that in facilitating interoffice communications, these new platforms can obscure strains to interpersonal communication. It is more important than ever that employers understand that how information is communicated is as important as what is communicated.
Writing in ProcessMaker, Cheyenne Noelle lays out some important guidelines for successful office communication, including respecting each other’s time, being consistent in rule-making, and maintaining a safe environment.
Look for Opportunities for Empowerment, Growth & Development
In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review, workplace guru Tony Schwartz writes, “A culture is simply the collection of beliefs on which people build their behaviour. . . true growth culture also focuses on deeper issues connected to how people feel, and how they behave as a result.”
It’s easy to dismiss employees’ emotional concerns with stereotypes about contemporary lifestyles; however, Solar cites a study that finds only one in three workers believed they’re praised enough for good work. Many supervisors who have come up in corporate cultures in which they did not receive positive feedback view stoicism as motivating.
The fact is that an employee who feels valued, who feels their feedback is acted upon, and who sees clear pathways to advancement is much more likely to be invested in the goal of improving workplace culture and of promulgating a growth culture at work.
An essential approach to ensure that all your best effort at creating a growth culture at work
is to train and elevate workers who demonstrate leadership skills to perpetuate the current culture of the office. Provide opportunities for your workers to innovate and, when they do, to present their contributions to the team.
Develop Metrics to Gauge How Well Your Systems and Your People are Working
While there may be a lot of subjective assessments and values-based judgments involved in evaluating employee performance, the objective of every employee alignment program is growth. Therefore, metrics are essential in evaluating company performance.
Transparency is critical. All employees within the company should understand how they are being evaluated. Nonprofits have long undertaken this kind of self-assessment and for-profit companies must, as well.
SHRM lays out a systematized approach toward employee evaluation metrics, including how to develop, administer, and analyse employee feedback, as well as how to survey employee attitudes toward the evaluation process.
When demonstrable improvement in employee performance results in improved company revenue, reputation, and growth, the value of growth-based initiatives will be clear to everyone from the boardroom to the loading dock.
Once your company has achieved its twin goals of improving workplace culture and instilling a growth culture, utilize a public relations campaign to publicize your success. Making a worker-friendly, pro-growth company philosophy an integral part of your corporate identity will pay reputational dividends for years to come.
Reassess and Recommit Regularly
An essential aspect of any initiative designed to fulfil the objectives of improving workplace culture is that the effort must be ongoing and constantly renewed. When leadership announces a new top to bottom campaign to create a growth culture at work, they must first demonstrate their own buy-in and also set a series of benchmarks to measure the success of the initiative and to install mechanisms to receive employee feedback and a process to adjust procedures as necessary.
Ideally, the comprehensive plan to overhaul and improve workplace culture that you launch today will be your corporate reality going forward. Operate with long-term solutions in mind.
Set Clear Objectives and Stick to Them
In the spring of 2020, every organisation on the planet learned that the world can change on a dime. This reality underlines the importance of establishing a resilient company culture.
When you know your people, you will know what you can ask of them in times of stress or crisis. Each new challenge should be considered in the context of growth culture at work, as companies continually ask themselves, “Is our rate of growth where it should be?” If the answer is no, the next question must be “What do we have to do to get to ‘yes.’” If you set the right culture, the solutions will come.
In short, your people are your best asset, period. When you work to promote growth culture, you should start with assessing what is and isn’t working. Improving systems for monitoring growth, open feedback and communication channels, providing the right kind of resources, and paving a clear path for your teams to take in order to achieve their (and as a result, your) goals, you’ll find that promoting growth culture in the workplace to be one of the best business moves you can make.