How to create a great company culture

A great company culture is a vibrant community of people who have come together around a common theme

How to create a great company culture

A great company culture is a vibrant community of people who have come together around a common theme. These people love what they do – they have attached personal meaning to what they do that contributes to the noble cause of their organization. They also respect whom they do it with (and for) – they appreciate and value the people they work with every day.

Employee engagement is the main benefit of building this kind of culture. Many companies think that engagement is an organizational destination to arrive at and survey for, but engagement is a decision an individual makes on whether they are going to engage with the purpose, mission, vision and values of the company or not, as well as in producing great work on behalf of the company or not.

“The consequences of that obviously is a healthy organization that produces profitability and growth and all things that make it a nice place to work,” says Kevin Ames, Director, O.C. Tanner Institute.

However, for a company with a toxic culture, Ames says that the risks are self-evident. Over a period of time, people will stop being attracted to that company. Secondarily, there will be people inside the company who will stop engaging and start looking for another place to work. Ultimately, that impacts their tenure, and the organization will be in danger of underperformance.

It’s never too late for companies to improve their culture. The first thing that they need to do, according to Ames, is to be authentically purpose-driven – not metric-driven or money-driven. They need to identify very clearly what their purpose is and connect their people to that. Secondarily, they need to have leaders who understand people and are people-centred. These leaders will unlock people’s potential and help them thrive by appreciating them through recognition. Research proves that appreciation helps develop great cultures.

“There’s a handful of other things that those leaders are going to do: they’re going to stimulate in people a sense of opportunity for growth, they’re going to establish in them a sense of well-being, and they’re going to give people a sense of success,” Ames says. “We focus heavily on this idea of causing people to feel deeply appreciated for three things: who they are, the great work they do from day to day, and the loyalty and the contribution they make over time.”

To provide HR leaders with an in-depth guide to creating a successful, positive culture, O.C. Tanner Institute hosted a free webinar titled “Creating Authentic Company Culture”.  Ames provided some strategies and stories about developing great people, teams and workplace cultures.  

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