Lately, the term “corporate culture” has become a buzzword for the HR community. Top employers are realizing that fostering a purpose-driven culture tied to corporate values is a competitive advantage when it comes to talent management and creating a strong employer brand.

What’s key to note about culture management is that a positive corporate culture is anything but corporate. Corporations are notorious for their stuffy atmospheres and flat environments; however, enterprise companies like Zappos, Inc. and Google have disrupted that stereotype by reinforcing culture management with purpose-driven workplaces. Employees that work for these types of companies love showing up at work and understand how they impact the organization’s success. Somehow, these companies have excelled with culture management because people continue to apply. This is a good problem to have.

Be wary of deliberately trying to create the culture you think you need. This is impossible. Successful culture management comes organically. Company culture is the environment within your company in which employees thrive, collaborate, celebrate, and grow. Culture is your secret sauce and is something no other company will be able to replicate. Culture management is the hidden crown jewels of sustaining a great place to work.

Perhaps now you’re listening, but where to begin? The biggest secret you must uncover when it comes to culture management is to ask your management team one question: do you know what your employees want from their workplace? If you look around the conference table and notice looks of bewilderment, then you know where to start.

Culture management starts with the people. It starts with your employees. They are the living, breathing, and thriving pulse of your organization. When you begin your quest to cultivate your own unique culture, start by asking your employees for their opinion. This gesture will go a long way with your staff. Ask them what they like about the current work environment, and what should change. Do not shy away from constructive feedback-it will only make you better.

Then, dig a little deeper. Conduct an employee engagement survey to extract some real, actionable data from your workforce. Share the results with your organization, and create focus groups among all levels of employees. Within these focus groups, solicit real-time feedback and determine who is accountable for the solution. Assign specific points of accountability so that employees trust that a better workplace is on the way.

Talking to your employees is the best way to get started with culture management. These discussions provide a benchmark to understand where your culture is headed. But don’t stop there! Here are some additional ways to further develop an inimitable corporate culture:

  1. Look to your core values for guidance. Don’t have core values? Create some. Core values are what make your workplace purpose-driven and help align employees with something greater than themselves.
  2. Reinforce key behaviors that tie to corporate goals with employee recognition.
  3. Hire people that fit your desired culture. Remember, skills can be taught, but employees that do not buy into your culture will not succeed.
  4. Encourage employees to take risks and make mistakes. This reinforces a culture of innovation and great ideas-you never know which employee will think of your next million-dollar idea.
  5. Communicate transparently. Keep employees in the loop by communicating company challenges and changes.
  6. Know where you’re headed. Share the company’s plan for the future with employees, even if it’s constantly changing.
  7. Celebrate success and have fun.

Achievers Software and a Service™ reinforces and inspires the employee behaviors that drive measurable business success. With our award-winning technology, unmatched customer service, and industry-leading expertise, it’s no wonder some of the world’s most successful companies trust Achievers with their most important assets: their employees.

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