What does a great corporate culture look like? Some may say that it’s a culture where craft beer can be poured directly from taps in your lunch room. Or where lunch is catered in twice a week, and you play inter-office softball once a week. While these are all great activities that can have an impact on retention, engagement and recruiting, are these definitions diluting what corporate culture really is?
In this recent article from Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink, she thinks so. Corporate culture, in fact, stems from the work people do everyday, and whether they value it.
Even if there’s an air hockey table in the corner of the break room, if your people spend their days attending meetings, answering emails and filling out reports, then your culture isn’t improving. That sort of busywork isn’t enough to satisfy employees. Instead, leadership should eye giving employees responsibilities that directly impact the company’s future or have purpose outside the office. In addition, they should invest in people to develop their skills and improve their career prospects.
This sort of focus on meaningful work and talent development builds better culture more effectively than foosball tables and hoodies do. Instead of surface-level touch-ups, executives should develop organizational values from the inside out.Bodell shared a number of ways to do this:
Meetings are maxed out
There are simply too many meetings on workers’ daily agendas, BLR explained. Sprint figured this out after reviewing every meeting over the course of the year. The telecommunications company eventually cut 30 percent of those meetings. They’re often time-wasters. Audit your own business’ annual meetings and consider scrapping the less effective ones. Some companies, such as Airbnb, even designate certain days as “meetingless” to ensure uninterrupted workflow.
Avoid responsibilities adding up
Sometimes we accept tasks until there are just too many. Instead, Bodell suggested, implement a rule stating that any new responsibility should replace an old one. Switching out tasks, instead of letting them add up, will ensure employees don’t get too stressed out and remain productive.
Treat training like a right
Every employee should have access to development programs aimed at improving their career prospects and expanding their skill sets. Investment in people will improve their abilities to get certain tasks done, help with succession planning and improve job satisfaction. Show employees you care about them by developing and implementing training programs for employees.
Review your reports
Are all of those reports your employees are filling out and filing even worth it? Possibly not, especially if duplicate information is being recorded elsewhere in the company. Audit reports to determine whether they’re productive or wasting employees’ time. This can free up time on people’s schedules, make certain processes more efficient and ultimately make work feel more meaningful.
I’d like to sign off with this great quote from Bodell: “Become the company known for its culture of action and innovation, instead of the one that schedules 14 meetings before considering a new idea … and happens to have a ping-pong table”