Picture this: A workplace on Monday at 8:55 a.m. No rumors are being spread around the water cooler. People aren't fighting over who will make coffee or why they never get a doughnut. There are no late arrivals to report. In fact, workers are anxiously readying their areas for an on-time start to a productive week...Fast forward to Friday at 4:55 p.m. Employees are still assisting clients, without referencing their 5:00 p.m. leave times... Sound good? This fictional workplace could be yours, once you create the culture to support it.
Determine the type of culture that works best for your workplace. Suitable ideas for sales businesses may not translate for consulting or manufacturing businesses. Examine the successes and failures of similar businesses to gain a better understanding of what works. Always keep company workload, employee count and public visibility in mind.
Get rid of toxic personalities. Workplaces rife with bullies, slackers and gossips aren’t good starting points for culture building. Fire workers -- even veterans -- who consistently break rules or who lack ethical standards. No reasonable employee wants to work in a toxic workplace, especially top talent. Bottom line: All workers can’t be Debbie Do Rights, but they should be willing to try.
Retain workers who demonstrate excellence. Recognize the dedication of standout employees to maintain their loyalty and motivate other workers. Show appreciation for extra effort with incentives such as increased vacation time, holiday bonuses and awards. Failing to preserve a solid foundation can lead to a crumbling culture.
Recruit motivated, forward-thinking employees from diverse backgrounds. Acknowledge that hiring the same old Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers is counterproductive. Think outside the cubicle when completing your search. Visit college campuses, industry seminars and job fairs to meet a variety of potential hires. Use social media to tout your desire to build a dynamic corporate culture.
Welcome input from all employees. Explain that the new direction you’re taking requires 100 percent commitment from everyone. Express your desire to incorporate fresh ideas, regardless of their origin. Showing that teamwork and openness are valued encourages compliance with changes. It also builds camaraderie, which can boost chances of success.
Ensure top-to-bottom compliance. Rank doesn't make anyone immune to scrutiny. Late-arriving, slick-talking managers set bad examples for workers who witness their unprofessional behavior. Make it clear that buying into the system is not an option, but a necessity. Encourage workers to correct each other before problems get out of control.
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