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Creating a Thriving Culture

Culture is a big deal world today. People in business, church, school, community tend to complain about the culture or environment without realizing that THEY are the culture and the environment. Everyone is responsible for it.Jon Gordon says, “Culture is defined and created from top down but it comes to life from the bottom up.” Essentially he is telling us that a leader has to have the courage to define and create culture, and the team players/employees have to have the courage to live it out and call others to it as well. The responsibility belongs to everyone.It’s like marriage—in a divorce we often talk about “the innocent party.” But that’s a misnomer. There is no completely innocent party. You contributed to the failure by what you did or didn’t do. It’s the same thing with culture. We all contribute to the success or failure.Sometimes culture grows like Topsy. No one is planning or overseeing it. The interactions of the people in the organization develop it, for good or bad. Nobody was thinking what they wanted to happen. They just became. Some leaders think through what they want their organization to become, but it doesn’t always materialize.Why is a good organizational culture important?

  • Quality of work is improved. Less monitoring is required by managers and team leaders, and the work of the employees is of a higher value.

  • New employees buy into the company more efficiently and deeply.They are more engaged, motivated to succeed and display more loyalty.

  • Teamwork is encouraged. An increase in group cohesiveness is one of the most powerful by-products of a good organizational culture.

  • Informal learning occurs. In any work environment, only 10% of what your employees learn comes from the formal training content – the rest they pick up on the job and by interacting with their colleagues.

This creates a good team working environment and engaged employees. Clearly a good culture is something worth cultivating. If you want to be one who shapes the organization purposefully here's what you need to know to shape your organization's culture purposefully.Senior Leaders are the ones who can change the culture effectively. If you want to start improvement and make it positively contagious, here’s some starting pointers.

  1. Listen to your employees. When teams feel unheard, they feel unvalued, and toxicity begins. The stats say that 75% of employees would stay longer at an organization that listens to and addresses their concerns.65% of employees who don’t feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are actively disengaged. (Gallup)

  2. Communication is key. When you deliberately share and effectively communicate themission, vision and values, the team begins to identify shared goals. They feel less like a part of a machine and more like a key part of something significant. Employees who say their organizational values are “known and understood” are 51 times more likely to be fully engaged than an employee who responds that their organization does not have values that are known and understood (Modern Survey)

  3. Collaborate, don’t isolate. Collaboration reinforces the team concept. Team members can offer support to each other and overcome challenges together. It builds the company. 6% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Clear Company)

  4. Develop transparency. Transparency with your employees is key to building trust, leading to improved corporate culture. A weekly post about what’s happening at a corporate level is a sure-fire way to inspire your team. 50% of employees say bosses sharing information and data has a significant positive impact on productivity and motivation (HubSpot)

  5. Follow the leader. Culture needs to be nurtured.This begins at the top and works down. Managers need to become leaders and demonstrate that they buy into the organizations core beliefs. 89% of workers with leadership support are more likely to recommend company as a good place to work (American Psychological Association). 35% of Millennials say strong leadership defines a good work culture (Staples)52% of HR pros cite management buy-in as the biggest barrier to strengthening culture (CultureIQ)

  6. Provide regular feedback. The team needs regular feedback if they going to line up their performance with your culture. A very occasional meeting isn’t good enough. Praise the behavior that match your values and develop areas that need improvement. When you regularly report and encourage, teamwork grows. 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback feel fulfilled in their jobs (Clutch)

  7. Provide meaningful training. Training will build enthusiastic superheroes. Highly engaged employees are more than three times as likely to do something good for the company that is not expected of them (Temkin Group)

  8. Get gamified. Employing game-like tactics and making it fun raises engagement. Provide badges, rewards, and fun. Leaderboards are magnetic! Research by the Aberdeen Groupdiscovered organizations who deploy gamification improve engagement by 48%.

  9. Reward your employees. Reward your employees for actions that best represent the organizational culture that you seek. Recognition reduces turnover and lengthens the life of your culture. giving your organizational culture longevity. Companies that score in the top 20% for building a ‘recognition-rich culture’ have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

  10. Give a challenge. Challenge and opportunity for development lets your employees know you are invested in them. They will be loyal to your organizational culture. 76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture (Execu-Search)Employees who get the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with their company (Gallup)

These tips should get you on the way to a thriving culture.

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