The culture is the pulse of an organization. It shapes how things are done. One quick glimpse into the culture of a team can help you understand their values, beliefs, and customs. And when the organizational culture is positive and thriving - everyone is happier. But how can you build a thriving culture?
1.) Define Core Values
What's important to you? What behaviors do you want to see on a daily basis? What are the traits that your ideal employees possess? What is the difference between acceptable performance and excellent performance? Defining your core values - whether they're empathy, integrity, or otherwise - acts as a guidebook. It helps people understand what's okay and what's ideal.
2.) Build Candor and Transparency
Do people feel comfortable speaking up about a new idea? If someone does something harmful, will witnesses feel safe reporting the behavior? If a mistake is made, are people able to acknowledge it without fear of retribution? By building transparency and honesty, employees will feel a sense of psychological safety that allows them to be more innovative and take creative risks.
3.) Encourage Peer Collaboration
Do people work in silos? Are teammates comfortable relying on one another for help and support? Is the atmosphere fostering collaboration or competition between peers? Teamwork can be a powerful strategy for meeting organizational goals and building a positive culture. Employees should be encouraged to collaborate and support one another.
4.) Use Recognition
Can peers praise one another openly? Are there opportunities to highlight each other's wins and successes? How easily can a teammate publicly recognize another team member's contribution? Ultimately, recognition can be one of the most powerful strategies for transforming culture. Building systems for recognition not only encourages the positive behavior that you want people to continue doing, but it builds a sense of value, appreciation, and belongingness in the person being recognized.
5.) Seek Feedback
How motivated do people feel? How appreciated do they feel? Do they feel like their contributions are valued by their manager? What about their peers? The best way to assess and understand the culture of your organization is to ask people - and it shouldn't be a one-time form of data collection. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the culture should be an on-going practice - over time you may notice trends around certain time periods, certain departments, or within certain groups. The more data you have, the better able you are to act on it.