Create a Lively Company Culture

Sunday night cues the beginning of the end for millions of people across the world.  Realizing that once you nod off there is no escape from the dreaded Monday.  Recent global reports expose an ugly truth; 87% of people are disengaged at work.  A recent Payscale report list places Google (#2) and Amazon (#4) in terms of least loyal employees (i.e. highest employee turnover).

But they are laser focused on employee engagement and culture, how is turnover so high? Perhaps hiring ONLY the “best and brightest” is not always the answer.

Several years ago I worked at a start-up which was my favorite job ever (other than starting my company).  I was in charge of recruiting and employer branding and had success based on a simple rule; promote our culture of “be yourself”.

Everyday was fun, work was always completed and culture was employee managed.  Food, celebrations and games were regular occurrence (and did not always require a reason)….but that is not what made it lively.  People being themselves made the culture.  We hired driven people who enjoyed having fun.

There was no “secret sauce” but several of these principles applied;

No More HR Police
Beer on Friday, flip-flops, shorts and graphic t-shirts.  You have hired professional adults to do grown up stuff, let them dress themselves.  Focus on strategy and driving business.

Hire for Culture
HR should market the culture and make sure potential new hires have an honest picture.  People need to know what they will walk into day one with no surprises.

Open Communication
Employees deserve to know what’s going on with the business they dedicate 50+ hours per week.  Host regular meetings where employees can speak their minds with no repercussions.  Everyone appreciates honesty and openness.  It’s a relationship, treat it as such.

Involve Employees in the Business
The biggest mistake executives make; not listening to employees, especially the ones doing the job day-to-day.  When was the last time your Director of Operations went to the warehouse and requested advice from employees?  Who better to ask about logistics or cost cutting than the people doing it everyday?

Employees are Selfish (so are you)
Let’s be honest, most employees are not having conversations with their significant other about “making my employer more successful”.  Accept the reality that people want what’s best for them.  Cut the one-sided “company ra ra” crap and offer them opportunities to grow and learn for their future (chances are you got them 3-5 years max anyway).

Lively culture is not manufactured in a process flow chat.  People create cultures, just make sure you hire the right ones and let them be themselves.

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