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3 Ways To Build a Better Company Culture

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Businesses today have more to worry about than simply turning a profit. Developing a strong company culture has become a vital part of maintaining a successful business. Culture sets the tone for your company’s goals and vision, and provides a direction toward which all work is focused.

 

A strong company culture cultivates happier employees which can lead to increased productivity. According to the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, in the workplace, “happiness made people around 12% more productive.” Having happy employees also means lower turnover, ultimately improving your bottom line.

And although having a winning culture is something that’s readily stressed, according to a Bain & Company survey, fewer than 10 percent of the 365 companies surveyed actually established a winning culture.


Here are three tips to help you better your company culture:


Don’t Hire on Cultural Fit

The number one thing you can do to build a better company culture is not to hire on culture fit. While this sounds counterintuitive, companies that admitted to hiring employees solely on cultural fit saw slower growth than those who didn’t. This was likely because they became plagued by groupthink - a phenomenon when a group thinks collectively as one mind, becoming concerned with maintaining unity than individually evaluating situations, alternatives and options. Instead of people having constructive debates and providing a variety of ideas, these companies see fewer ideas and stagnation.


According to the Harvard Business Review, “You get more and better ideas if people are working alone in separate rooms than if they’re brainstorming in a group.”   


Adam Grant, who is recognized as one of the world's 25 most influential management thinkers suggests that “instead of looking for people who fit the culture, ask what’s missing from your culture, and select people who can bring that to the table.” This in turn will help your company produce more novel ideas and cultivate a culture of originality.

 

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Establish Your Core Values

There is a distinct difference between culture fit and core value alignment. Culture fit is a superficial short cut that looks for people who are alike, which can lead to a lack of diversity and ideas. Core value alignment, however, is driven by shared beliefs on critical issues. Now to be clear, having employees that align with your company's core values doesn’t necessarily mean people will take the same approach to a given task, and that’s fine. Quite frankly, it should be encouraged to avoid groupthink.


By developing a set of core values and seeking out employees who align with these values helps set a clear direction of operations  within your company, and assures you have passionate employees to help the business grow.


Seek Employee Feedback

Developing a strong company culture isn’t a one time ordeal, but rather something you want to constantly cultivate and refine.


One way to do this is to seek feedback from your employees on a regular basis.


Often, managers are risk-averse and are timid to make changes when things appear to be going well. So by staying engaged and getting feedback on the current state of the company's culture, managers gain the necessary insights needed to make positive changes.


There are many ways to go about gathering feedback. Company-wide surveys or weekly one-on-one meetings are both simple, effective options, while larger companies like Apple prefer to use analytical tools to measure employee satisfaction and get feedback.


By developing strong  core values and seeking out employees who align with them, and regularly gauging workplace satisfaction, you'll strengthen your company culture and drive your business forward.

 

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