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5 Ways Leaders Can Shape Organizational Culture

Organizational culture has become the ultimate buzzword in recent years. With almost every company trying to improve their culture, it seems to be one of those terms that is often used and less often understood. What is it? And how does it affect you as an employer?

Organizational culture, at its simplest, is how things are done at the company. This encompasses your missions and values, what level of work-life balance is provided, and whether teamwork or autonomy is encouraged. It also includes factors that can impact the day-to-day satisfaction of your staff, from the office layout to how fast-paced the environment is.

In short, culture is the backbone of an organization. And guess what? Leadership can make or break it. According to our 2019 Hiring Outlook, 88% of working professionals feel that the actions of executive leadership affect the overall company culture at their organization. This means that the choices leaders make, their communication style, and how they handle success and failures can have a positive or negative ripple effect on employee engagement and performance. If employees don’t feel a strong connection to the company culture, they will find an organization that they are a better fit for.

Keep in mind that developing a strong organizational culture can not only help you retain your best employees, but also cultivates a good reputation that will attract new talent. As a leader, if you think your culture has room for improvement, here are 5 simple ways to create a better experience for your team:

Participate

Leaders who want their team to commit to the culture, need to commit as well. This means being present at events, getting excited about new services or product launches, and connecting with staff. In order for these efforts to be effective, however, you need to be consistent.

Walk the walk

To consistently reinforce the company culture and values, leaders must exemplify the qualities they expect of their staff and model the behaviors they want practiced. There will be greater team buy-in when leadership is engaged with the company’s objectives and values, which will help bring employees together and unite toward a common goal.

Recognize hard work

It’s all too easy to overlook the power of a thank you. To show that you are paying attention, however, it’s important to recognize your team’s accomplishments. Whether this comes in the form of a promotion or a company-wide shout out, creating a feedback-rich environment is a great way to get your employees excited about their impact and eager to do more.

Be transparent

All employees—regardless of title or tenure—should have the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process. Rather than treating employees as cogs in a machine, leadership should make the effort to be more forthcoming with new initiatives, listen to employee feedback, and encourage collaboration across departments.

Create traditions

Give your employees opportunities to get to know one another away from a formal work setting and revel in their success. Planning events that occur regularly, like an annual holiday celebration or a quarterly community service event, will not only build trust and relationships among your employees, but also help them feel more connected to the company. Read also: When Building Your Company Culture, Think Outside Of The Office