Whether you’re a start-up looking to build a healthy company culture from the start, or perhaps your organization has a long standing structure, well established policies and procedures, even a solid history of growth…but the competition is only getting tougher and tougher. A company with a high performing culture is more likely to stand the test of time than one that operates to the likes of a 1950’s management style. With market saturation in so many industries, corporations’ increasing demands for more profitable growth, and as a result, trimming head count, a high performing culture will help you achieve profitable growth that’s sustainable and give you a competitive edge.
Here are 7 elements that help create a high performing culture:
- Trust your employees – Trust should be the foundation of your business, regardless of whether you are a start-up, family owned, or multi-million dollar corporation. Your employees are extension of you, extension of upper management, and have the ability to steer your company towards growth and expansion. When there is an underlying sense of distrust, employees are less likely to be motivated to perform to the best of their ability. Establishing trust with your employees implies you have each other’s best interest in mind, that you are both working towards the same goal. It also give employees a sense that they are supported, which could further encourage them to perform to their potential.
- Include employees in developing company infrastructure – Let employees be part of the process development. Allowing all areas of the organization to have a voice and work together will ensure that all interests are aligned towards a common goal. The key is to make sure the process makes sense and ultimately helps you achieve success. When employees are part of the process development, it establishes a stronger connection to adhering to the process. In addition, it makes way for employees to take individual ownership in the level of output as a team.
- Manage from a macro level – In other words, don’t micro manage. There is nothing more demotivating to a team, than for management to be constantly on top of employees to get their job done. This goes back to the first point: Trust. Instill employees with trust that when given a task, there is no need to hang over their shoulder to get it done. Allow employees to have some creative control in how they perform a task a long as it doesn’t negatively impact the environment or business. Put emphasis on your employees’ progress, not on whether they are achieving perfection. Again, this sense of autonomy encourages ownership and motivates employees to achieve a high level of performance.
- Allow employees, to manage their own schedule – Allowing employees the freedom and flexibility to set their own hours or even work remotely will make them happier employees, and in turn better performers. Employees who set their own schedules are happier and have a better work/life balance because they can be present, fully present, both at work, and outside of work. This also is another way to show your employee you trust they will get the job done, but at the same time, you realize they, like you, are human and things come up: doctor’s appointments, soccer games, and school functions. Allowing autonomy with schedule also helps ensure those hours they are working, are more productive, because they are fully focused and not trying to multi-task with non-work related activities.
- Foster Team Building – A cohesive team is a high performing team. Having a social connection on a level that is deeper than a group of individuals performing tasks drives performance up exponentially. The more connected employees are to one another, the more likely they will not want to be the one to let down the team and will be motivated to perform to the best of their ability. Having a personal connection to your team also fosters a willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done. Be sure to have a balance of both business related and non-business related team building activities to ensure that a social connection is established and help them better to work through similar situations they could encounter in their day to day.
- Don’t overbook internal meetings – We have all been there….meetings about meetings (about meetings). Have your team develop ground rules that are the company standard when it comes to internal meetings. More and more, time is wasted in our already hectic days, attending meetings, that many times are unnecessary. A good way to combat this is to shorten meeting times. Set a limit of 15, 30 or 45 minutes for a meeting. Shortening the time will narrow the focus or topic of discussion and it encourages everyone involved to stay on point and not veer off track with side chatter.
- Include employees in creating company values and your mission statement – Even if your company has been in business for many years, business evolves, people come and go, the world we live in is constantly changing. Make sure your company values are not out-dated. It is getting tougher and tougher to compete no matter what industry you are in, so maybe it’s time to re-look your company mission and values and include employees in the process. Allowing employees to have a voice, again brings a sense of ownership and will increase employee loyalty, having a vested interest in the future of the company.
Instilling a sense of trust, acknowledging the humanity in all of us, and honouring that above all else will set a strong foundation for a high performing culture to emerge. Giving employees the ability to take ownership in their roles and allowing them a voice will increase employee satisfaction, which will in turn boost morale, motivation and productivity. All in all, an environment where there is trust, inclusion and a sense of autonomy will facilitate a high performing culture.