Culture 22nd March 2021

How to create – and maintain – a company culture that inspires your staff

A thriving workplace atmosphere is perhaps the ‘holy grail’ for any successful business – especially when trying to navigate a pandemic. Ensuring people stay focused, productive and motivated are all challenges facing modern-day organisations and doesn’t solely rely on the leadership team to keep abreast of anymore – it’s everyone’s job within the company to prioritise culture.

So, how enterprises continue to develop a foundation – with people at its core – even when teams are remotely battling on throughout a global crisis?

When exploring what is meant by the word ‘inspiration’, it’s defined as: “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”

Sounds like utopia doesn’t it? However, when enterprises are faced with the prospect of doing whatever they can to move beyond a pandemic, many firms might put their company culture on the backburner in order to prioritise its overall survival.

However, this could prove to be a catastrophic move because, for the businesses that don’t live and breath their core values, they’re potentially setting themselves up for an impossible task to overcome.

That’s because people are integral to the success – or failure – of an organisation.

Think about all the companies identified in the ‘best places to work’ lists. Why do they secure so many new business opportunities as well as retain clients and top talent? They invest in every employee, listen to how they want to develop their roles, and follow through with promises. By doing this, enterprises are building an environment that embodies a strong, positive culture where staff want to work and feel supported.

When all that happens, teams perform at their very best – and continue to do so, as they feel valued.

Business leaders have learnt many lessons since the coronavirus outbreak, but one that stands out is just how important employees are when it comes to business continuity. They can be the key to driving morale so that fellow colleagues dig deep when it matters, strengthen those all-important stakeholder relationships to maintain loyalty, and help to attract and retain valuable team members.

So, when it comes to ‘inspiring’ one another, while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy to enforce, there are ways in which managers can be doing more – all without breaking the bank. Take the time to talk to the existing workforce to find out what needs to be addressed, the strategic improvements to make and how to leverage skill sets to boost morale and productivity. And then consider…

Empowering leaders throughout the team

Many forward-thinking organisations are operating with flatter structures because they understand that people don’t have to be managing directors, CEOs, or founding members to play a pivotal role in the growth and motivation of a workforce.

Agile processes mean swifter, more positive, and business-critical decisions can be made. Individuals that are encouraged to make their voices heard are more likely to bring new ideas, innovations, and strategies to the table too.

Providing a safe and secure environment to be autonomous

Those that discourage innovative thinking, dictate the day-to-day tasks and are generally seen to micro-manage teams may experience a high staff turnover. This isn’t a coincidence.

Providing the correct tools, guidance and development for individuals makes them feel more accountable for their actions because they’re trusted to find solutions. A culture built on integrity motivates others to do more – and that can be a powerful thing when offering a sense of inspiration to others coming through the ranks.

Accepting failure as an opportunity to improve

Some of the best leaders are not shy about the mistakes they’ve made because it’s only human to make errors in life.

A great culture is one that acknowledges when things don’t always go to plan – and encourages employees to learn from each mishap. How everyone bounces back is just as important as celebrating every success, so it’s vital not to make employees feel scared to fail either.

Celebrating success

In the same breath as learning lessons, there’s also nothing wrong with enjoying the good times too. If an employee has secured a new business win or a team has been shortlisted for a trade award – these things are just as important for morale, especially when people are working remotely and want to stay connected.

Joyous moments help to motivate others and that virtual pat on the back can go a long way towards maintaining productivity and inspiring colleagues to strive for more.

Setting and achieving targets

Whether monthly one-to-one reviews with line managers or consistent support via video calls, mentoring and personal development plans, each touchpoint should guide and support staff members – helping them to drive towards individual, achievable goals.

It’s not solely about introducing KPIs and then leaving them to gather dust on the shelf or be buried in an inhouse HR folder, following through with clear and effective communication can ensure that goals are met by both employees and their managers.

All the above pointers form part of an overall, strategic plan that requires time and investment if a business is to commit to building a working environment that inspires staff members to do more. Developing a team of people who live and breath core values also helps to harness the direction of an enterprise’s success or failure – and can underline how it’s seen to the ‘outside world’.

Overall, when statistics reveal that organisational cultures have 72% higher employee engagement ratings compared to weaker counterparts, can leaders really afford to ignore this majority when it comes to building a foundation with culture firmly at its core?

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