How Leaders Can Drive A Winning Culture

Written by EO Executives on Oct 17, 2016

Culture is more than just a sign on the wall or a bullet-point list on your company website. Culture is who you stand for – the common values that everyone in your business believes in, and it’s the responsibility of leaders to take this one step further and translate those values into behaviours.

Your company culture is essential to your employee morale, quality of work, and business performance, so turning your values into behaviours across all areas of your business is vital.

So What Can You Do?

For the past six consecutive years, Zappos.com has been recognised by Fortune as one of the 100 best companies to work for. Zappos nurtures and motivates its workers to provide the very best customer service in the industry and in doing so has created a unique company culture. The senior management team has built a distinctive culture dedicated to employee empowerment and the promise of delivering happiness through satisfied customers and valued workforce. Its commitment to consciously and intentionally build a culture that embraces the business’ key values is at the heart of the company’s success story.

Culture is a tough topic and there are no road maps or a defined path that you should follow. Culture is however, a long-term investment, and there are ways in which you can communicate these better than your competitors.

1. Walk The Talk

Leading by example is the most powerful communication tool any leader has access to. To show employees what is expected and encourage them to do the same, the senior management team needs to live and breathe the values of the business every day. A Deloitte study reveals that 73 percent of employees who agree that their companies performed well financially said its executive management team often speaks to them about the core values associated with the culture of the company.

2. Get Pumped For Game Time

If you encourage team work employees will invest more time and energy into their job as they feel they are part of something. Team work grows from a culture of openness and trust between managers and employees. Private Equity firm, Gennex Group, has team meetings each morning to discuss their goal for the day and what they learnt from the previous day, providing an opportunity for employees to air their challenges. The company also provides free breakfast and plays music to get the team ‘pumped’ so the company always has a better day than the previous. Often, companies try to act too formal and too grown up which saps the fun out of the work environment.

3. Share Success

Recognition from a manager is a really important motivator for employees; everyone likes to be recognised for their hard work. Celebrate employees who demonstrate excellent performance and create a working culture where everyone wants to set a good example. Employees say they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

But don’t just limit your appreciation to employees who perform well, also reward individuals who are a great advocate for your values and culture. Some businesses have a separate annual award for the person who is the best representation of the company’s values, as selected by their peers.

4. Hire And Fire On Your Values

Hiring new employees who share your values is equally as important as communicating your desired behaviours to your current employees. Look for three things when considering a new hire: competence, personal character and cultural fit. In the same vein you must also let people go on this basis too. If someone constantly behaves in a different way to your values – even if they are a high achiever – you need to show them the door. 

The reality is that most hires don’t work out as the candidate was hired on past performance but fired on lack of cultural fit, and with the cost of a bad hire often exceeding 3.5 times annual salary it’s definitely not a risk worth taking.

What Next 

Learn how you can use Science and Technology to know in advance whether a new hire will align to your values and be the right cultural fit by downloading our ebook “Eliminating Deception To Make Better Hires

hire smarter, find better candidates

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