A new company culture: how to establish one, and why you need to
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Almost everyone hates Mondays, but imagine how much worse it would be if you hated every day of the week. This can be the case when a company's culture is not working; leading to low morale and a fall in productivity.
You may have had a great company culture back in early 2020 but with over 18 months out of the office for some of your workforce and perhaps on furlough, that culture will be hard to get back. In this post we'll talk about why you need a new company culture now and what steps you can take to get it.
We mentioned above that it helps morale, but the right company culture is also important for behaviour, commitment and performance. A return to the office and perhaps working, will be daunting for many so giving them a clearer idea of what they're returning to (beyond the day-to-day responsibilities of the job) will help that transition go more smoothly. The right culture will help bring your staff back together and make them feel more energised and engaged in their work.
So how do you do it?
Review the old culture
Think about what you had before and assess which elements can be kept and which are no longer suitable. The way you communicated and the values you followed in February 2020 could be worlds apart from how they are in September 2021 and maybe that is ok. By conducting a review of the old company culture you will be able to restore professionalism and respect while embracing the new, positive ideas and approaches that have been derived from pandemic working.
Look at how your workforce has changed
It's likely your workforce will look quite different to the one you had over 18 months ago. Perhaps you've just done a recruitment drive, or maybe you've had to make redundancies or even pivoted how you work and what you do. The demographic of your workforce will impact the culture so make sure you have a clear idea of who makes up your business before putting any new plans in place.
Consider what the internal view of the culture is
Get a snapshot of what people love about the company and what they think are the key values of the business via a short poll. This will provide you with a great steer on which direction to take. Venture too far away from your employees' perceptions of the business and at best you'll find the new culture doesn't stick and at worst, you may lose some of your key staff.
You might discover that everyone has become so used to not being in the office that they don’t even remember what the old company culture looked like, presenting you with the perfect opportunity to create something new.
Launch the Company Culture 2.0 as early as you can before employees return
Send a communication out to every member of staff and include new joiners who haven’t yet started to set out what the new culture entails. It needs to be informal, creative, positive and exciting but most of all, it needs to be clear. Your employees can’t embrace a new culture if they don’t understand it. Showcase how you want people to behave and how you're company is different and better now because of those behaviours.
This communication could form part of the build-up to employees returning to get them excited about being back with their colleagues and reduce any nervousness about being back in the office. From the moment employees walk in on their first day, you want the new culture to be in place with everyone abiding by the company values. This will create a sense of unity and help new employees onboard more quickly.
Shout about it externally and internally
Show your pride in your business and its culture both externally (through social media and ads) and internally by creating campaigns across your intranet and internal emails too.
Something as important as this should be constantly promoted to staff to keep their behaviours aligned so make it visible in your offices somehow. You may not be able to change your physical layout or workspace but you can make some changes that will show company identity: company colours on walls, photos from company events at which company values were promoted, a display of company values or a company slogan.
Lead by example
Reinforce company culture with management and HR practices. If you want different behaviour, then the way managers and HR people behave and communicate is key.
When you've decided that company culture is important for your business success, it should be treated as an essential element of leadership rather than something delegated to HR or marketing.
With company culture mattering now more than ever, make sure you take these steps to establish one that will help your business thrive and grow.
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