Your employees are shaped by your workplace culture. Even the best employees will fail to operate at their peak capability when they're surrounded by under-performing coworkers, especially if your company as a whole fails to value employee contributions. If you're ready to create a cutting edge, high performing culture within your company, these steps will help shape the way every employee within the company views their daily job responsibilities and requirements.
1. Change Your Goals (And How You Measure Them)
Take a look at the goals you share with your employees. How do they line up with the company's current vision?
Many companies are in the middle of a time of serious change and development. Do your employees' goals line up with your current needs and priorities, or do they have performance goals that aren't actually benefiting the company anymore?
One organization, for example, discovered that it was beneficial to remove annual performance reviews. They found that they were placing too much weight on standards that weren't actually beneficial to the company as a whole--and as a result, they were measuring employee performance based on standards that didn't reflect the company's needs.
If you're starting to feel as though your performance goals don't match up with the needs of your industry, try these suggestions:
- Ask yourself what your employees really need to accomplish each day, each week, and each month. What performance goals are genuinely important to your company?
- Consider how your company is supporting your employees in reaching their performance goals. Do they have the tools, funds, and time to complete those tasks?
- Take a look at how each position can help contribute to the company goals. Remember that not every employee has to work at the same speed or accomplish the same tasks. Shape their expectations based on their performance, not based on what is expected of every employee in the company.
2. Remove Arbitrary Measurements of Performance
For generations, it was assumed that hard-working, high performing employees were the ones who were at the office most often. They were the ones who clocked in on time everyday and left when they were supposed to--or perhaps stayed later. For many companies, however, it has become obvious that employee worth is not measured by the clock.
Removing arbitrary measures of performance can help shift company culture and may encourage employees to perform at a higher level while simultaneously improving work/life balance.
For example, you might want to consider these options:
- Allow employees to select their own hours, within reason. If Jason's schedule works better for him if he comes in at 6 and leaves at 2, but Barbara does better coming in at 10 and leaving at 6, they're putting in the same amount of work--and often will put more effort and energy into their work because they aren't wasting that energy struggling to fit their schedules onto the company's time clock.
- Offer flexible working arrangements. Employees may work best if they have the option to work from home some days or the freedom to work four 10-hour shifts or three 12-hour ones instead of a traditional five-day work week.
- Take a look at your vacation and sick leave policies and determine whether or not they are encouraging a healthy workplace environment.
- Consider creating goal-based, rather than hour-based, schedules. If employees are able to meet their goals during a shorter work day, give them the freedom to go home instead of offering make-work tasks or insisting that they find a way to fill the hours.
3. Communicate Effectively, Lead Well
Employees are looking for companies that listen to them. They want to know that you care about and are addressing the problems they face every day, from the need for new technology to problems with their hours. They want collaboration such as the opportunity to work with one another on big projects, rather than constantly competing with one another. Most importantly, they need leaders who are leading through their own actions, not imposing a set of arbitrary standards that they don't hold to themselves.
Try some of these strategies to improve communication within the workplace and enjoy the resulting benefits to your company culture:
- Have an open-door policy which welcomes employees to come in and talk to you as needed.
- Create the opportunity for anonymous feedback, especially if you're in the early stages of improving your company culture. This could be as simple as a drop box outside your office door.
- Offer consistent feedback--not just at annual meetings, but on a regular basis. Employees who feel as though their contributions are appreciated are more likely to work harder for your company.
- Provide challenges for your employees. Give them the ability to work on problems facing your industry or help them move into more challenging roles.
Creating a great workplace culture is one of the best ways to increase performance and engagement throughout a company. If you're looking for the employees who can help you make that happen, contact us today to learn how we can connect you with them.