Does your company need to improve its work culture?
Is employer branding something that really matters to your business?
What is your reputation in your community, state, or nation - even worldwide? Is it overwhelmingly positive?
Does your business's reputation need an overhaul to be seen as more authentic or as a more desirable place in which to be employed?
Below you will find 8 recommendations for how you can build up your company's culture, branding and authenticity. The article is intended to make you recall, rethink, and then reshape how things are done by management in your place of business.
Beginning with entrepreneurial principles, we will then move into deeper discussions regarding a company's purpose, passion, people, possibilities, production, planning, and priorities.
1. Be a company of strong PRINCIPLES.
Calling upon Merriam-Webster (learnersdictionary.com) for our definitions in this blog, we discover that a PRINCIPLE is a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions.
Go back to your roots. Consider the values and principles upon which the company was established. Create opportunities in which to retell that story to all employees. Revive the entrepreneurial spirit by having the owner(s) share the principles upon which the company was founded. There is passion in principles when it comes to entrepreneurship. Moreover, passion is contagious when presented well and reiterated time and again. That is, your founding principles of operation gain traction when success stories abound and are shared among all employees.
2. Be about a greater PURPOSE.
PURPOSE is the reason why something is done or used; the aim or intention of something; the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something.
Yes, you want your business to make money. However, what is the heart of your business?
Perhaps your product or service is literally changing lives for the better. If so, let that become a primary motivating factor behind all that transpires in the office.
If not, are there local or global causes in which your employees collectively support? A few fine examples would be the children of St. Jude, the United Way, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Malaria No More. Supporting causes in which your employees and their families care a great deal about would also be excellent options.
Give your employees both financial and humanitarian reasons to work hard inside and outside the office. Furthermore, you probably have several employees with a passion for organization and service who would love to take on these company-wide projects. Finally, remember that service outside the office is a great way to build a team chock full of genuine camaraderie.
3. Be about building your employees’ PASSION for your products and services.
PASSION is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.
When it is appropriate and feasible to do so, why not create a way to offer employees perks regarding the same products or services offered to customers? Help them understand the value, benefits and the “why” behind your products and services. Don’t just tell them by way of training – show them!
Building a passion for your products and services will help embed an appreciation of the same - resulting in deeper emotional connections, understanding, and relationships with consumers – even for seemingly distant (from the product) staff such as the accounting or technical employees.
4. Be more appreciative of your PEOPLE.
PEOPLE are the individual human beings who work for you or your company, organization, etc.
Your employees are people of value with real needs, hopes, and obligations. They are working FOR you. True, you pay them, but they are working for your benefit as well as their own.
Why not begin showing your respect and appreciation for them by taking a different approach? Utilize social media and in-house messaging. Find something of true company value to thank them for, then do a quick live video of handshaking and appreciation AND SHARE IT – on LinkedIn, the company website, Twitter, or Facebook - your choice. It’s best if the thank you comes from the president or direct supervisor. Keep it to as little as 10 to 30 seconds of direct acknowledgement and appreciation. It may or may not include a special certificate. You can do this for a lifetime, in cycles or as a one-time project. Just be sure to include all employees. And make certain the acknowledgment is justified with legitimate company value - sincerely worthy of the respect of others.
No need to fret over what to thank them for. Use these suggestions:
a) During the initial interview, ask the candidate what they will bring to the table that the next person may not contribute. Use that trait as a basis for what to look for from the person if you hire them.
b) During annual evaluations, ask the employee what they consider the most important contribution they’ve made to the company that year. Then share with them what you consider their most valuable work to have been and what you appreciate most about them in the workplace. (skill, character, project work, etc.)
c) Certainly, any business related achievements (met or exceeded goals) or educational accomplishments by your employees should be both acknowledged and congratulated.
d) Companies should always acknowledge employee loyalty at various stages: after 5, 10, 15 years, etc.
5. Be sure to honestly convey the idea of POSSIBILITIES of career and financial growth within the company.
A POSSIBILITY is simply the chance that something might exist, happen, or be true; the state or fact of being possible; an ability or quality that could make someone or something better in the future.
Do you care about your employees? Their financial stability? Their chosen career path and career development? If not, perhaps you should start genuinely caring and addressing these matters with your employees from the get-go. Ever heard it said that if it is in your power to do good, do not withhold that good? It’s a good principle to practice. And be up front with your employees. People appreciate knowing the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.
Stress increases when there is a lack of communication regarding things that truly matter to people, but knowledge and truth are empowering. So, begin every relationship with potential employees by including career opportunities and financial possibilities in the conversation, and do not be annoyingly vague.
6. Be sure to trust an employee’s ability to PRODUCE good work.
To PRODUCE is to cause (something) to exist or happen; to cause (a particular result or effect).
Hiring managers understand the importance of building trust between managers and their employees, and each new generation entering the workforce brings its own unique set of challenges.
One positive aspect of Generation Z (a.k.a. Millennials) is their ability to multi-task, focus and even make decisions in under 8 seconds. I’m referring to Z-ers and their smartphones, of course. You’ve heard it before: this generation has an uncanny ability to study for a test, text their friends with advice, and listen to music – all at the same time - and many of them do it quite well.
The office rule of thumb in the past has been . . . unless it’s an emergency or you are on break, please don’t use your cellphone during work hours. However, that rule may need some tweaking as Z-ers make their way into the workplace. Being without their phones is foreign to most of them and to many of their parents as well.
Knowing this, it is very important to set work goals both with them and for them. Establish guidelines on what is attention worthy and what is not. Keep track of what they produce. I believe Z-ers have an exceptional ability to focus and do amazing work even when multi-tasking, and I’ve witnessed it in my own 16-year old daughter. However, she is still young, inexperienced, and in need of guidance, discipline and structure.
Learn to play on Z-ers' strengths and trust them to produce great work, even when you’re not sure you could produce anything remotely great with all the distractions and multi-tasking involved when you have your smartphone in front of you.
7. Be sure to establish a PLAN for meeting Generation Z-ers / Millennials where they are.
A PLAN is a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something.
It is wise to create a plan for your Z-ers once they are hired. Many of them have not worked during their summers since they were 15 years old as the case once was. They’ve been too busy doing other important things. It’s truly a different world that we live in now. So, training will be necessary in many cases. Their professional communication, relationship building, and customer service skills will probably need work, but their computer skills will be spot on. Even if they need some additional technical training, most of them will learn quickly and adapt well.
What do you do? Here are a few suggestions:
a) Consider adjustments to your company’s career training and development opportunities. Keep in mind that Generation Z-ers will prefer hands-on or online types of learning experiences.
b) Consider providing mentors to your Z-ers. Advice from older generations will be invaluable to Z-ers, even if they don't realize it at first. They need guidance in the workplace though there will always be exceptions to this rule. The mentorship should involve kind words, gentle direction, correction, encouragement, creating understanding, actual skill building, and lots of Q & A. But do not assign mentors until you know a little about the employee so that you can make a good mentor match.
Be advised: promote the idea of mentorship first and ask for volunteers for this program. Do not assign individuals who tend to be stressed, angry, constantly complaining, gossiping, or demeaning as mentors . . . ever. You would also need to establish a set of mentor guidelines.
c) Pursue face to face contact with Z-ers to build communication skills and to pull them out of their digital world. It is not remotely healthy for ANY person to sit in front of a computer or smartphone all day.
8. Be sure to make providing quality and value a PRIORITY.
The point is to be a company which honestly focuses on providing and promoting products or services which consumers both need and want. Use the quality and value-added aspects of a product or service to promote it. Authenticity -- talk about a wise and inspiring perspective! Establishing your company as one which both believes in their product and cares about their clients should be a top priority.
According to Victor Schwab, here are some examples of what drives people to buy.
- People want to save time and money.
- They look for low risk and minimal worry.
- Many want to live healthy lifestyles and enjoy their leisure time.
- They are often focused on appearance, self-confidence, security and advancement.
- People want to showcase their individual personality and style.
- They want to be up-to-date, first, creative and efficient.
These are just a few generalizations regarding what people want to be, do, have, and save, but this angle is one for your employees to understand well. They need to see the legitimacy and benefits of your product(s) and service(s). Teach and train them how to promote the quality and value of what you do or sell.
If you put these guiding principles into practice, it is quite likely that your business (as well as its associates) will begin to develop a greater reputation for quality, value, purpose, possibility, and passion. Become a company that cares about those both inside and outside its walls – A COMPANY CULTURE GAME-CHANGER!
To utilize Brannon Professionals' business consulting services, contact us at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622.