What do the companies that get it right consistently have in common? Aside from a powerful, single-minded ambition, they have a myopic focus on developing, maintaining and protecting company culture; and they design programs, processes and practices to ensure individuals are encouraged to thrive in a way that supports the company's mission. Here are 6 simple ways to reinvigorate your company culture and show your employees that they are valued, respected and an integral part of your company's journey to success.
1. Change Titles
Language matters. The words we choose bring with them expectations, attitude, values and respect. Many companies are choosing to do away with the traditional boss/subordinate titles in favor of titles that reflect the relationship they are trying to foster: one that is centered on nurturing and development, not subordinate ownership. For example, WL Gore call team members 'associates' and bosses 'sponsors'. Automatically, this makes it clear to all that the role of the senior is to support, encourage and develop their team. Subtle language changes can shift the very fabric of working relationships. Choose your titles wisely.
2. Rotate Meeting Hosts
Meetings get boring. We take too many, too often and let them run too long. One way to shake up this pattern is to rotate the host position of a standard weekly meeting. This has the added benefits of allowing junior talent to shine and also adds dynamism and a new energy to the mundane weekly meeting. Companies like method cleaning products make a habit of rotating the chair of their meetings; and encourage each host to add their own flair to the meeting.
3. Keep The Consumer Close
Bringing the consumer to life within your office is a sure fire way to make sure your team remember ultimately who they are there to serve: not each other, not politics and not internal process - but the consumer. There are many ways to do this; you can create a digital wall that rotates your social media presence in real-time, you can create team meetings where you share consumer letters, phone transcriptions or emails, you can send your team on real-world missions where they have to partake in activities our consumers do or invite consumers in to your offices for a monthly 'fireside chat'. Anything you can do to make the consumer feel real to your employees will allow teams to focus on pleasing consumers, not eachother.
4. Bring In External Stimulus
It's critical your staff feel like their development is taken seriously. It's a way to show respect, commitment and belief in your talent. Bringing in external stimulus is a strong way to show that your team are valued while also bringing powerful new insight into your office. You can bring in external speakers, create an engaging activity or set teams off on real-world missions (similar to the above). LinkedIn host monthly 'InDays' (short for Inspiration Days) that are jammed-full of mind opening activities. There are inspiring speakers, events and team challenges that are a world away from employees' everyday task lists. You don't need to commit to a full day each month; but an hour or two each week is a small investment with a big pay-off.
5. Promote Internally
If your team know their hard work will be rewarded, they are much more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty. For example, Pixar only allow current employees to pitch the next blockbuster for selection. This is contrary to industry standards that welcome pitches from external writers, producers and directors. This alluring carrot encourages teams to pursue brilliance as there's a clear reward in sight for putting in the hard work. It also shows leadership's belief in the people it hires; which in turn fuels a culture of both passion and performance.
6. Steer Teams Towards Self-Directed Work
Many companies now, like Tesla, Zappos and Stumbleupon have done away with traditional reporting structures in favor of creating self-directed teams. These teams are assigned a very specific problem to crack. For example; increase consumer advocacy in millennials, or make the sign-up process less burdensome and faster. It is then up to the assigned team to figure out how to crack it, what metrics to track and what delivery timeline to adhere to. This structure means that teams are fully invested in the project and its outcomes. And because the workplan is entirely the team's creation - they take their jobs personally. The result? Motivated, energized and engaged staff working against challenges that matter to the business.