In a prior blog, Developing a Winning Culture, I mentioned that there are over 20,000 resources on Amazon (alone) on the topic of culture. Indeed, a lot has been said.
When it comes down to it, culture is not simply about free bagels, beer on tap, nap rooms or ping pong tables. Recently, I was visiting a good friend of mine at the company’s Atlanta headquarters that he was working at. It’s a pretty famous company, housing around 3,500 employees locally. They spent a lot of money on this facility, and decked it out with hoteling work spaces, cool eating options, games and lots of collaborative space.
My friend gave me a tour of the facility, and I thought to myself tepidly – “Well, okay.”
I thought that because, at the end of the day, culture is a feeling deeper than the momentary joy free food or games can bring. It’s about feeling valued, significant, empowered and trusted. It’s about feeling like you matter to the organization in which you work. And it’s about being treated as a human being.
You want to feel invested in, inspired, and like you're a part of something bigger than yourself.
The days of “cute” perks being unique are over. There’s nothing wrong with offering such amenities to your team, and they can certainly sweeten the deal. But if that is how you define your culture, and you expect your employees to remain loyal and do their best work because of this alone, you may be in for a tough lesson.
You want genuinely happy employees because companies with happy employees outperform the competition by over 20%. And one Gallup poll showed that employees, on average, would prefer workplace well-being to material benefits. This well-being comes from one place, and one place only: a positive, supportive environment.
Here at LocatorX, we genuinely care and are interested in our colleagues as friends. We’re here to support one another so that we can be resilient in good times and bad. We encourage innovation and creativity, and consistently challenge the status quo in how we conduct business. We want every team member to feel like they are special, and that they can indeed make a difference in our success, and their own professional growth. And lastly, we treat each other with sincere respect, gratitude, trust and integrity.
We want each of our team members to have a voice, and we respect those voices. The sometimes-lost art of simple communication – talking, listening, and engaging – seems elementary. But with a plethora of available technologies changing how we interact, that most basic communication is often forgotten.
Organizations thrive when teams communicate, both internally and externally, with the human element at the heart of it all.
If you want to challenge your cultural state, here’s a bit of an exercise for you. Go around to your team members and ask them, “What does success look like?” and “How does your personal success equate to success for your department and the business in general?”
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “Hey, what simple, obvious questions". I thought so too until I tried this on a steady basis in a prior company. The observations were intriguing as so many employees were lost in their responses, primarily because we (manager and employee) lost the art, and effort, of communication.
Try it sometime. And to be sure, free bagels and soft drinks won’t be the stimulus for the great answer on “success".