Do you want your company to have open floor plans, casual clothing every day, and loose guidelines on when to clock in and out? Or maybe formal clothes, strict clock-in times, and daily planning meetings?
All the different practices that characterize your business—from the clothes your employees wear to the values everyone shares—define your company culture as a whole.
The best way to transform your company culture to take it to the next level is by employing the three “I”s: identify your current culture, imagine the culture you’d like for your company, and implement steps to make it happen!
Step 1: Identify
The first step to transforming and fostering a strong company culture is identifying the current culture, especially the elements you may want to see changed in the future. Here are some questions you should be asking that’ll help you identify what your current company culture looks like.
It's also a good idea to engage your employees in this step to understand how they view the culture.
1. How do employees act on the job?
It’s important to keep in mind that your employees should be acting in a way that fits their role. If that isn’t the case, that is definitely something to identify.
2. What are employees doing and saying?
You wouldn’t want employees horsing around in a law firm, or making distasteful jokes in a medical practice. Identify how your employees are behaving and think about how you expect them to act.
3. What values, habits, practices, and behaviors do employees share?
Your employees will likely share commonalities in what they value, how they feel about the company, what they think about their line of work, etc. It’s important to identify these aspects of their work life so that you can help make sure that your employees are happy and productive.
Step 2: Imagine
Now, it’s time to imagine what kind of culture you’d like to have for your company. What did you identify that you wanted to change? What elements would you like to keep?
Your new culture should align heavily with the company’s mission and goals, as well as the values you and your employees find important. Make sure your imagined culture doesn’t stray too far from the existing one — trying to change too much too quickly could hurt your company’s future, so pick and choose a few from the list below:
1. Strong, effective, and transparent communication
People are happiest when they know what’s going on. Having strong, effective, and transparent communication with your employees will go a long way in keeping them satisfied.
2. Happy and motivated employees
Sometimes, a simple paycheck isn’t that motivating. Find motivators, like offering creative perks to your employees, to spice things up and keep your team on their feet.
3. Strong leadership
Who can you already see as the next leaders of your company? If you can’t think of anyone, perhaps it’s time to start bringing in some outside leadership.
4. A solid mission
What’s your mission statement? Find something both you and your team can agree on and work towards.
5. Trust across the board
Trust is big in any realm of life, whether it’s work-related or not. Make sure to instill a culture of trust from both sides, from you to your team and vice versa.
6. Encouraged innovation
Having incentives for finding new and creative ways to accomplish tasks will motivate your team to find better solutions to your problems.
7. Committed employees
Give your employees reasons to be happy to come to work every day.
8. An efficient workplace
There’s nothing wrong with having employees that are great friends and love to chat, but it’s important to make sure that everyone gets their work done, too.
9. Opportunity for skill development
Give your employees opportunities to advance their skills and learning, which will both make them happier and provide you with you more proficient employees.
Step 3: Implement
Out with the old, in with the new: after you’ve decided what elements you want to lose and which you'd like to add, you need to implement — the hardest step!
To effectively execute a new company culture, start with small, reasonable steps that can make an immediate impact. Don't expect drastic changes to happen overnight, but these small implementations are the stepping stones to achieving long-term goals.
1. Brainstorm changes to policies and practices with your team
With your team — that is key. Culture change doesn’t start or end with just one person; it takes a team effort.
2. Ask yourself and your team: is this change doable?
If it’s not, go back and re-imagine. Come up with goals and expectations that are more realistic but still have a positive impact.
3. Create a model
Include the changes you are making, long-term changes you want to see, and what you want your company to ultimately look like.
4. Share with your entire team
Keep all of your employees in the loop and get them on board. Once everyone is on the same page, you’ll soon start to see the right changes in the right places.
Company culture is always evolving, especially with members continually coming and going. Don’t be afraid to get rid of pieces that don’t fit with the culture you want and seek out those who will.
Even though the change has to start with you, a successful transformation results from having your entire team on board. Remember: even though there are three “I”s to transforming your company culture, there certainly is no “I” in team!