What’s on your mind when it comes to strategic investments this year, next year and even 3 to 5 years out?
If your organization is similar to others, productivity, talent acquisition, talent cultivation, and marketing might top the list.
But how do these areas relate to or connect with company culture? After all, culture is really the driving factor of many of the positive, desired outcomes that you’re looking for.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these investment areas.
When you break down improving productivity, it’s really about doing more with the same amount (or doing the same amount with less). Productivity can be in any of these areas, to name a few:
· Higher sales and profit margins
· Saved expenses or lower costs
· Improved support systems
· Better communication
· More efficient operations
· Streamlined workflows
· A result of something new or innovation
But the way you achieve these outcomes is really about culture! Just think of what can get in the way of being more productive at work: Breakdowns in communication, colleagues that aren’t trained well, people who aren’t motivated, decisions that waste money, the list goes on and on. Some of those things might be more intentional, and many are not intentional, but just a byproduct of the normal way people are showing up to work each day.
To start to invest in your culture to help improve productivity, you need to get as clear as you can. To start, ask: What do you want people to be doing individually, as a team, and as an organization? What do you want to be sure they are not doing? (1)
Is this clearly defined for people? You may think it is, but it might not be.
You can also get more clear on what “being more engaged” or “being more productive” at work looks like for each person in their role.
For example, imagine a trucking company that would like to reduce the number of collisions they are having. By doing so, they would not only be safer, but they would be more productive as a company.
Through investment in data analysis, this company identifies a precautionary behavior that could eliminate as much as 73 percent of these incidents. The specific behavior: they ask drivers to engage their turn signal and listen for the clicking sound three times before to looking in their mirror to begin to change lanes!
The result of getting very clear on this behavior and working with people to make sure it was supported: Trucks could be seen more effectively, and safety results improved drastically. It’s a great example of how data, safety, communication, productivity, engagement, and culture all come together.
Recruitment & Hiring
Company culture is really driven by your company’s core values; when those values come to life each day, candidates are attracted to and want to be a part of your organization. That’s why an investment in culture is truly an investment in your recruiting and hiring efforts, too.
Don’t under-estimate the power of culture when it comes to helping you attract the right kind of talent.
In many hiring situations, assuming a person is competent, it makes sense to hire for values and cultural alignment, rather than based on skills alone. You can teach willing workers so much—that is, skills through training and a culture of continuous improvement—but you can’t force them to change their core values or what motivates them (1)!
We often focus so much of our investments in the recruitment and hiring stages of the employee experience. We know we “need people” (especially right now!) so the investments naturally go to those areas.
But just as critical is the onboarding phase which sets the tone for a worker during their entire journey with your company.
Onboarding helps to make sure a worker knows the values, norms, and expected behaviors of the company. You say you support safety, but here’s where they see the day in and day out reality.
It also starts a new worker’s training process, both formally and informally. Last, it’s a critical time when they internalize—or choose not to internalize—those values they see are important to company leaders. A strong, healthy company culture impacts all of these areas.
Marketing & Sales
The biggest competitive advantage your company has today: it should be your culture! If your answer instead was a product or a service, the problem is that it’s only a matter of time until that product or service is copied or duplicated.
Culture, on the other hand, isn’t something another organization can easily copy. Said another way, great company culture can be a sustainable competitive advantage because it’s what helps you to keep customers over time.
Instead of focusing purely on the external world with your marketing and sales efforts, be sure to spend time and resources on the culture and people within your company. Happy, engaged workers can be your best salespeople, whether or not they really are salespeople! In fact, many companies with great company cultures have an easier time “selling” because their employees are always modeling why they are a great company to work for—and with.
One simple way to continue investing in your culture in this way: start talking more with your people to make sure you give them enough opportunity for input. What are they hearing from customers and what are they seeing on the frontlines? How are their relationships with customers? Have those relationships been evolving, and how so?
Be open to exchanging ideas across the organization as often as you can. These ideas aren’t just from marketing or salespeople, they should be from anyone in the company (1).
An investment in culture can also be an investment in safety and in continuous improvement. For example, perhaps you’re focused on finding better ways to actively listen to workers throughout your organization, especially as it relates to safety.
If you invest in a tool like iReportSource, you have a better way to collect and hear employees’ ongoing experiences. Do they have a way to improve safety or another idea to help improve company culture? Do they spot a hazard on the job? Now they can easily and quickly share that information.
That’s empowering, and it shows you care about what people have to say and what they’re seeing each day.
During their journey with your company, you can also measure and monitor how those experiences are changing. The result: you’re improving your ability to actively listen to workers…and not only are you reducing risk, but you are improving the employee experience thanks to their direct feedback and input.
Show Your Commitment to Your Culture
So you want a high-performing organization? Well, of course you do, and the path to get there is doubling down on culture. With choices to make in where you put your investment dollars, remember that culture is the driver of so many outcomes you’re after.
Foster a Healthy Company Culture with iReportSource
With iReportSource, you can also easily collect the data you need to understand where safety and engagement metrics are at today—and where they are headed tomorrow. That way, you can understand your highest risk areas and areas of opportunity, too.
After all, the data is part of the picture, but you also want to take meaningful action to prevent future accidents and to improve engagement.Move from a fault-finding environment to a fact-finding environment in a collaborative, safe, and healthy workplace: Learn more about iReport today.